I made this little crazy quilt a long time ago. You can let your creativity go wild with abandon when you’re working with all these stitches.
I guess they call them crazy quilts because there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to how they look. Just a bunch of fabrics sewn together and highlighted with stitching. Like roads that look like they’re going nowhere, but somehow manage to intersect.
Fabric and buttons and thread have made up a big part of my adult life. At about 30, I yearned to have a quilt. But I couldn’t afford to buy one.
So I just started sewing one day. I didn’t have a sewing machine. So everything I made was sewn by hand. I made quilt after quilt. Mostly simple patchwork.
I found true serenity sewing through the three layers, making the quilt sandwich, and binding them together into one piece. I remember my kids kept asking me when I was going to do something besides simple squares.
I just smiled. I liked the way squares find their way back to their beginning. So I just kept cutting square after square. It was peaceful. Cutting squares from fabric scraps. I’d make a template for the sewing line and use a pencil to draw around the clear plastic.
Then I’d line them up on the floor one after another and form a row. I’d sew that one together and lay some more out, and do it again until I decided it was big enough.
By the time my girls were grown up, I branched out to other patterns.
Sometimes I wish I could go back to that place. When I spent my days planting herbs and flowers and sitting on the back porch watching the yard birds.
And oftentimes in the afternoons I’d walk around the corner to an elderly neighbor’s house. She was also a quilter.
One day I went there, to their little farmhouse that set on the edge of the city I lived in then, and she’d made me this big beautiful white doily. The one you often see in the middle of my table.
I wish I’d known then what I know now. That life was really pretty good there, and I shouldn’t have yearned for more all those years ago.
But I was still a young woman, and my husband traveled a lot working.
A man from the past looked me up and called one day from another state. Another chapter of my life. And I foolishly let my heart lead me where my brain probably knew I shouldn’t go.
More led me to years of turmoil. Maybe karma would be more apt. For I truly believe that when you hurt someone, somewhere down the line, it will come back full circle.
Lots of things have happened in the past year or so. People I thought I knew like the back of my hand, ended up turning my heart inside out. And since I just can’t bear to put any more tread on my heart right now, I’ve chosen to stay to myself. To choose not to seek more.
I think I’d rather spend my days alone than be turned inside out again. You know, there comes a time when you just have to do that. You have to put your hand up and say to yourself: Stop. No more.
Sometimes you have to choose a solitary life where the lines are penciled in. And it’s safe not straying outside the lines.
Every year about this time, I mention my mother. Her birthday was a few days ago. If she’s still alive. Sometimes I look across the room at the woman in the frame I picked up at an antique mall. My junk store relatives, I call them. And I pretend that is her. Because I wouldn’t know her if we passed on the street. And I’d just like to have a face for the woman who gave birth to me and left soon after.
Mothers and daughters. Daughters and mothers. A bond like cement. Until cracks appear and weeds grow up between them and push them apart.
More is not always a good thing. For me, more will have to wait until my heart is mended back together. Sewn in sturdy straight lines and knotted off like my quilts.