Back in 2006, St. Martin’s Press accepted my proposal to edit a group of stories by quilters. American Patchwork: True Stories from Quilters is the result. Published in 2007, the 65 stories in this collection range from the sad to the funny and back again.
One of my earliest contributors was a woman named Judy Bowden who lived in Strafford, Vermont. In the years since then, Judy became a friend, first through our mutual love of quilting (a hobby she picked up in 1971), and then through a love of books, travel, and the lure of ancient sites such as Stonehenge.
Judy died just before Christmas last year. Her deep, rich laugh and radiant smile are missed. This week, I wanted to share the story she wrote for American Patchwork in her honor.
After a close relationship of almost twenty years, I married and moved into my new husband’s home. Before the wedding, we had agreed that I could redecorate the interior of his home from “men’s dorm-style hodgepodge” to my preference of “antique French country with lots of color.” I have a background in many diverse fields, including interior design, so you can imagine how anxious I was to get started.
For the first few weeks of married life, we slept beneath an unzipped sleeping bag that had serviced as his bedspread for many years. That old and torn sleeping bag was just too much for a new bride but I knew it would take months for me to find the time to set up a work space to make my own quilt, and I just couldn’t wait that long.
So I purchased a lovely bargello patchwork in pastels of blue, rose, and white, complete with matching pillow shams.
And then I waited for him to notice what I had done.
I waited for two weeks but he never said a word. So I thought maybe he didn’t like it or thought it was too feminine, though he hadn’t objected to my Teddy bears. Finally, when he didn’t pick up on the hints I was dropping, I led him into the bedroom and asked if he noticed anything.
He looked around and after a while, he said, “No, I don’t smell anything.”
I gulped and pointed to the quilt. That’s when he finally realized that his old sleeping bag was missing. He assured me that he liked the bargello patchwork, and then asked if I’d made it.
I responded, “Of course, last night while you were at your meeting.”
I should explain that my husband is clueless about quilts and honestly has no idea how long it takes to make one. But this is not necessarily a fault, because he also has no idea about the size of my fabric stash (packed away in boxes) or the money I have invested in fabrics, quilting supplies, etc.
And I don’t intend to shock him with that information.
The next Carding Chronicle will be published on February 5. If you are enjoying these stories (they’re a great break from politics, eh?) please encourage your friends to subscribe.