"I need another bed," she said.
"No, you don't," I said.
"Yes, I do," she said. "I have to have another bed for this quilt," she said. She was leaning over the quilt, pushing it under the needle, meandering all over the fabric as she finished up the quilting. She didn't look up but spoke to me, her words meandering as well.
"We don't have room for another bed in this house," I said. We didn't. But I knew she knew that.
"Then I'll have too many quilts," she said.
"You already have too many quilts," I said. "Every wall, every piece of furniture, every table, every bed in the house."
"That's what I mean. If we had another bed I'd have a place to put this quilt." She kept on meandering a moment, and then she stopped. "I have to change the bobbin thread," she said.
"You're using a lot of thread, aren't you?" I asked. She had ten bobbins on the cabinet next to her sewing machine, all already filled with black thread.
"It's a big quilt. We'll need another queen-sized bed."
"You can put it on the bed and take off the Amish quilt."
"I can't do that."
"What can't you do?" I asked. "If you have too many quilts and not enough beds or walls or space anywhere in the house, you'll have to put one quilt away. Rotate them."
"I'm already rotating," she said. She inserted the replacement bobbin and began quilting again.
"Use the quilt for something else," I said, knowing I couldn't possibly have a solution for her dilemma. And it wasn't a new problem either. She's had too many quilts for a long time. It would probably have been all right if she gave some more of them away, but the ones she had in the house, she wanted to keep because, as she said, "I love these."
"That's an idea," she said.
"What is?" I asked, very puzzled .
"You'll have to help me think of something else to do with this quilt, something good."
"I don't know what to do with a quilt that you haven't already done," I said. Along with bed quilts and wall hangings, she had pot holders and table runners and place mats and tea cozies, and lap quilts and cuddle quilts, and she had even made a foot quilt for me so my shoes wouldn't get the bed quilt dirty when I lazily lay my weary bottom down to watch TV or read.
"Help me make a list," she said.
"You should have some ideas."
"My ideas wouldn't be very practical," I said.
"Let me be the judge," she said.
"Judge away," I said two hours later when I returned to her sewing room where she sat once again, meandering away.
"You have some ideas?" She looked up at me as if she were astonished that I would have a idea about a new way to use a quilt.
"They're just ideas," I said, hoping to warn her that she might not like my ideas.
"Go ahead," she said. She stared at me.
"I was out in the garden, and finished weeding around some of the plants, and I was thinking I should put down some mulch to help the plants stay moist and healthy." I should have stopped there, but I went on. "You could make some mulch quilts to put around the bottom of the plants. They'd be good cover, and if the quilts had flowers on them, they would blend right in."
"Something wrong with that idea?" I asked.
"No, no. Actually, I like it. I could cover the whole back yard in quilts in the winter to keep the plants warm."
"The plants have every right to be warm in the winter," I agreed.
"Give me another idea," she said. She turned off the sewing machine and turned to face me directly.
"Well, while I was in the garden I heard a loud rumbling, and when I looked to see what made all the noise, I saw a large moving van go up the street."
"The Bishops are moving," she said. "They only rented until their new house was finished."
"Furniture packing pads," I said.
"To protect the furniture?"
"The movers use all those ugly gray or brown or green pads to protect the furniture from scratches. Wouldn't the furniture be happier with a nice log cabin quilt pad around it?"
"Of course. The Bishops are newlyweds, so a wedding rings quilt would work. The movers would be happier, too, every time they went into the van to see something bright and cheery."
"You like the idea?"
"You gave me another idea," she said.
"A pool cover," she said.
"For a pool table, sure," I agreed.
"No, for a swimming pool," she corrected.
"You want a quilt for a swimming pool?" I thought she might have been meandering too long that day.
"It could be a nice kidney shaped quilt, maybe with a seascape or dolphin appliqué. This quilt will be too small for a large pool, but if it was a queen-sized pool it might work."
"It would keep the water warmer," I contributed. "You could also make a quilt to cover the pool deck so people wouldn't slip when they ran around."
"What else?" she asked, waving my idea away, probably because we didn't have a pool or a deck. She stood and moved to the front of the room and looked out the window at the yard. "How about a hammock?"
"I could always use some rest," I said. "It's going to be in the mid-seventies today. I can rest in a hammock outside."
"I mean a quilt hammock," she said. "Maybe a watercolor quilt. We can tie it between the two orange trees."
"Sounds fine. And, speaking about the outside, how about a quilt to cover the car when you park outside to protect the car from the sun, so the paint doesn't fade. You could appliqué car designs all over the quilt."
"I can do that. And a quilted umbrella for the patio table. Lots of things need quilts."
'"You're going to want more fabric, won't you?"
"Probably. I'll need a lot of fabric if I make wall-to-wall quilted carpet for the floors."
"And an indoor-outdoor quilt to cover the front walk," I suggested. "Maybe in a flying geese pattern."
"Stop it. that's enough," my Darling Wife said sanely. She placed her hands over her ears.
"You're the one who said she had too many quilts. I was just helping."
"You want to help?"
"Then we'll need another bed for this quilt I have to get back to work on," she said, and she sat down and turned on the sewing machine.
"We don't have room for another bed," I said.
"Then I'll still have too many quilts."
"There are worse things than that in this world," I said.
"Too many quilt ideas," she said. "Now go away. I have to meander."
I meandered, too, off to see if the yard had room for a hammock. It didn't have to be quilted.
Copyright 2003 by A.B. Silver
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