To Those On The Fence (Or, “Tree Of Life”)

posted in: Paean, Quilting 0
The Tree of Life quilt block, currently up on my design wall.
The Tree of Life quilt block, currently up on my design wall.

Here was my day:

I woke up. I wrote for a few hours. I drank tea during those hours, tea with probably too much cream and honey. I don’t want to live in a world without pots of tea with cream and honey, so there you have it.

Errands were run. Dry cleaning. Grocery store, because I needed cream and honey. I didn’t get to the post office and I feel bad about that. I didn’t go on a walk to no place at all and I feel bad about that, too. I took a brief nap.

I did work. Emails, proposals, thinking-cap sorts of things. Correspondence. Invoicing. I called a friend of mine, I tidied the kitchen, I received a UPS box. It contained a quilt that has finally come home after a year of being out for editorial, or a show, or because it just needed to go find itself.

And at the end of all this, at the end of myself, what did I want?

I wanted to sew. I wanted to touch fabric. I wanted to turn on my iron to the hottest setting she’s got. I wanted to slice and dice the selected fabric and stitch it back together again, paired now with other fabrics, paired now with other patchwork in order to create a more perfect union. After looking at quilts, talking about them, reading about them, being steeped in the whole thing most of the day — more than anything in the world, I wanted to try a quilt block because I have wanted to try “Tree of Life” for about a year.

Isn’t it marvelous? Making quilts?

The hum of the machine as it sews is something close to maternal. The snip of thread scissors does something important in the brain. The steam that rises from the iron, if I may be a little woo-woo, is purifying. And the thing about the process of making patchwork is that it’s fun and engaging and satisfying, but at the end of your efforts, you have a quilt. You don’t have a puzzle that needs to be scooped up and put back in the box. You don’t have a model airplane, the function of which is now to collect dust on the top of a bookshelf in grandpa’s office. A quilt wraps around a body. A quilt is functional art. A quilt is for you, and for me, and forever.

To those on the fence or those who are stumped; to those who are searching for something that will make it all better — or increase the joy factor in an already wildly fun existence — I strongly recommend making a quilt. It works for me.