Monday, July 6, 2009

A Crazy-Quilt Philosophy

One of the perks of being retired (from full time teaching, anyway) is that I am able to work with a group of creative women who make quilts. On the first and third Tuesday of each month, we meet at church for a morning of fellowship. And while we chat, our hands create comfort quilts for those who are hurting, either physically or emotionally. Some ladies choose to piece together the colorful quilt tops. Others sew the tops to the batting and backing fabric. And still others do the tying that holds the pieces together.

Last month one of the ladies brought in several quilt tops so colorful I had to take a closer look. Instead of a pattern of select colors and textures, she had randomly pieced together hundreds of tiny scraps, and then framed them with a dark solid color. “I hate to waste fabric,” she told me, “so I put all my extra pieces together, and get a quilt that’s just as warm and comforting as any other!”

I decided to follow her example and tackle the pile of scraps lying all around my sewing machine. I sorted the pieces by size, rather than color, and started piecing them together. Before I knew it I had four quilt tops! Tomorrow I’ll take them to church so that they can be made into something that will offer comfort to someone who needs it. And my sewing table looks a lot cleaner.

Meanwhile, I’m still writing at least two hundred words each day. I think the “crazy quilt method” works a little bit here, too. Each article or story I write has building blocks from various random bits of my life. Each character I create is a variation of someone I know or have met. The crazier the combination, the more interesting the story. But If I do it right, when I put it all together, I'll get something that’s warm and comforting.


  1. Patty,
    What a wonderful story and a beneficial suggestion for all of us. Sue C.

  2. I love the sound of the quilts, Patty. I'll bet the one with all the tiny pieces is beautiful. So nice to do something creative and help someone at the same time. I think the stories we write do that too.