"SALE!" she shouted. She was upstairs in her sewing room, out of my hearing, and yet her voice broke free from her tiny lips, flew out the door down the stairs, pierced my ears, and penetrated my brain.
I shook my head for a while to get the sound out, and when my head was clear again, I went back to what I had been doing, but I forgot what I had been doing when that voice battered at me. "That's good," I said to no one in particular, for there was no one nearby to hear me. She was up in her heavenly home and wouldn't hear me even if I shouted as loudly as she had. Quilters have strange voices--a whisper can be heard around the world if it involved quilting.
She was downstairs just seconds later, as if she had hitched a ride on her voice and rode it down to my side. "Fifty percent off one item," she said.
"That's nice," I said. Oh, I could have asked her what she was talking about, or I could have asked her if she wanted tea, but I knew what she was saying, and I knew what she meant.
"You said you didn't need anything for twenty-three years," I said.
"I need Wonder Under," she said.
"You need fusible webbing?" I asked. Of course she did. I had a quilting dictionary somewhere in the recesses of my mind, quilted there by her over the past years since she had begun her first quilt, words I had to know if I were to continue living with her in a state of perpetual bliss. In other words, I knew which side of the bread the butter was on--my butter. Oh, yes, I knew what was good for me to know.
"Fifty percent off any one item. Go order it," she said.
"On the internet?" I guessed. No, I didn't guess. If the sale were an internet sale, which someone must have called to tell her about, or she read one of the flyers that seemed to take over our mailbox every day, then it was my duty, my obligation, my life saving move to rush to the computer and send a signal through cyberspace to get her the Wonder Under.
"Some day I may need if it I ever do another appliqué," she said.
"How much do you need?" I asked.
"It says one item. Find out if that means one order or one item."
"Find out if it means one yard in one item or whether I can buy three yards as one item."
"Do you have a project in mind that needs three yards?" I asked.
"No, but I will some day."
So, I went to order. But a strange thing happened when I went to the Internet store that offered the sale. The Wonder Under came in several quantities. One of those quantities was a thirty-five-yard-long bolt. Now, when I told my financially conservative wife-conservative except when it came to quilting, she said, "A bolt is one item."
"You want a whole thirty-five yards of that stuff?"
"If you're asking if I want a bolt of Wonder Under Fusible Web, the answer is yes. YES!"
"But you don't use very much. You don't appliqué very much. You told me that." She did. She told me that a lot. One reason was that it required her to change sewing machines. The one she usually used was a straight stitch and didn't do anything more fancy than stitch in a straight line. To appliqué she would have to turn her chair to face the machine on the other side of her sewing table which would require her to swivel her body slightly. Did she really want to do that?
"Yes, the whole bolt. I'll use it eventually, and in the meantime, I'll be saving a lot of money which I can use for more fabric to iron the Wonder Under onto."
"Well, since it's one item," I said, giving up to her logic. After all, it was almost her birthday, and during the year leading up to her birthday, she usually got what she asked for. As for the year after her birthday, that too.
So, I ordered. In a few days the bolt of Wonder Under came to our door, handed to me by the driver of the delivery truck. I thanked her and put the box containing the bolt of Wonder Under at the bottom of the stairs where someone in the family who quilted was bound to see it. And when she did see it, I asked her, "Do you have an appliqué project yet?"
"Of course I will," she said.
"But not yet?"
"I've been going through the ideas in my head and looking at the fabric in my stash, and when I put the two together, I'll have a project, and I'll need the Wonder Under which I now have, so I can begin, and I will."
"Go for it," I said. I was going to take a nap.
"I spy fun," she said that afternoon as we stood in the local library where there was a small display of quilts on the wall behind the circulation counter. She had stared at the eight small quilts for several minutes, and as she stared and paced back and forth in front of them, her eyes in sync with her brain, which I could tell from her movements, she began to nod her head up and down. "I'll need Wonder Under for this quilt," she said.
"It's a good thing you happen to have some," I said.
"I found some critters and creatures and stuff in my back-of-the-closet stash pile. A person can't have too many I-Spy quilts."
"You plan to have too many I-spy quilts?" I asked.
"I keep giving them away. I'll need more. And since I now have a little extra Wonder Under, I can make one more little quilt."
"A little extra? You have thirty-five extra yards."
"That should be enough," she said.
And, sure enough, it was just enough to make one more I-Spy quilt and have thirty-three or thirty-four yards of Wonder Under left. (She won't tell me how much she used.)
Copyright 2006 by A.B. Silver
Click here to see finished "Wonder" Quilt
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