Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Working Titles

This morning I "test-napped" the quilt I finished late last night. Based on that test, I can honestly tell you, it's a very good quilt. I slept for three cozy hours under my comfy wool-stuffed blankie embraced by all the love and memories that went into its creation. That may be the only nap it will give, because I plan to hang it on the wall of a guest bedroom. But I'm sure it will warm that room.

Before sending it to the wall, I have to name it. The name and some vital statistics will go on a label sewn on the back. But I'm struggling with what to call it. I've used several names during the process of making it, but I'm still undecided.

This quilt is a humility quilt. It is filled with mistakes and learning experiences. I have purposely left those mistakes in the quilt, so that it can tell the story of my learning. I am aware of its flaws just as I am aware of those in the people I love and in myself. Those "flaws" are simply cherished variations on the human condition and they remain as a testament to my love for the foibles of all those dear to me.

Here are some of the candidates for the name of the quilt:
  • Late Bloomers -- this was the first name I came up with, chosen because I came to quilting late in my life. The designer of the quilt called hers "Flowers for MacKenzie" because she made it for her granddaughter, so I thought I might stick to the flower theme for the name.
  • Old Dog, New Tricks -- kind of the same line of thinking. I am pleased that I have learned a new skill at this stage. Also there is a dog in one of the blocks.
  • Wool Gathering -- the batting of the quilt is wool. So, the quilting process involved "gathering" the wool. For me, quilting is a deeply meditative process. I play music and let my mind wander as I make the rhythmic, repetitious stitches. I make certain that I think positive, pleasant thoughts, so those qualities are stitched into the fabric. I had to put it aside for a couple of days when my friend's daughter had a stroke, because I was so enraged over what I considered to be a manifestation of violence against women for economic gain. I couldn't allow that anger to be embedded in my quilt.
  • Good Grief -- many times my thoughts turned to memories of departed loved ones. I spent hours in the company of Robin, Ken, and my grandmothers. Those are memories of joy and love and were hours of joyous reunion.
  • Picking up the Pieces -- In addition to memories, I reflected on the joy I now have in my life with Ben and Logan, which I describe with a metaphor alluding to the scraps of fabric I pieced together and to the life we have stitched.
  • Birth of the Elephant -- This is the name I have used for the last several weeks. It refers to the 22 month gestation period of both an elephant calf and this quilt. It also refers to a family joke Ken and I shared and I will try to explain. When Ken was a child, Aunt Helen and Uncle Bill took him to a dinner show at the Nugget in Sparks. He was thrilled and told me about it with great excitement. The show was "Bertha the Elephant" but I misunderstood and thought he said "Birth of the Elephant." We went on to imagine what Birth of the Elephant would be and decided it would be a ballet parody of the "Dying Swan." It came to represent clumsiness in the pursuit of grace. In some ways, I feel that is what I have achieved with this quilt.
Let me know what you think I should call it!


  1. I vote for "Birth of the Elephant!" I love being able to picture the joy with which Kenny would have told you about his adventure. Plus I saw Bertha too, but I'm not sure if I remember it or remember being told about it. It must have been the same trip...

  2. Thanks, Melody. I needed a good cry today. Each of your titles and descriptions left me thinking. I love them all! What a beautiful quilt. Now I really want to be a guest.

  3. I like "Wool gathering". I think it's a very pretty quilt - and I love your blog!

  4. Here Have All the Flowers Come

  5. Aha! I get it -- for the rest of you, Irene made me (for Mallaika) a quilt she called "Where have all the flowers gone." She gave it to me shortly after I moved to Missouri. It's a beauty and my gold standard when I want to see how my quilting is coming along.

  6. Irene actually made two identical quilts for Mallaika -- one for her to take to Massachusetts and one to keep in Missouri. I think they both have the same name -- Where Have all the Flowers Gone?" I'll post a picture of Mallaika and both quilts on my Facebook quilt gallery.