Hope On A Board
So it's like this. I'm making a quilt for Rocket Boy. You heard about the trip to the fabric store. Despite the permanent scarring of public humiliation, we were joyful! New fabric! We bring it home, wash it, stack it and admire it, basking in it's color harmony. With a promise to sew faberick after dinner, Hubby and Rocket Boy go for take-out. I trace the pattern onto freezer paper and figure I still have enough time to cut the pieces and watch a few minutes of HGTV. No problem. And then I bothered to actually read, you know, the instructions. Crap. All the fabrics have to be fat quarters, which means if you have regular yardage, you have to have 1/2-yard cuts or better. Since I usually buy 1/4 and 1/3 yard cuts (at least, I did until now), I have to chuck out a good third of the choices. Double crap. Plus, because of the way this quilt is put together combined with the size of quilt I am making, the details of which I will spare you, I need 32 different fabrics, in equal groups of reds, blues, golds and dark blues/blacks. The swift readers have already figured out that this means 8 fabrics of each color. I have 3 of each except red. I have 6 reds. Triple crap. As the boys pull up, I'm head first in the stash frantically yanking out every possible fabric that might work. As they come in the front door, I'm in the kitchen, color sorting cuts like my life depends on it. And then, in a stunning display of sheer determination, diplomacy and multitasking, I hold up fabric samples in rapid succession as Rocket Boy circumnavigates the kitchen (complete with sound effects) while simultaneously putting dishes on the table and fending off Hubby's unsubstantiated claim that this activity would best be saved until after dinner. By God, we are going to pick fabric if we starve. I rush everyone through dinner, bath and bedtime and hit the studio. Maybe it's Bessie's watchful eye, but I'm a laser of focus and determination. I don't care if I have to move heaven and earth; I am cutting this fabric tonight. The blasted pattern calls for two patterns for two stacks of fabric to be cut with a 60mm rotary cutter. I have two patterns on freezer paper. I make two stacks. Realize I don't have a 60mm cutter, just the standard 45mm cutter. The stores are closed. I don't care. What's the difference? I'll just press harder. Yeah, right. Have you ever tried to cut a stack of 16 fabrics with a 45mm rotary cutter? Well, don't. It's not a matter of cutting power. It's a matter of spatial reality. The blade on a 45mm cutter isn't tall enough to fit over the big stack, so it bunches up the top few layers as you're cutting, and the bottom few layers don't cut all the way through. Of course, I could have made another freezer paper pattern and done it in three stacks. But no. I was already set up. I trace on the window and it was dark out. I hate tracing. I wasn't going to trace another godforsaken, piece of dirt, illegitimate pattern at 10:00 p.m. So I whack, saw and bushwhack. I shuffle. I sweat. I call into question the lineage of the pattern, the pattern designers, the publisher, the rotary cutter and the nature of the Universe itself. My husband, who is not of delicate constitution, has to put on headphones. And somehow I end up, not with a tattered pile of cotton fibers, but with something that looks... well, peaceful. Organized. Quietly sitting on a scrap of plywood, waiting to be assembled, denying it's tortured past. Beautiful. Like art. I call it, "Hope on a Board."