Lemme see...should I start with the quilt or the car? Quilt or car? Yeah, I'm going with the car.
About two weeks ago, my husband called me from work to say that he was having trouble starting his car. His car is a 2000 Saturn LS, and it has well over 100k on it at this point. We have only about 7 payments left on my car, and I was praying to whatever deities deal with this sort of thing that his car would last long enough to get mine paid off, so we wouldn't have to try to swing two car payments, even for a few months. Of course, any god worth his salt wouldn't grant such a wish since this is what parenting types call a "teaching opportunity." See, once upon a time (which, in my parlance, always means "before I had children"), David and I were hyper-responsible about routine car maintenance. Oil changes, tune ups, spark converter adjustments, valve bearing load bushing combustion alignments: all done precisely when the manufacturer recommended. Then I produced a live human from my own body and along with approximately seven million gallons of breast milk, she also apparently sucked out the part of my brain that deals with such things. This includes doctor appointments, insurance renewal, bill paying, even taking medication. I'm lucky if I manage to take my blood pressure medication every other day.
So, we haven't exactly treated the car very well, so asking it to last another seven months was probably pushing fate too far. He took it in for service, and $600 later we had a new starter and a new battery. Five days later, he was getting in the car to come home from work, and it wouldn't start again. Examination showed that the starter was working, as was the battery, so he had the car towed to a mechanic nearby and hitched a ride home with a co-worker. Yesterday, the mechanic finally looked at the car and pronounced it dead, killed by a broken timing chain. We could get a new engine or a new car.
I know someone will argue with me, but we've decided to go with a new car. I just can't see putting another engine in an old Saturn, and who knows what it would take to find an engine and whether it would be in good enough condition to use. So we called the credit union today and they looked at our credit rating, and after the laughter subsided, we were approved for a not totally outrageous rate on a car loan. But until we can actually get to the dealership to get the car we want, we have to play Who Gets the Other Unreliable Vehicle for several days. David tends to win, since he is gainfully employed and all, and I just sit around the house eating pizza flavored goldfish crackers and complaining about how he doesn't make enough money to buy me more fat quarters. I WONDER HOW HE FEELS ABOUT THAT? I'm not even going to go into the question of how we are going to pay for the car, because that will surely send someone over the edge. Possibly me.
On Monday, I finished the second of two feature articles I am writing for the December/January issue of Quilter's Home, and that accomplishment has freed up my time a bit to work on the HST quilt. I completed 720 blocks, each half bright batik, half white, and spent the weekend mulling over how to lay them out:
I ultimately decided to go with the latter, but because I am a stitcher of very little brain, there was no way - or so I thought - that I could figure out how to sew each row without laying out the entire thing first. I didn't want to try to do it on the floor, because that would be too much of a temptation for DESTRUCTO-GIRL, The Toddler Terror, Destroyer of Worlds. No, clearly it was time for a design wall.
For the 1.5 readers out there who are not quilters and don't know what a design wall is, it's basically just a large piece of flannel, usually tacked to a wall, upon which one can stick quilt blocks in order to see how they will look before sewing them together. Kinda like those felt things they used to always have in vacation Bible school when I was a kid, to show how Joseph and his coat of many locusts destroyed the walls of Jericho and turned into a pillar of Sodomites. Or something like that. I figured a flannel sheet would be easier than buying yardage and sewing it together, but as it turns out, you can't actually buy a flannel sheet anywhere in August. You can no longer buy a bathing suit anywhere (not that I would, but still) or a pair of shorts, and you can load up on parkas and snowboots, but apparently flannel sheet season is not the same as fall fashion season. WHO KNOWS WHY? So, yardage it was.
Once I got it sewn together and tacked up, I realized that I just needed to lay out the two center rows, and I could work outward from there without having to place every single piece on the wall.
Harper naturally asked me for whom I was making this quilt, and I told her, "Me." She seemed shocked at this. Why on earth would I make a quilt just for myself when there is a perfectly deserving six-year-old standing right in front of me who only has FIVE quilts? When I refused to cede ownership of the quilt to her, she countered with, "I think this quilt should belong to everybody in our whole family. You're supposed to share, Mom." That got Devon started. "Yeah. You're supposed to share, Mom." David just waggled his eyebrows at me, since he also feels I possess things I do not share enough. Wouldn't want to leave THAT out of a family conversation, now would we?
At the rate I'm going, it will take several weeks to finish, but it is going to be damn beautiful when it is done. Maybe my husband even have a working vehicle by that point. And he damn well better share.