Sew On, Crazy Cowgirls and Cowboys.

posted in: Paean, Quilting 25
Square-in-a-square unit finishing 3''. Patch and scan: Me.
Square-in-a-square unit finishing 3” and featuring the last of that scrumptious vintage DUCK PRINT. Oh, little duck! I’ll miss you. Patch and scan: Me and the ducks.


I’ve often remarked on the strangeness of it: I talk about quilts all the time, I write about them. I read books about them, I teach people how to make them. And at the end of the day, after all that, most of the time all I want to do is sew.

As it turns out, when you expend a colossal amount of energy getting honest in the public square, sewing is all you want to do then, too.

After spending a day working at the newspaper and reading through a constant stream of classy, intelligent, thoughtful responses from both sides of the political landscape posted by you all to yesterday’s PaperGirl*, I came home, dropped my stuff, and made a beeline for my BabyLock and just started cutting and sewing patches. I don’t have a quilt in mind. I just cut some 3 1/2” and 2” squares and stitched square-in-a-square units like the one above. (Quilt geeks: Check me out matching up ‘dem directional ducks! Bam!)

I know that some people have to sew for work. Some people don’t know how to sew and will never learn. Some can’t afford it, with their time or money, some have zero desire to begin with. But there are those of us on this planet who sew patchwork for pleasure and we are the luckiest people that have ever lived, I think. The whir of the sewing machine. The satisfaction when you press back a crisp corner. The delight in seeing a finished block. This is bliss tonight, just sewing in my warm home while it Januaries outside in Chicago.

Maybe that’s what undergirds any political view I hold or have ever held: a desire to figure out how to make a world where anyone, everyone, can find the kind of peace I can find when I sit down at my sewing machine on a Monday night, after a full day of work and tough weekend.

It’s how we think we ought to get there that makes us different. The desire for peace and a good quilt, this is the same. We can get there.

*My only shame now is that I ever doubted you.