This is my finished windowpane full sized quilt that I started in 2007. It’s taken me a whole 7 year cycle to finish it. I had no idea when I started it that I was about to be the loneliest and fattest person I knew. I had no idea my old cat was about to die and I was going to go bankrupt and that my son’s problems were going to come to a head. I had no idea that we were going to spend almost $2,000 we didn’t have to save two tiny kittens from the claws of death. I had no idea that before I finished this quilt I would start feeling so sick inside I would wake up most mornings wishing I could just peacefully go back to sleep and not wake up again until it was time to die.
I had no idea that I would finally write the novel I’d been trying to write my whole life. Or that I would take Kung Fu from an unbalanced but brilliant Kung Fu master and discover how empowering it is to punch and kick things. I had no idea that the town I was living in which treats some people wonderfully would become an iron trap holding me and my family down with our faces in the dirt. I had no idea just how poisonous a location can be to a spirit. Nor did I have any idea that such poison could simultaneously inspire such raw creativity and beauty in the people it infects.
I had no idea any of this was coming. I just wanted to make a quilt to keep us warm and to cheer up our house. I just wanted to have fun with my sewing. Which I did. I had no real plan when I started it. I just cut a bunch of rectangles the same size and then started stitching them together. This quilt was a bright puzzle I put together as I went along.
Which is how it ended up with a layer of ugly cotton flannel in addition to the usual layer of cotton batting. About a day after I took this picture I started basting the layers together and suddenly came down with influenza for the first time in my life. The real flu. And not just any strain of influenza – this was the first round identified as H1N1. Ten days of fever, shaking, excruciating pain, and wracking cough that caused me to break a rib. I didn’t work on this quilt again until last month, February 2014.
Finishing this quilt stands for a triumph over adversity. It stands for creation over destruction. It’s about never giving up and keeping hope alive with the little things like not tossing WIPs just because so many of them never get finished. It’s a willingness to see something through, no matter how long it takes.
I re-watched most of Alias (for the 3rd time) while making it. I stayed up until 3am working on it on more than one occasion because I wasn’t drinking alcohol and consequently have returned to my insomnia.
I learned to make my own binding and how to machine quilt something bigger than a twin. Finishing this quilt has set something free, I’m not even sure exactly what. The past? Pain? Creativity? Faith in myself? The future?
Maybe it’s an allegory for hope and patience.
I don’t know. All I know is that a whole lot of shit has happened since I cut out the first stack of rectangles. I started it in McMinnville, Oregon and finished it in Santa Rosa, California and in spite of all the bad stuff that’s happened, this quilt reminds me of the good friends I made in Oregon and miss. It reminds me of the blueberries and the asparagus. It reminds me of the rain and the snow. It reminds me of Hotel Oregon and the geek techs with M16′s. It reminds me of the brambles everywhere that make the best jam on earth.
This is my windowpane quilt – finished.