Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Quilts and Kids

"Aubreeey!"  Joey's voice squeals higher than necessary as he stomps up the stairs to bed.  Minutes later I hear voices raised and giggles with clumping feet above my ceiling.  Someone is humming loudly.  There.  Someone jumps on the bed.  Then ... thud thud thud ... I don't know what that sound is.  Another loud voice and more mysterious noises.  They are not doing as I told them:  to get into bed.

It is 8:11 p.m. and I am not "inspecting what I expect," as my husband always reminds me to do.  Instead I am leaning back in my bed with a cup of decaf chai tea, a sploosh of organic half-n-half and a squirt of agave nectar.  My children and I just finished our nighttime reading of Harry Potter.  And instead of going upstairs to tuck my kids in bed, I am distracted by my crazy quilt.

My crazy quilt is every color imaginable with a churning disarray of patterns.  Yellow blocks with lighter yellow squiggles encased in a thin black line; multi-colored stars in a glittering heaven of blues; violas; paisleys; burgundy and white leaves; green and gold wildflowers; ink and blue calico; country blue with white hearts; building blocks and polka dots.

One square sports a beehive and flowers; one a cat in a pink bow, waving at me with yarn tangled in her paw.  I see geese and apples, swirls, stripes, reeds, ice--skating snowmen and an autumn harvest.  One square is of a pumpkin patch with an artichoke in the middle.

Do artichokes grow in the Fall? In the middle of pumpkin patches?

I used to hate this quilt.  Paul bought it off eBay.  It has a neat story though.

The woman who quilted it was buying a trailer from Paul at the RV lot he manages and she and her husband wanted to trade in five of her handmade quilts as part of their down payment on the trailer.  Paul couldn't take them in trade, but liked them and later found she was auctioning them off on eBay and bought them.

I gave one to my niece when she was born -- it had dear Holly Hobbie appliques on it.  Three others rotate around the house:  on the couch for snuggling, on the massage table for clients, or on a child's bed for dreaming under.

"Mom, I love blankets," sighed my son one morning under on of those quilts.

But the crazy quilt always stays on our bed because it is the biggest of them.  The quilt, not hte bed, though that is true, too.

And so it has grown on me.  I imagine the stories the fabric swatches held before they were quilted into her blanket.  Were they once her children's clothes?  Or from a pillow -- long since fallen apart -- given to her on her wedding day?  Or maybe they were just swatches the dollar bin at the local fabric store.

But someone else's joy, love, frustrations and intentions went into this blanket and I snuggle under it every night.

In the winter months we add a fluffy down comforter to our bed, obscuring the craziness.  Both my husband and I are allergic to dust mites -- which coincidentally love feather blankets. So we encase the fluffy feathers in a crispy allergy cover, and then cover the whole thing in an ecru duvet; though it seems the zany colors would shed more warmth than the lighter hue.

I've tried putting the crazy quilt on top of the feather blanket instead of hiding it, but sometimes it's too hot and if we end up kicking off both blankets, we are only left with the sheet.

The way I've managed to savor the colors and stories and glee peering from the squares during the winter is to make my bed with feather comforter folded at the foot of the bed.  It's there when needed at bedtime, but during the day when I pass by, I can hear the giggles from the quilter's children float on the breeze as I pass to my next task.

My children have clumped downstairs, obviously not in bed, to show me their Mad-Eye Moody disguise.  Once again, after an appreciative laugh and a hug, I send them upstairs and this time I follow them.

No comments: