I finished stitching together my current quilt project and today I loaded it onto the longarm. The process of creating the quilt sandwich — first mounting the backing, then the inner batting, and finally the top — takes more skill than might seem apparent. Of course, I think that about the art of properly mucking a horse stall, but that is a story for another day. It takes a consistent feel to get the right amount of tension/relaxation rolled into the backing, which serves as the canvas for the pieced top and the quilting process that will follow. Then, the top must be “floated” just right to enable it to stay square and true to its design. Anyway, I do my best work completing the loading in one session, uninterrupted.
Except, it almost never happens that way. Marco’s chosen place to lie in my workroom is just under the bars of the longarm and, if you know Marco, he is always with me. Inevitably, we complete the loading process together and since there is zero chance I can get through that without draping the fabric sections across Marco, it means there is zero chance that any quilt of mine is ever dog hair free. That may make you shudder. Not me. For every single quilt I have completed, there exists a picture of it draped across Marco, work in progress. I cannot separate memories of quilts, from memories of Marco with those quilts. He is as much a part of the creative energy that caused their completion as I am. Sometimes, I wonder if I will even be able to do this after Marco is gone and lately, the loss of him has been heavy on my mind. So, no, I do not despair at the thought of dog hair — parts of him, my beloved guardian — nestled inside the quilted topography of a finished quilt. I treasure it and if I have ever given a quilt to you, I hope that you treasure it, too.