Assemblage or How to Piece Together a Crazy Quilt Without Losing Yourself

by | Aug 8, 2023 | Fiction, Issue Thirty-Four

Begin at the center. Begin at the heart of things. Begin at the moment you can never turn back. Dorothy may have fallen asleep amongst a field of blood red poppies on her way to the Emerald City but this, too, passed. To begin is to begin somewhere. It might as well be here.

***

Choose both your fabrics and your lovers wisely. Make sure their fibers are pliant enough to stretch across the deepest valleys, the widest planes so when the world

Tips

                        Tips

                                                Tips

like dominoes all around you—one after the other after the other—your rough edges overlap and tuck around one another securely.

***

In the early 1800s, women often found themselves foraging for scraps—sometimes even ripping the hems of their own skirts to make ends meet.

***

Some scraps worth preserving:

  • Soft cotton the shade of sun-ripened peaches from the dress you wore the night you lost your innocence.
  • Navy wool from the damp peacoat draped over the spindles of a hard-backed chair—the scent of stale tobacco and pine needles and your lover woven deep within its nap.
  • Linen from the sheets where your arms and legs once tangled like roots.
  • Black tulle from the veil used to hide your truth.
  • Satin from the baby blue blanket cradling your anxious, beating heart.
  • Your sanity.

***

Consider embroidering carp scales and horseshoes and acorns and four-leaf clovers and hands with fingers spread wide like a dreamcatcher amongst the chaos that has emerged like an uninvited guest. After all, every yin requires a yang.

***

It’s been said Queen Victoria mourned her dear Albert by piecing together every speck of his being that clung to her into a crazy quilt she kept folded at the foot of her high-canopied bed alongside a plaster cast of her beloved’s hand. Each night she’d lie beside an open window with the quilt wrapped around her bare shoulders, her fingers clutched to those that had once caressed her cheek, her cold and aching breasts.

***

Press all the seams flat as you go.

Trim

                        Trim

                                                Trim

any extending allowances which may create unnecessary bulk. Throw the scraps (and your hollowness) into the garment bag buried deep within the forest of your inner room. Then close the door and carry on as though neither exists.

***

Remember no two assemblages or crazy quilts can or ever will be the same. Each crease, each broken stitch promises its own journey.

Pin It on Pinterest