Sunday, February 26, 2012

“C” is for cut squares, not cat

Diane  On the Alberta/Montana border wondered if Toby filed himself in the “C” drawer, and then she wrote a wonderful post about her father leaving the cookies under “O” for Oreo in his filing system, but looking for them under “C” for cookie.   My “C” drawer is refilling itself, so there will be more quilts.

Thanks to everyone for the kind words about Jan’s project to fill the world with quilts.  Here’s the story.  Although not officially diagnosed, I admit to a touch of obsessive.  Or is it compulsive.  Whichever, it keeps me doing “something.”  Jan is an artist and I have no idea what keeps her cutting fabric into little bits and sewing them together a new way.   

We quit weaving in 2003 and by 2004 Jan was quilting full time and I transitioned to my elected position with no authority in my township.  Most days of the month I’m out of the office by noon. For several years  I spun and knit, for a local gallery, until they closed.  Then I walked into the studio and discovered those tubs of fabric scraps that quilters can’t throw away.  I immediately devised a plan to work them off and made steady progress at those scrappy blocks until Jan’s customers began dropping their scraps behind my chair and stealing away.  Like a bag I had over looked.  Just like Topsy, it grew.

We learned about keeping busy from our mom, who always had something going on.  Quilting, needlework, canning, gardening.  She was seventy when we moved here, and after the bustle of putting things away she was out of projects at hand.  She walked right into the studio and said “Teach me to weave.”  We did. 

All my life Mom quietly demonstrated the wider purpose of doing.  When I babysat a little girl down the street Mom had me take her downtown and buy school shoes and a coat.  When the church needed a piano, they got hers.   I read the genealogical letter Mom wrote for my daughter’s research, and Mom learned by example.  She said about her father, He never was much of a church goer, but, theBroadview Baptist Church and everyone around him benefitted from his generosity.  No one in the neighborhood went hungry.  He was most happy when everyone around him finally recovered from the depression and got off WPA.

And I learned from my Grandma Rolf, Mom’s mother.  I spent time with her when I was  young, and we rode the trolley from West 25th street to meetings of rooms full of ladies.  They cut and sewed  piles of clothes, while I sat on a chair and ate cake or slept in a corner.  It may have been the Broadview Baptist Church.  It probably was clothing to be donated.  I remember entering the room once, about five years old.  The ladies already there were quite dismayed.  My grandmother let go my hand, looked around, took a deep breath and said “Pull up your corset strings ladies, we have work to do.”

Some people write books.  Some people build skyscrapers.  Some people create art.  Some people sew five inch squares together. As long as Jan has guild friends who need to clear their stashes, the “C” drawer will be in business. 


  1. What a wonderful example your mom was to us all.

  2. I am super impressed at your organisation. And, in this house, C is for cat at the moment. When/if my hands improve it could well be C for Cut fabrics again.
    I loved that you taught your mother to weave.

  3. This is lovely.

    You are a natural storyteller.

  4. A woman's work is never done !
    Jane x

  5. I wonder if there is a bumper sticker that says,

  6. I just love hearing about your people. What an amazing line of women you descend from! I never tire of hearing about them and their experiences and teachings! Oh, and thank you for the so-kind mention!!!