Laurie writes . . .
“What is a middling?” I asked. “made from fat quarter size fabric.” (Really–those little bundles tied up at the fabric store unfold?) A small quilt. Someone shared a picture. I was getting it. Remember I am not a quilter.
I cut fabric the required size plus a half inch. I grabbed my embroidery hoop and the spool of red sewing thread I had been using and began to stitch pairs of X’s. Always in pairs. I absent-mindedly follow the curve of the hoop. When it got awkward, I moved the hoop. Continued and removed the hoop. Hmmmm. Looks like a heart, sort of. So I tried to continue the heart idea. XX of various stitches, various sizes. My January project.
I took my thread and my hoop to visit my 91 year old Dad. “Are you going to finish it by Valentine’s Day?” he asked as I was still working on it after his February 3rd birthday. A new deadline.
Jeanne asked me how it felt to make a Middling. I started with trepidation. I am not a quilter. This is taking a lot of time if it is not right. I set it aside, picked it up, took it to work when I watched the grandkids.
One of the Monthly Mixer challenges was “a picture of the smallest pair of XX you can find.” That somehow gave me the freedom to make very small XX pairs. And that led me to thinking of small individuals – how young were the lives we are remembering. Some of the individuals I work with are adults but are of very small stature for their age. Some of my pairs were prickly, some stout. My pairs marched and meandered . . . is that how “our” individuals entered the gas chambers?
When I got my decidedly wonky heart shape finished, I counted 200 pairs. Then I added 14 more larger ones from fabric – just because that is how many fit. I cut the back and the filling (an old felted waterbed pad – my mother-in-law always used old blankets for batting in her quilts.) I stitched around the edges – pillow case style – a term I learned form fellow participants in The 70273 Project. My plan had been to machine stitch between the rows of pairs of X’s. Around the inside of the heart I went. Then the inside of the inside row. I could not do more, the rows seemed too close together. I sent a picture to Chloe Grice asking if she thought it was “right”. She said to post it, so I did, and y’all (another term I’m learning from this group!), y’all hit “like”. No one said to add more quilting.
Took it to show my dad. He got a big grin. Later on that evening, he suddenly said, “Don’t do any more quilting.” I have always tried to obey my dad.
I keep looking at it, moving it from place to place. I still need to put a sleeve on the back. It is very much like a baby blanket, like a baby I’m not ready to send into the world quite yet.
Laurie, your Middling and your words are tender and quite touching. I am moved by the fact that as you say, you are not a quilter, and yet you feel so deeply about the people you work with and the people we commemorate that you simply cut the fabric, thread the needle, and start. You may have been working on it since January, but you’ll finish it in June, which as you know, is Middling Month! Please hug your dad for me next time you see him, and tell him what I always ask you to tell him: that I thank him for his service and for the daughter who is now my friend.