My Blog

The Quilt

A few weeks ago, in this land of moist, intense heat and political instability, I felt the calling to make a quilt. I paged through a box of quilting magazines that a friend left us when she moved to Egypt, trying to find something challenging, but not too challenging- it had, after all, been at least nine years since I attempted quilting at all. I pulled out the bag of fabrics which had been given to us over the years and started digging through it, putting one next to another, next to another, trying to see what might look good together.

Sukhailah's First Quilt

In the end I decided to make for my grandson, Suhayb, the quilt I had always wanted to make for his father, Mujaahid, a lovely picture of midnight woods, statuesque evergreens, and houses, light streaming cozily out of their windows. I began measuring and cutting, and soon found myself once again on a quilting journey. After this initial preparation, events conspired against me and I pushed away work on the quilt for the time being.
Then, a few days ago, I found myself itching to get out those blocks and begin working the patchwork puzzle…I paused for a minute and wondered at what could possibly be causing quiltmaking to look attractive in 100 degree heat? I sat, thought, and felt, and realized that once again I was feeling anxious and uncertain for no reason I could pinpoint, and my mother, who passed away years ago, was paying me a visit.

My mom was not a particularly “crafty” person. She liked to refinish furniture, and to paint wooden furniture and walls. She made a few quilts, simply by sewing two complementary prints together, putting in a batting, sewing this up and tying it with yarn. In general, though, she stayed away from the idea of doing crafts. One day, though, right before midterms of my sophomore year of college, in the midst of a minor crisis with my baby’s father and a thousand other little things, a box arrived on my porch, and in the box was a quilt my mother had made for me. With it were two skeins of yarn, a yarn needle, and a note that said, “Tie it with love Mom” Whether this meant “Tie it” and was signed, “with love, mom”, or “Tie it with love” and was signed “Mom”, I don’t know. I brought the box in and at first wondered how I would find time to work on it. Then, a couple of days later, I simply began to tie. And by the time I had tied the whole quilt, I had come to some decisions, worked through some problems, and come to terms with the things I couldn’t change.

Two of the blocks from Suhayb's Quilt

So now, when this anxious, unsettled feeling visits me, I find I pull out my fabrics or yarns, and simply let my heart and mind go while my hands create. And I hope that Suhayb will look up at the stars in his little Yemeni village, warmed by his quilt and the love of grandma and great grandma as well.


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