Sunday, July 29, 2007

On Great Quilts, Cats and Moms

That's one of my cats. Her name is Darjeeling. I took the horse razor and shaved her yesterday. She looks great, really great. I owe a lot to that tail because it's how I retrieved her from the dumpster where she'd been abandoned. So it's the hardest part for me to shave on her (emotionally that is, because in actual fact, it's her armpits which are the hardest to shave, which would explain why she now has a large fan of pristine fur sticking out from her left armpit - yes, I'm right-handed, except in billiards and frisbee) but I do it anyway, since this week it was in the 90s and she refuses to come downstairs where it's cooler.

The quilt is an artefact of good mothering (hi Mom, this part's about you, hope you don't mind). My mom taught me and my brother how to sew on her fancy old black Singer sewing machine. I put my skills to good use making underwear for my rabbit. Mom made clothes for me (an ambitious undertaking, since every time she turned around I was longer). She also showed us how to make a quilt. She let me choose the layout of blocks, she sewed my nickname onto the quilt, and she taught me various stitches using her colored embroidery thread. The gingham checkers make a great guide for even stitching and geometric patterns. I recomment all engineers and architects do gingham embroidery as part of their training.

So every square has its own unique set of buttons, bits of embroidery, even shape. I like that Mom let me choose the buttons from her collection, but even more I liked that she didn't insist on any particular order. You'll see smaller blocks coexisting with larger, rectangles with squares, and it all comes out really nice, and the final piece is distinctive. The final touch, of course, is that she kept track of the quilt, despite (her) moving all over the world. It showed up in the post last autumn, just before Darjeeling. It's in excellent condition, and is just as cozy and comforting as it always was. Just like mom. And just like Darjeeling, who will apparently always be cozy, no matter how much fur I remove.

Meet Mouse! - HBL's relative