Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Have you ever seen a quilter cry?

Happy New Year! I love all forms of fiber art, but I am drawn to some more than others.  That said, my personal feeling is that if you limit yourself to the things you are comfortable with, you will not grow as an artist,  and you will be doomed to repeat 1,001 versions of the same piece.

Case in point:  last summer, I agreed to submit an applique block for the 2011 Empire Quilters Guild raffle quilt.  The quilt, Subway Series, is based on mosaics from various subway stations in NYC.  The quilt is the brainchild of an incredibly talented quilter and applique artist named Mary Cargill.  She opened up her home and stash to participants, and from what I've seen, the quilt will be a masterpiece.    I enjoy applique, but I have NEVER done an entire block of hand applique; it was always a single component, such as a flower, or  heart.  Nevertheless, I felt I ought to try, and with Mary's support, I gathered the fabrics for my block.  Fortunately, I have a large collection of fabric that was bought for portrait and landscape quilts.  The sky and mountains are batiks; the water, a fabric reversed; the tile roof, stone house, and windows were fabrics from my collection, as is the wood for the dock (to the right of the house). I painted another batik to give the impression of grouted tiles both surrounding the block and on the brick of the reflecting pool.  It took me many, many hours to complete the block; I changed the reflecting pool (in front of the house) and the roof shape and windows several times, often cutting out something I had just sewn.

Now for the crying part.  Happily I sent off my blocks.  Not wanting to spend a fortune to send it, but wanting to keep track of it, I took it to USPS and paid for delivery confirmation.  I am in the minority of people (based on comments I hear, even within my own household) who thinks the Postal Service does an incredible job for the price they charge.  We do not pay very much for our postage...if you think I'm kidding, send a postcard from abroad and convert the price to USD!  I am happy to see our postman, even though I don't often enjoy the bills he brings.  Imagine my surprise when nearly a month later Mary called to say she hadn't gotten my block, and the delivery confirmation had not been posted!  I spent most of the holiday dreading the thought of having to recreate this block.  Each day I checked to see if the delivery had been confirmed.  When yet another week had passed, and the delivery still had not been confirmed by either Mary or USPS,  I began to gather the fabrics again, with very little enthusiasm for the task, and on the verge of tears.

The story does have a happy ending; the post office did return the block as undeliverable, and simply for this reason:  the address was correct, but the last digit of the zip code was wrong, a 6 instead of a 5.  Had someone even bothered to look at my HANDWRITTEN LABEL, they would have seen that the address was correct.  Argggggggh...of all the !@#$%; stupid things. Holidays are a horrible time for the mail system, and that was USPS' reason why the package seemed to be returned to me via Pony Express; since it was not delivered, they could not update the status to delivered, and they don't have a status called  CRAZY POSTAL LIMBO. Not willing to trust my block through the postal service again, I brought it to NY, and was happy to see it included in the quilt top last Saturday.

1 comment:

sschoch1@nycap.rr.com said...

Beautiful Aleeda and I'm so glad your block resurfaced. I've seen some of the other blocks on the website and it promises to be an outstanding quilt.

Your dyeing friend, Sue