"It's time for something new and entirely different," she told me yesterday.
"Today's a new and different day," I said.
"Quilting new and different," she said.
"How about a quilt vacation?" I asked, but it was hopeless.
"A new and different quilt will be like a vacation," she said.
"All right, then," I agreed, "have a quilt vacation, but your definition of vacation is not the same as a normal human being's definition." That said, which in reality was nothing I hadn't said in one form or another too many times, she left me standing in the middle of the front yard where I was weeding and where she had come to tell me what time it was.
"Cathedral windows," she said as she skipped away toward the house. Only a quilter with a new idea for a quilt could skip the way she did. Her feet didn't hit the ground once.
"Church windows?" I called after her, but it was too late. She was already in the house. I stopped weeding, wondered why I was weeding, and gave it up. I followed her into the house, my feet heavily planted on the ground as I walked. She skipped enough for both of us.
"Why are you building a church?" I asked as I finally made it to her sewing room on the way to the bedroom where I knew how to turn a nap into something new and different for me.
"I never made a cathedral window," she said.
"You made that window with a view of something," I said, remembering back a few long quilting months before.
"This is different," she said.
"You made that stained glass window last year," I said. I leaned on the door jamb getting myself into a good mood for my nap.
"This is different," she said again.
"A quilt's a quilt," I said. Of course, I knew better. No quilt was a quilt for her. She wanted to make every quilt in the world and no two had dare be the same, not as long as she was in control.
"This is a novelty quilt," she said.
"How novel?" I asked.
"I have to have a lot of muslin and fabric," she said.
"You have a lot of muslin and fabric," I said. She did have a lot.
I might need thirty-six yards of muslin for a large quilt," she said.
"That's a real lot," I said.
"Then I have to cut it up into small square pieces and then fold and sew them."
"Well, of course that makes sense," I said. She sewed a quilt and she either hung it or folded it and put it away or sent it to someone folded in a box.
"I can't explain it," she said. "I haven't done it yet."
"Will you explain it when you do it?"
"If I know what I'm doing when I do it," she said. "Sometimes I do what I do and don't know why it comes out right. Some quilts are like that.
"Some naps are like that, too," I said.
"Wish me luck," she said.
"All right," I said, though I didn't think she'd need any luck to fold a piece of fabric or sew it. I went to take my nap.
My nap lasted eighteen minutes, or maybe it was twenty-eight or thirty-eight minutes. The clock was just a blur as she shook me awake.
"I need your help," she said.
"What's wrong?" I asked, expecting something to be really wrong, an earthquake or fire or a tree falling through our roof.
"It's lumpy," she said.
"Lumpy?" What could be lumpy except my head which she had knocked against the headboard in her effort to awaken me.
"I folded and folded and sewed and it's a little lumpy."
"Iron it out," I said, knowing by that time whatever she was talking about involved quilting, and in that case, a little ironing was probably the answer to something.
"I finger pressed the muslin but when I folded it backwards it didn't line up right and when I sewed it, it was lumpy."
"Why did you do it backwards?" I asked. I would deal with the lumpiness question later.
"That's how you do the background fabric," she said.
By then I was up and on the way to her sewing room. Her pulling at my arm helped me along. "You did the back of the window backwards and then sewed it so you couldn't see out of it and the scenery was lumpy?"
"You're not helping in the least. Maybe you can iron it flatter for me and make it come out all right.
"You want me to iron the window flat?"
"It's not a window yet. It's just some folded fabric that looks like a dumpling."
"That is a novelty quilt," I said, but I went to her ironing board and looked at what she had.
"I haven't gotten to the window yet. I have to make two squares and flip them around a little and find the pockets and sew everything together. I have to do that a lot before I put in a lot of small windows."
"But first you have to get the lumps out?"
"You'll have to iron really hard," she said.
"I can iron a mountain into a flat desert," I said. I lifted the iron and took a swipe with it and pressed down and made her muslin dumpling into a waffle.
"That looks like a waffle," she said.
"You want me to iron another one?" I asked.
"No, I'll have to start all over," she said woefully.
"This one's not working?"
"It'll take a little practice," she said.
"That's a lot of work for a few windows," I said.
"Not after I learn how," she said.
"I can come back to iron then," I said hopefully.
"The novelty's worn off for now," she said.
"For how long?"
"Until you take another nap," she said.
Copyright 2000 by A.B. Silver
First Lumpy Cathedral Window
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