Quilts chat about contradiction; they tolerate harmony. When you get going on a quilt, the sewing machine sings to you. Even an old machine like mine, clunking along in her bass voice. The act of pushing and pulling the quilt, having the feed dogs lead—these things—and the experience becomes meditative, especially during this time of deceit and honesty.
Liars and oppressors are ugly, but beautiful when the whole world notices and isn’t afraid to comment.
Honesty can be ugly. When colors, fabric textures and hand-feel clash and don’t want to work together, but you put aside what you know to be true and push on anyway. In the end, the quilt is not really ugly, as in revolting, but sad, just there, in your house. Maybe a child wraps up in it on the floor as they watch television.
Like if you know the truth, are honest with yourself about truth but feign ignorance about it in conversations, or during your daily rituals and encounters. You lie to the world, but in your heart, you know the truth. God forbid if a child lays on the floor and watches television wrapped in your deceit.
One day though, and suddenly, your silence slips and your honesty, that thing you know but have lied about, exposes itself. Maybe you whispered it to someone who may have been your ally at another time. But during this pandemic-killer cops time, you realize that person is no longer a collaborator. You missed it when they voiced the hidden truth, stood tall and took it, the uncomfortable feeling we all get when our brains shift and we decide on something better. Your collaborator owned up to complicity. Your collaborator changed.
All these thoughts, a meditative approach, as my sewing machine hummed.
The dark fabric is light, like truth found on a blank slate, the blackboard waiting for someone to record thoughts or calculations.
Gangster yellow reminds about care, how much goes in because too much yellow overpowers the quilt’s message, its flow and then not even contradiction can have a say. Use yellow like spice sprinkled from above, sparingly.
The yellow is sun pushing her way though, no matter what, and aligning herself with darkness, the grand plan, the empty slate, the blackboard that reveals our limits too, when we flinch as fingernails dig the slate’s surface and scratch across. That sound. That’s where we are, able to stand the sound, or cowering, our nerves shot to hell under the weight.
The on and on of seasons. The leaving and coming. Straight lines. Crooked lines. Sunflowers alongside camouflage. Slants of green until Spring highjacks and green throws itself everywhere in a pleasing way. There’s gold specks on black and gold specks on red. There's red and gold prairie points jutting answers, recommendations, and healing.
Midnight and Sun
Photos by Natalie Moffitt
Techniques: nine patch, strip piecing, prairie points, reverse appliqué, machine piecing, machine quilting.
Materials: antique quilt pieces, cotton and polyester fabric, threads, batting.
This is a blog about how we make things.
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