Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cathedral Windows and a Future Wedding

I googled my wedding dress tonight. Seeing stock photos of it is having an effect on me. It sits its box, never worn but perfectly fitted, a sheath of white satin that looks phenomenal wrapped around my petite proportions.

Funny way to start an entry on a blog about hand-stitched goodies, right? I mean, I had no hand in sewing it, no hand in altering it, no hand in preserving it. All I did was try it on, buy it, get it fitted, and leave with it. I didn't try it on again before I left the shop. By the time the alterations were complete, I'd called the wedding off. (Thank God, that was one of the best decisions of my life! For future reference, do not agree to marry a guy you meet on facebook! Do not agree to marry a guy who is so convinced he is right for you that you are swept up in his convictions! And do not feel an ounce of guilt for all the money spent and the wedding prep down the drain. There is an infinite resource renowned for redemption, reclamation, recycling, repurposing. Nothing need be wasted. All things can be turned into good.)

So why talk about this gown now? Well, it was in that engagement period that I began my first real quilt. My then-fiance and I were planning a Jewish wedding, and some of our friends had a family tradition of piecing a quilt for their chuppah. My surprise wedding gift was to be a hand-pieced top filled with appliqued blocks depicting moments of our courtship. (Aquarium, beach trip, leaping fountains... now that I think of it, how could I have left out a scene with two college kids hunched over their laptops? ;-D) I had all the materials and maybe eight blocks completed. The borders were to be black, the back a single piece of white muslin. When I broke the engagement, the completed squares were trashed but all that glorious muslin and black cotton remained.

Choosing to look forward and believe that God had someone so much better for me, that in giving up what was good I was trading up for the best, I began a new quilt. I remembered the only quilt my mother ever made was a crib-sized cathedral window. Her aunt made quilts in the same style, and when my mother caught sight of Auntie's perfect stitches, she gave up the art and vowed never to quilt again. True to that vow, my mother has not picked up a needle and thread in a creative endeavor that I can remember, aside from the times she instructed me. Knowing cathedral windows were present in at least two generations, I decided to redeem what my mother gave up and create one myself.

Instead of using traditional white muslin, I chose to use black, white and colored "frames". I painstakingly traced squares from the remaining material of the intentioned quilt, adding to it as need be. When all was cut, I set to work on the plan. The final draft of the plan is as follows:

Elaborate, no? Time consuming, yes! But it's glorious. I have no time frame for finishing it. I began stitching last winter. Up until then I was off-and-on cutting, counting, stacking and basting. I still have more basting to do, but the center is finished. If other projects don't snow me under I may have the second tier completed by spring. We shall see. At any rate, I believe I will have a beautiful chuppah when my time comes. As of today, I am happily living life without a boyfriend, no "prospects" on my horizon but a wealth of love from wonderful friends. My heart is a long time in the making and blooms best at the first sign of spring. So too this quilt. It will be the heirloom piece of my family, countless hours in the making, full of hope and joy in its creating, and when the weather changes, it will be ready in time.

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