By Barbara Falconer Newhall
There I was, at Sue Mary Fox’s sewing studio in Berkeley. Pinned to her wall was the crazy-making crazy quilt that I had begun–but never finished–back in 1971. It was to be a wedding gift for my brother and his bride.
Forty-some years later, I decided it was time to finish the darned thing. It had languished in a drawer for decades; it was time to put it out of its misery. It was time to put myself out of my misery and guilt.
At home a few days earlier I had started by spreading the quilt out on the floor and cutting away
sections of the pieced quilt top in hopes of eliminating the ripples and waves I’d sewn into it so many years ago—so that it could lie flat at last. Then I took the results, along with all my scraps and pieces, over to Sue Mary’s studio where she pinned it to a wall.
The whittled-down quilt top was pretty enough, but the shape was frightful – long, narrow and sprawling. What would anyone do with such an oddball, seven-by-four-foot quilt, Sue Mary wanted to know.
I concluded that it would be a kindness to spare my brother and sister-in-law such a gift, so we turned our attention to one of the sections I’d cut away from the main piece. It had a nice rectangular shape. It was pretty, and small enough that my brother and his wife might actually like having it in their house. They could use it as a wall hanging, they could toss it over the back of a sofa, they could put it on the floor as a play space for a visiting grandchild. And if they weren’t crazy about it, it would fit nicely in a drawer.
But, wait — a grandchild? What a thought. I took the leftover calico pieces home and tucked them back into their drawer. Should a grandchild happen my way some day, I’m ready. With Sue Mary’s help, I’ll be able to get a baby blanket pulled together in no time. Well before the kid turns forty.
Read all about the birth of those baby quilts at “The Baby Quilts Are Ready. Now All We Need Are the Babies.”