Confessions of a Quiltaholic
After only two weeks in the apartment, my husband moved back home. He said he missed my cooking, which is really a surprise because I haven’t cooked in ages…except for the time I toasted the bread before making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Is that considered ‘home cooking’?
He wanted us to go to a marriage counselor, but all I could think about was how much fabric I could buy with all that money. Of course, I didn’t tell him that! I asked him if there wasn’t something else I could do. Two days later he handed me a piece of paper with the date and time of a Quilter’s Anonymous meeting. Can you believe it? After the fiasco at the Fabric Hoarders Anonymous meeting he forced me to attend last month. Go figure.
He left me with no choice so I had to agree to attend. Thankfully it was in the next town. But still, I was afraid I would see someone from the FHA meeting. You all know that fabric "collecting" and quilting go hand-in-hand.
When I walked into the meeting room, I kept my coat and sunglasses on. I wanted to make sure no one recognized me. I looked around, but with the sunglasses on, it was kind of hard to see faces. I found a place to sit. They had the heat on in the building, and it sure was hot. I didn’t want to "blow my cover," so I kept my coat on.
Just like at the other meeting, people were standing up talking about their addiction. I don’t understand it. If it is something you truly enjoy, why is it called an addiction? But if this is what it’s going to take to save my marriage…a woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do.
As the testimonials made their way around the room, I felt eyes upon me. I stood and said, "My name is Sher…" I cleared my throat. "My name is Cherie McRae, and I am a quiltaholic." Little beads of perspiration were starting to form on my forehead and my upper lip.
The woman sitting beside me said, "Honey, don’t be so nervous. We’ve all been there."
I nodded at her and thought, ‘Another do-gooder.’ But I continued. "It started out innocently enough with potholders and throw pillows."
I heard several people say, "Me too."
"Then I made a baby quilt for my sister’s baby. Of course, after that I had to make one for my brother’s baby." I wiped the sweat off my forehead with my hand.
Several women were nodding.
I heard one of the women beside me say, "She must be going through the change."
"I joined several swaps, and I had all those blocks so I made a quilt for my bed. And two quilts for my sons. And a quilt for my daughter. And a quilt for my mother. And…and that was just from the swaps." Sweat was pouring off my face. A woman behind me handed me a tissue…I needed a bath towel.
"I even cut up fabric in my stash."
I heard a gasp from in front of me.
"Yes, it was hard to do, but I used fabric in my stash and made another quilt for my bed. Actually, I now have six quilts for my bed. My sons have five quilts each. My daughter only has three so I really need to make her…"
The woman at the head table started shaking her head ‘no.’ I peered sideways around the edge of my sunglasses and almost fainted. She was the same woman who was at the head table at the FHA meeting.
"Well, maybe my sons can give her one of theirs."
I heard someone say, "Her poor daughter is getting hand-me-down quilts."
I could feel the perspiration rolling down between my shoulder blades. I wiped my forehead and blotted by upper lip with the already sopping wet tissue.
"I’ve made bed quilts, wall quilts, and lap quilts. I’ve made throw quilts and dog quilts. I’ve even made quilted window covers. The good thing about all this quilting is that the walls and windows have so many quilts on them that our electricity bill has dropped tremendously. It doesn’t take as much energy to heat and cool the house as it did before. It’s just sort of dark in the house because the windows are covered with those quilted window shades." I started fanning myself with my hand. A woman behind me pulled one of those cardboard funeral parlor fans out of her purse and handed to me. I thought I saw a quilt block in her purse. She must be a closet quilter.
"I’ve made quilted clothes and quilted purses and totes. My daughter didn’t mind too much, but my oldest son said the kids at school made fun of his quilted gym shorts. My husband wasn’t too pleased with his quilted undershorts."
Several people gasped.
"Could someone turn the heat down please?" I asked politely.
Someone went over to the thermostat and checked it.
"I went to a thrift shop and found blue jeans for a dollar a pair. I bought thirty pairs the first time and cut them up to make a rag quilt. Later, I bought twenty pairs and cut them up to add to the first quilt. Then, I went back and bought thirty-five more pairs and cut them up. I added them to the same quilt. My husband wasn’t the least bit pleased about his new boat cover."
"Ingrate," was uttered from the front row.
A woman handed me a roll of paper towels that she snitched from the restroom. I sopped my face and my neck.
"I started thinking about all this quilting and how the quilts on the walls and windows helped with the insulation and lowered our electric bills, so I started making a roof quilt."
Several jaws fell open with wonder. I could tell that they wished they’d thought about that!
"I didn’t want to do anything elaborate for a roof quilt. I thought a simple Grandmother’s Flower Garden would do." I started swaying. "Would someone please turn the heat off?" I begged.
The person who checked it earlier said, "The air conditioner is on. You need to take your coat off."
I clutched my coat around me and shook my head. "I just kept on making quilts and quilted clothes. I made placemats and tablerunners. My husband just doesn’t appreciate my hobby at all. Do I ever say a word to him about his fishing? Noooo. Why can’t he just go fishing and leave me and my quilting alone? Besides, I made some quilted reel holders that slip over his rod and keep his expensive reels from getting scratched. He said one of his fishing buddies wanted to know where he got them."
The women behind me whispered, "I wonder if she would share the pattern for the reel covers?"
I had sweated so much that my shoes were full and they were starting to squish.
"I personally liked his boat cover so much that I made a car cover for my car and a cover for his pickup too. The kids each have a car cover. My daughter’s is Sunbonnet Sue. The boys have Fishing Freddie and Overall Sam. My car cover is the only one that gets used."
I started swaying. It was just so hot and nobody would turn the air conditioner down to a decent temperature. All of a sudden I started going down. Somebody shouted "Call an ambulance." Another shouted, "Call her husband."
I tried to holler, "NO!" But about that time everything just closed in on me.
When I regained consciousness, a bunch of mad people were standing over me. The EMT’s were just standing there staring down at me.
That woman at the front table was standing right beside me with her arms crossed over her chest. She was tapping her right foot on the floor right beside my face. And the things she was saying weren’t at all nice. She accused me of sabotaging her FHA meeting last month, and she said that I showed up at this QA meeting just to sabotage it.
I was a little cool so I reached to pull my coat up around me. It was gone. I sat up and looked around me. My clothes were in a pile…my coat…my quilted cardigan…my quilted vest…my quilted skirt…I looked down and thank heavens I still had on my quilted bra and quilted panties. For a minute there…
Then I saw my husband. He didn’t look very happy. I asked him what did he think he was looking at. Everybody in that room knew he was wearing quilted underwear!
He’s back in the apartment.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is a coincidence.
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No part of this shall be printed or reproduced without the written permission of Sherry Ray.