Sunday, October 16, 2005

Group Sampler Wedding Quilt: A Cautionary Tale

Gather 'round, children, and let me tell you a story. Once upon a time there was a woman we'll call Debbo. Debbo belonged to a fun group of online fiber artists and one day a member of the group announced that he was about to get married. There was joy and laughter and dancing in the streets! Granted, this particular group is pretty much ready to mix up pitchers of margaritas and dance in the streets if someone so much as finds a pair of jeans that fit, but still, it was a HappyHappyJoyJoy occasion, ok? Debbo, wanting to do something to commemorate such a momentous event, had what seemed at the time to be a brilliant idea. "Hey, guys", she said enthusiastically, "let's put on a show! Oh, er, no, I mean....Let's make a quilt as a wedding gift!" And everyone else cheered and said "yes, yes, let's do it!" and there was more laughter, dancing, etc, etc. When everyone sobered up (heh!) Debbo came up with some guidelines for the project. Knowing that this particular group was not exactly known for being traditional and that many of them were other sorts of fiber artists rather than quilters, Debbo decided to keep the rules to a minimum and told everyone to send whatever they wanted as long as it was a quilt block of some kind - any size, any style, any colors, any fabrics - and she would "make it work". Not long after Debbo announced the "rules" (for lack of a better term), the blocks started to arrive in her mailbox. She opened the first envelope and thought "ooooh, pretty!". She opened the second envelope a few days later. "Ooooh, pretty!" And so on, and so on. Until one day, after several envelopes had arrived, Debbo decided to get them out and look at the blocks that had arrived so far all together. That was when the icy horror gripped her little pink heart. Each block individually was lovely, but together...well, some of these blocks didn't look like they should be in the same dimension, never mind the same quilt! Had Debbo really told all these nice people to send "anything" and assured them she would "make it work"? Yes, I'm afraid she had. That, boys and girls, brings us to our vocabulary word for the day: "hubris". Can you say it after me? "Hu-bris." Good! Let's see what Mr. Merriam and Mr. Webster have to say about "hubris". From Merriam-Webster Online:
Main Entry: hu·bris Pronunciation: 'hyü-br&s Function: noun Etymology: Greek hybris : exaggerated pride or self-confidence
That's right, children! Debbo had momentarily lapsed into one of her periodic "ten-foot-tall-and-bullet-proof" delusions of grandeur. Aren't those fun? When you're, you know...someone else and watching her try to leap tall buildings in a single bound, that is. So now Debbo was faced with all these quilt blocks, sent by all these people she likes and didn't want to disappoint. She made herself a little! I didn't mean that. She gave herself a pep talk, yeah, that's it, that's what she did...and she set to work - arranging, rearranging, looking for patterns and relationships to see if she could make the very disparate blocks play nicely with each other. Finally, yesterday afternoon at just before 6 PM, she put the last stitch into the quilt top. While it may not be the most gorgeous thing ever made, it doesn't look as much like it was created by a deranged crack whore as Debbo had been afraid it might! Take a look (photo is clickable for brave souls who want to see it larger): (Created by a professional quilter in a closed studio. Do not try this at home!) It is Debbo's theory that the blocks are all deathly afraid of that purple and gold fabric and don't dare cross its boundaries, so they have to stay put and play together! Debbo took this photo late in the day in weird light, so the colors are not quite true (the purple border is much less red than that!), but it gives you a rough idea of the result. And that, boys and girls, is the end of the first chapter. Stay tuned for the second chapter: "Will Quilting Make It Better Or Worse?"