I just got back from a quilting club meeting that I attended with my mother, who doesn’t quilt. The quilting club is the only thing happening here, aside from high school basketball, and you don’t have to actually quilt to participate. Â In fact, a few of them never sew at all. Â Never having been to a quilting club before, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. I like quilting, but it has always seemed to me like something you do every once in a while. I mean, once you have two quilts, why sew another one unless something happens to one of yours or you procreate (which causes a need for more beds, and therefore quilts). Some of these people, however, quilt every day. They don’t make quilts so much as wall hangings and table runners though. It’s quite an art form.
We drove twelve miles down the road, and then another four or five miles on windy back roads before we found the meeting in a cozy cabin where we all sat with our chairs pulled up in a big circle around the wood stove. The grandmother of one of my sweet little borderline Aspergers kids was there. She said she hoped her granddaughter isn’t too horrible to deal with at school. I told her I adore her granddaughter and she learned a bunch of new words on the flashcards today. I didn’t mention that I now have dreams about this kid waking me up to say, “esscuse me, esscuse me, teacher, esscuse me! He called me poop!” Instead I related a cute story: in class today they were talking about when the white people came over on the Mayflower, and they each had to get up in front of the class and say five questions that they would have asked the Native Americans if they were on the Mayflower back in the day. Her granddaughter said, “I would ask them who are you? What are your names? Then… umm… uh… hmm… then I’d ask them do you have spelling words? Do you know your spelling words? And I’d tell them I know mine!”
The quilting meeting was very organized. Everybody brought two quarter yards of fabric, one with a winter theme for their trade off, and one with a horse theme for the hostess. Once the fabric was redistributed they got down to new business, old business, and current business: who was hosting the meeting next month, who was having the christmas dinner, what the fabric themes were for next month, etc. This was all very orderly and urgent.
Then we had show and tell. Many of them had sewed three or four little wall-quilts since the last meeting. I had brought a quilt that my mother sewed out on trapline years and years ago out of old cut up jeans and dental floss. A few years ago she was going to throw it away because the fabric backing was rotting off, but I rescued it from her and put a new backing on it. She’d been telling the people in the quilting club how she really did used to quilt, and she was excited to show them proof.
After the show and tell, our hostess explained her techniques for a complicated quilt that she made in a poem contest thing. It went like this: everyone picked a poem, and then everyone drew a poem out of a hat and had to make a quilt that went with the poem. It was apparently a huge deal, and the quilts were really complex and beautiful.
About this time I grabbed a flashlight and headed for the outhouse, which was a cabin (bigger than some houses I’ve lived in) with electricity and running water. There was a real flush toilet, a shower, and a washer and dryer. It was amazing, the most amazing outhouse ever.
Then we ate cheese and apples and salmon dip and apple cider that had been bubbling on the wood stove the whole time, and we drove away through the clear night under more stars than I’ve ever seen before.