Wednesday, January 31, 2018

How Pickles Make Quilting All Better

(Author's note: Okay, so yesterday on my Facebook page I asked for suggestions of topics to write about, because I had promised to write more but I could not think of anything worthy of an entire blog post. Alert reader Teri suggested, and I quote her exactly: how pickles make quilting all better. Here you go, Teri. There were some other great suggestions and you'll see more of them here soon.)

Self-care is so important, isn’t it? In the words of our greatest American citizen, RuPaul, how can you love anyone else if you don’t love yourself? And loving yourself requires taking care of yourself, and taking care of yourself requires not getting your panties in a twist over some tiny little problem that isn’t even important in the grand scheme of things anyway. 

But when you are a quilter, your entire existence can be a series of tiny little problems that, added together, become one big problem and now you have an entire row in your guild group quilt that is a WHOLE FOOT shorter than the rest because somebody keeps eyeballing her quarter inch seam and no we can’t just tack on some extra fabric at the end, Donna; we may be modern but we’re not savages.

So yes, it can be very easy to get your knickers in a wad over many things in quilting, but there is a solution. No, I mean a literal solution of vinegar and water and salt and spices and maybe sugar if you’re feeling frisky.  I’m talking about, of course, pickles.

That’s right, I said pickles. The ancient and venerable arts of pickling and quilting have seen a huge resurgence in recent years, but it is not widely known that the two together can rebalance your waveform energies and positively ionize your neuron pathways. Or something. I don’t know for sure - I fell asleep in that TED talk.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are in your sewing room, just happily quilting along, la dee da la dee da, and suddenly your machine jams up, grinds to a halt, and smoke starts curling out of the motor.  And that was the $99 special you got at Kmart because in this freaking economy that’s all you can afford and it’s not like those tax cuts everybody is all orgasmic over apply to you and now what are you supposed to do? If you’re like most quilters, you’ll just go lie facedown on the floor until the sobbing subsides, but just imagine if you had a jar of pickles next to you at your sewing table. Maybe some sweet gherkins. Then, as you watch your only link to sanity dying in front of you, you can thoughtfully munch on a nice crisp and tangy pickle, feeling your chakras triangulate into a pyramid or something, and when you’ve finished the entire jar you can hurl it at the machine, effectively venting your frustrations and putting out what might have been an actual fire inside that thing. See? Isn’t that better?

Here’s another one. Let’s say you are at a guild meeting and the guild show chair is handing out assignments but she is a perfectionist micro-managing hell-beast and your assignment—which is basically to stand at the door and hand out flyers—is specific down to the acceptable brand and color of mascara you are allowed to wear, and the chair is all like, “Is there a problem” because your face is pinched in a fit of unspoken rage and it’s not like you can say out loud what you’re really thinking so you just have to keep it all in to fester like all your unfulfilled dreams. But just imagine if you had a jar of pickles in your hand. Maybe some kosher dills. Then, when the hell-beast is ready to micro-manage your face you can go, “Hoo boy these are some sour pickles—want some?” And when her attention is deflected by the jar of tasty cukes you can run out the door and into sweet, sweet freedom. There. All better.

Really, there’s no problem that a good jar or at least a dish of pickles can’t solve. In fact, the famous Pickle Dish quilt pattern was so named because Prohibition-era quilters used to keep a small dish of pickles handy to mask the smell of homemade hooch on their breath, since in those days quilting bees were really just speak-easies. And that’s where guilds come from, but that’s another story for another day.

I hope you’ll join me in the long lost tradition of the jar of pickles in the sewing room, because when quilting threatens to get your briefs in a bunch, there’s nothing like a bread-n-butter chip to make it all better.