It was a dark and stormy day. Forced by the rain to stay in, she chose to use her time to begin her new quilt. Had it not been raining, had it been sunny and bright, she would still have chosen to begin her quilt. The starting time was important for she had been through all the preliminary stages. She had finished her last quilt. She had waited five minutes before looking for her list of projects and had then spent three days deciding which one she wanted to do. She fretted and worried about her choice, but then she was finally decided, and she went into a two-day hunt for her fabric, a bit worried about finding just the right fabric. Four days later she realized she did not have enough of the right fabric for THAT project and chose another project. Three days after that she chose the "new" project, gathered all the fabric she would need, reorganized her sewing room, which had been left a mess from the fabric-choosing hunt, and changed the needle on her sewing machine. Then she worried a little more about everything, and I wondered when she would be ready to begin.
"What are you worried about now?" I asked at every stage of her planning.
"I'm not worried about anything. I'm just thinking a few things through," she said each time.
"What do you need to think through?" I asked.
"Whether I want to do this project again," she said.
"You're planning to do a quilt you already did?" I asked. She rarely repeated herself. Each quilt had to be a new quilt, a new type, a new design with new colors."
"The fabric made me choose," she said.
"Again?" I asked. Periodically, she worried whether to choose the project first and find the fabric or find the fabric and then a project to match. Usually, more often than not, ninety-seven-point-three percent of the time, she chose the project and then the fabric to match the project.
"I still have a lot of fabric left from my left over quilt," she said.
"Now how did that happen?" I asked without really needing to have an answer, for though she may say that she only used the leftover fabric, she had bought more fabric to finish the quilt, and she, of course, bought more than she needed, and so, obviously to any quilter half-awake, she had even more leftover fabric.
"But I don't know if I have enough striped fabric. I may have to order more."
"But you just said...."
"I made the quilt too small for the queen-sized bed, and I love the quilt, but I want a bigger one, so I'm going to make one, and I might need more fabric than I think I have."
"And you're worried about that?"
"I'm not worried. I'm just not sure."
"What else are you not sure about?"
"I was worrying about whether to wash all the fabric first this time."
"But you always wash it first."
"Most of the time I do, but I did have to think about it a little while."
"And you're not worrying about that any more?"
"No, of course not. I have to think about what kind of batting to use."
"You always use the same kind of batting, so what's the worry?"
"Fusible or not fusible. This will be a big quilt. I have to think about it."
"You're just going to think about it, not worry about it?"
"Stippling or meandering," she said then, and she turned her face down into a quick frown.
"Now what?" She was worried. Her frown was definitely a worried frown.
"I have the queen-sized fusible batting, so I'll use that."
"I thought you weren't worried about that."
"I'm not. I just decided."
"You don't want to worry about two things at once, do you?" I asked. Her worried frown disappeared, replaced by a puzzled frown."
"What two things?"
"Stippling or meandering," I said. I have good short-term memory that lasts for two or three quilting comments at a time.
"Or stitch-in-the-ditch," she said. "The fusible batting needs to be quilted every four inches, but I was thinking it might look better quilted a different way."
"So you're worried about the actual quilting?" And she hadn't even begun the quilt yet!
"I'm not worried. I'm planning. Planning a quilt requires a lot of decisions, a lot to think about."
"Well, if that's all you have to plan, then you can start the quilt," I said in a most encouraging voice. "Do it!"
"Well, there's the thread to think about," she said, not that encouraged by my words or cheerleader voice.
"I have to think about whether to use a solid color throughout the quilt top or match the fabric. Then I have to decide whether to quilt with polyester invisible thread or use colored thread or all black thread. If I meander...." She paused, and I took advantage of that split second and interrupted.
"Then you're going to meander and not stipple?"
"I don't know that yet. It might depend on the thread. How will it look to have a lot of meandering or stippling be visible, or, if it's invisible, how will it look with the fabric I'm going to use?"
"So, you're worried about how it's going to look?"
"I always think about how it's going to look. I'm going to look at the quilt and you are going to look at the quilt, and, if it goes on the guest bed, then guests will look at it, and if the quilting is wrong, if it should have been stippled or meandered or black or colored or invisible, then that all makes a difference."
"Don't worry about it," I said.
"I'm not worried about that. I'm just trying to decide on the borders. I don't think I want them, but maybe I do? No, I don't."
"See! There's nothing to be concerned about."
"I might want to make mitered corners for the binding," she said. The frown had returned, but it was not severe. Rather it was just a tiny downturning of her lips, and her eyes were slightly crossed.
"Is that it? I asked. "Do you have it all worked out now?" In answer, she straightened her eyes, stretched her arms out, clasped her hands together, nodded her head, and smiled. Finally!
"I have to get started right away," she said.
"Right now? Are you sure?" I hoped she was sure.
She closed her eyes, squeezed them tight, opened them. "Well, I can decide about the backing later. I think I have some fabric somewhere."
"Backing?" Why hadn't I thought about the backing? What else had I forgotten? Would I have to order backing for her? What color? How wide? Torn or rotary cut? Solid or print? Three yards or four yards or five yards? How much money is this quilt going to cost?
"Don't worry about it," she said.
"What, me worry?"
Copyright 2003 by A.B. Silver
Click here to see finished "Worry Quilt"
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