Wednesday, April 26, 2006

To bind or not to bind and other questions.

I finished quilting yesterday on a quilt that was started at my daughter Lyn's house a week ago, after several starts and stops on other designs that did not seem to want to be made during that visit with her.

I was working in a restricted space, quite different from what I was accustomed to but I soon realized that my desire to create could overcome space limitations and other restrictions.

I realized that my desire to create could over come me not having a pin-into-able design wall and that that same desire would let me make do with using a foyer wall and painters tape. With the desire to create I could make do with the top of a four feet by 18 inch folding table instead of having my machine in its own cabinet. I also made do with the top of the kitchen island almost as well as I do with the top of the much larger cutting area that I have in my condo studio.

All of this musing about last week lead me to thinking how shameful it is for one to become accustomed to just being and not living. I could have flittered away last week, laying on the couch, eating Bon-Bons so to speak. But I didn't. I also began to think about how we take for granted that we will live long enough to be a royal pains in the butts of our children too. A lot of us do live to accompolish this goal. But there were no promises made or implied with the issuance of our birth certificates that gaurantees that we will. Good, bad or indifferent a lot of us do not live to be old farts and sooner rather than later we need to face up to that fact.

Last Friday a younger/old friend of mine died. She was the first person who I knew that acknowledged a love of quilts and announced to me that she was a quilter. She moved to Dover, New Hampshire from Louisville two years after we met and I missed her a lot. I made two trips to her house after her move and she came back to see me twice, but we talked a lot on the phone over the years and stayed in touch. While visiting her both times we went to the Vermont Quilt Festival and we saw the first exhibit at the New England Quilt Museum together soon after it opened. Way back then I was empressed with Ruth McDowell who still remains one of my favorite artist. She introduced me to the charm of New England at large something I will always remember her for.

My friend was younger than me by ten years but since we were both practicing RNs back in the mid-80's and quilt lovers, age did not matter, plus we were mothers and wives of men we both called Doug. A shortened version of Douglas, which was her husbands first name and my husbands middle which I shortened and used in endearing moments. (much too personal so I won't go there).

When I visited her the first year after she had moved into what I thought at the time was a FABULOUS HOUSE where she was LUCKY enough to have her own ROOM for crafts and quilts and whatever. I envied her her room because I was making do with the dining room table and the folding doors to the utility closet. Yet after living there for a year, she had not unpacked a thing. The stacks of boxes in her ROOM reached the ceiling blocking the windows and shutting out the day light.

There was no way creativity was going to come visit or flourish in that room unless she got to unpacking all of those boxes. Besides the boxes in her room there were boxes in the garage, the family room and in the loft above the garage that belonged to her too. I offered to help her unpack and organize on both visits and both times she said no. She'd get to it.

It was a life she had put on hold and sadly the holding pattern held till she died last Friday, leaving her daughter Katie, her husband Doug and her son Derek to unpack, sort through and discard.

When Katie called me sounding so much like her mother I thought for a second it was my friend and I smiled, then cried when she told me with the same humor her mother had had the news of her mother's failing health and death.

She told me that she had given away four sewing machine so far, enough knitting needles, crochet hooks and yarn to sweater and sock scores of bodies and feet, yet she had not found a single completed sock or afghan. Katie said she had given away to local charities over 1,200 yards of fabric and still had not made a dent in the piles and sadly she had not found one completed quilt or quilt top so far to keep and charish.

At her mother's funeral she said many women came up to her and said of her mother that they knew her and that she was a quilter. But Katie said she has found no evidence of that anywhere in the house. Her mother's creative life had been put on hold.

I know those tote bags, signs and t-shirts are humorous, but please tell me, what does, the person with the most fabric left behind when they die, WIN????

I truly do not want to be a pain in my children's behinds because they really were not bad kids growing up, but I would like to live and I DO MEAN LIVE MY LIFE long enough to be a little annoying. Will serve them all right for making me worry when they were sick or out late or dating and getting married to people I didn't think were right for them.

NO NO NO My Dear Sainted Maryellen I am NOT REFERRING TO YOU.

When I started blogging today I intended writing about the quilt I had just finished quilting and was wondering if I was going to bind it or face it. When all the above thoughts started running through my head and now that those thoughts are out in the open I will get back to the questions of the day which were bind or not to bind, crop or no crop.

After looking at the quilt and thinking about it the question of a binding or facing lost its importance, because I first had to decide if I liked the finished quilt. Well do I? I'm not sure.

Secondly I wondered if the quilt would benefit from cropping.

Yes it did.

Do I like it? Still not sure.

Would it look better with or without a binding? Decidedly better with a binding I concluded so here is the finished work.

It really is flat and square even though my photography leaves one to wonder.

Do I like it?

Still not sure.


Terry said...

I love your quilt! The colors and those wonderful, lyrical curves.

Your friend's story was sad and really touched me this morning, as I am feeling a little blue anyway, but provided good incentive to get into some fabric today. Thanks.

Elle said...

I'm sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. You're right--it's not about the creative space you have, but what you do with it! Me, I work on a tipsy dining room table in a corner with no space at all. No fancy studio. No design walls. Not even a fancy machine. Mine only has 2 stitches: straight & zigzag, but I feel like I'm creating something wonderful.

Shelina said...

I'm sorry about the loss of your friend. Maybe she generously gave away all her finished quilts. Your piece does look better after cropping and binding. I really like it.