"May All My Afterthoughts Be Lovely"
This Broken Asterisk quilt is another bold step into the uncomplicated. I knew without a doubt that I wanted to build something with vintage sheets. My friends Deb and Emily have both been big Sheet Inspirers to me over these last few years.
I found the pillowcase that was to be the heart of it all some time ago. My friend Krystina said she loves that old turq color that pops up here and there, so I went looking and found just the funky old thing. I set it next to a big stack of other vintage sheets, and it just didn't want to be mixed with anything. It wanted to stand out on its own.
Turns out it wanted to be a piece of punctuation: an asterisk.
The asterisk is the word flag for afterthought.**
The asterisk is the little tool you use when you have more to say, but you want a little pause before the main thing and the next that comes after. You'd like your reader to go hunt a little for it, to work up a sort of appetite for the more that you have to offer.
And I think afterthoughts are always interesting. There's what I wish I would have said, and also what I wish i wouldn't have. Or the tone I wish i'd struck. Or the wisdom that seems obvious and clarifying roughly 36 hours after the moment I needed it.
May All My Afterthoughts Be Lovely. It's the wish of this quilt, the thing the quilt would say to a star if it could go looking.
And I know I'm mixing the thought of the asterisk being broken with the thought of great hope. But this is, after all, the way the world arrives to me often: as a mixture of great hope and brokenness. I know my afterthoughts will likely not be all lovely (um: have you met me)--but I can still wish for it.
I spent a few minutes having this Mental Interview*--which is something you really ought to try. You can't imagine the sorts of things that people you've never met are dying to ask you.
Barbara Bush: Ginger, I'm a quilter too, though it's not widely known. I appreciate what you're doing here with historic fabrics.
Me: Oh, Mrs. Former First Lady, thank you. I tend to refer to them as "old sheets," but I like the way you describe what I've got my hands on here.
Barbara Bush: I notice that you've used the applique [said in actual french accent]. It is a precise sort of method that takes a steady hand and an enviable attention to detail. Have you worked in this way before? And, as a follow-up question, Do you cruel?
Me: Actually, MFFL, I have never appliqued snot before. Oh. Sorry. I mean I've never tried applque [said like it's menu item at a burger joint] before. I just sort of started cutting up scraps and then I noticed they wanted to turn into an asterisk and then I sort of wildly zig zagged them to death and then also I hand-sewed back down the parts that flipped up in the wash.
Barbara Bush: I am enamored by the way that you can make the exquisite seem so pedestrian.
Me: Thank you?
* This particular Mental Interview is one of a series of three Pretend Barbara Interviews. The first here. The third in my upcoming book Go Make Something Anyway.***
**This writer, by the way, is the master of the asterisk. She uses it in a way that is so real and spot-on that now no one else will ever be able to without referring back to her. I report that here with a mixture of awe and annoyance. Hers is the only blog I read, so it's more the first than the second.
*** Yes--there's an actual title to the actual book. Big thanks to Krystina for her hard work on the layout of the text and the sweaty font-searching so that it will look just like it should. xo This quilt is part of the generous part-barter deal that she swung for me to do the work. And it makes me like both the quilt and the work she did even more.