Wednesday, December 1, 2010

To Honor the Season

I made this quilt during the hot Wyoming summer of 2008.
The fabrics had been carefully folded in my stash for a number of years, gathered from several "collections" by designer Robyn Pandolf.  As I found the various prints in the "colorways" of rose and green I bought a yard or two knowing that someday I'd make a special quilt.
Snippets of the fabrics had found their way into other projects so when I determined that I would make a Log Cabin quilt requiring 48 blocks, I had to spend some time in a secluded corner with a calculator, a notebook and graph paper.  I wanted a particular placement of each fabric, but had varying amounts of each print.  I had 4 or 5 yards of the light background fabric which I had been hoarding.
[The problem with keeping fabrics for a number of years before embarking on a project poses the real risk of running short of a fabric no longer in stock.]
I diagramed the layout of blocks, plotted the colors with red and green pencil, and being free for a week or so from assignments at the quilt shop, I completed my Christmas quilt.
It was finished by Sabrina, a gifted long-arm machine quilter and displayed at the annual quilt show.
I photographed it on our lodgepole bed---then put it carefully away.

At any given moment, day or night, there are cats on the beds in my house.
I have made a number of quilts and comforters which I use and wash repeatedly, thinking of them as
"utility quilts"--sturdy, attractive bed-covers which can endure the traffic of little cat feet.
Lately as I have walked past the linen cupboard my eyes have been drawn to this quilt.
"For what--or for whom--am I cherishing and saving this quilt?" is a question which has begun to plague me.
Family and friends have quilts I made for them.  They use their quilts.

I spread my Log Cabin Star on the bed this morning, determined that we should have the pleasure of its colors and patterns during the month of December.
Later in the day I folded a jacquard coverlet over half the bed--thinking it would make a nice napping place for cats.
I informed Raisin that she didn't need to take a whole-body bath on the cream portions of the quilt.
Teasel has been instructed that pouncing violently on my feet at the crack of dawn is not good treatment for a lovely quilt [never mind my toes!]
Charlie is not to climb onto the bed, paw over paw, and  Jemima and Chester, his offspring, don't need to sleep on the pillows.
In a loud voice I announced to the general feline population, "Nobody is to hawk up a hairball on my quilt!"

Perhaps the need to "save" something nice "for best" is a common heritage of frugal families.
Surely it was a familiar tenet of my New England up-bringing.
[School clothes were removed after school, folded away, the rest of the day was spent in "play clothes."
"Best clothes" were for church-going or special occasions and one behaved carefully while wearing them.
 Good china wasn't used every day. Things considered to have value, items that would be hard to replace, were cherished.]
I will likely fuss over my quilt, brush cat hairs away, scold if I hear the prickle of a claw in fabric.
Maybe I'll at last begin to learn that the real beauty of a prized thing is in having it accessable to enjoy.


  1. Your quilt is absolutely gorgeous, it would certainly be a shame not to use and enjoy it. I do have a certain amount of sympathy with the the idea of 'keeping it for best' though, I grew up in the era when that was a common attitude. I had a 'best' coat,dress etc My mum was certainly from the generation where anything special or expensive was used only rarely. A lot of the things I bought her as gifts were put away to wait 'for a special occasion'. After she died I found several of them carefully wrapped in tissue and still unused. The special occasion had never arrived.

  2. Such a beautiful quilt! I hope those cats behave. I know the feeling of saving the best. When we children just after the war, we always saved the tastiest treat on the plate until the last mouthful. Now in my old age (!), I've learned that you eat the best bit first, that way you are the hungriest and you really appreciate the flavor. Even better is to have dessert first!

  3. Your quilt is divine MM. I can appreciate the head-scratching that went into planning it. I agree completely with what you said. We were brought up very much to "keep it for best" so I have clothes, table cloths, etc which have barely seen the light of day, which seems a shame. Enjoy your quilt- don't the cats make adorable "set-dressing" :D

  4. Gorgeous quilt, I do envy the patience needed to do such a large amount of work, must admit I had workaday quilts for the animals as well.

  5. well done! its beautiful and deserves to be used! Leanne x

  6. Your quilt is beautiful, and though we often want to save things for best, I've reached the point where I would rather wear out the things I love, enjoying them each day.
    My cat feels the same way and helps to wear them out too. LOL

  7. It's the last sentence that counts MM and how right you are.......

  8. Wow ....breathtaking are so talented .... I agree with Alistair xx

  9. Your quilt is beautiful! I can only imaine the work involved. It was so cute to see he cats enjoying it!

  10. Such a beautiful quilt and definitely one to be seen and enjoyed ( by humans and cats).

    We have inherited things that our parents kept for ~best~ and I wish they had enjoyed them more while they could.

  11. Oh MM, this is absolutely beautiful; the planning involved let alone the making of it. I do so agree that it's a shame to hide away things we treasure and love, and if the cats become a little too boisterous, could it hang on the wall?

    We too had best and special occasion clothes and china, tablecloths that were so pristine white you dare not eat in case of soiling them. And we were never allowed to speak at meals; so different now when we encourage our grandchildren to converse when we all share a meal together.

    Now we are downsizing, I feel sure I will have to part with some of my mother's and grandmother's treasures; but one thing I can NEVER throw out is fabric!

  12. That is the most beautiful quilt and agree with what everyone has said. Rowan - my ma-in-law was the same as your mum . . .

    MM - I still have the BEAUTIFUL fabrics you sent me (and the quilt design notes), but am awaiting the coincidence of a warming of the weather and some free time, so I can bravely start on the quilt . . .

  13. That's really a beautiful Log Cabin quilt! I'm wary about putting a quilt on the bed because of the cats, too...i've had to wash my down comforter more times than is probably good for it because of cat throwup which penetrates through the duvet cover. But that is a "bed quilt" that you made, and you deserve to have it on your bed. With all of that nice longarm quilting, it should be quite stable if you ever need to launder it. The cats look adorable (and smug!) on it.

  14. Your quilt is absolutely GORGEOUS!!! Use it...enjoy it immensely...