Friday, March 20, 2009

Fit to be tied

I finally finished stitching the binding to the back of the quilt this afternoon. It's been a slow five days, but for once I feel secure that the edges of my quilt will hold together -- no fraying and raveling on this one -- and the corners surprised me by mitering nicely. Now it's time to pull the layers of the quilt sandwich together by tying a square knot with white pearl cotton in the center of each four-patch. I started doing that earlier this evening and I'm liking the way it's going. Helps to balance the bright, crisp blue flowered border with the hippy-dippy scrappy-patchy center. I'm liking it. Except.

The whole idea behind the four-patch quilt design was that it should have an amount of structure without being stuffy. The blocks were laid out just so, from top left: light patch, dark patch, light patch, dark patch, so that -- in my mind, as I set up the rows -- the dark patches were like stair-steps climbing up the quilt. Nothing sophisticated, to be sure, and it won't win any prizes for visual effects, but I do think it's easier on the eyes than a totally random layout would have been. And then I take a closer look.

Of course I knew there would be mistakes. There are ten zillion squares in this thing. Some of them were bound to get turned round the wrong way. No big deal. It's when I begin looking for those oversights that I begin to drive myself berserk. Because, of course, they're all I can see.

As I work through the four-patches, inserting the ties, I'll have a chance to notice, lament and remember every single mistake. Then I'll name the quilt, wash it and put it on my bed, and it will mellow and age. I'll read, write and watch TV under it, spread it on the grass and picnic on it, wrap and transport antique furniture in it, and fold it in a laundry basket for an old, old fat cat to sleep on. The colors and textures and harmonious and discordant patterns will become faded and fixed and ultimately, utterly beloved -- no need for any concern about flaws here.

How many "mistakes" can you find in the picture of the quilt top, if a mistake is a four-patch where the dark diagonal is turned in the wrong direction? I'll count how many are on the actual quilt, and if our numbers agree I'll do a drawing and make someone a surprise!


  1. i saw some mistakes, but i refuse to count them or point them out.

  2. Maybe the flavor of my post came out wrong. I didn't mean to say "come out and pick me and my quilt apart," I meant it to be more like a game. I'm certainly not going to spend the next 20 years fretting over a few mistakes, I'm going to enjoy my beautiful quilt!