A Bunch of Square--from Rosie

  • Posted on: 20 March 2020
  • By: readersbooks

I have always been a maker of things. As my mother tells me, when I discovered scissors, tape, and yarn, there was no stopping me ("Do you know how much trouble a toddler can get into with those?") When I was nine, I reverse-engineered the art of draping clothing, using various soft bodied dolls and a plethora of straight pins. I used to listen to A Little Princess on tape from the library, and dress my dolls according to the various plot points. When I was fifteen, I made my first knitted sweaters. When I was sixteen, I made my first lap quilt. I'm a knitter and a spinner and a quilter and an amateur folder of paper. 

So making things has always been a large part of my life, just as much so as reading. And that leads me to a confession: I haven't been reading too much of late. I do some dulsatory rereading of old favorites-reading Elizabeth Peters mysteries during dinner and listening to Little Dorrit while washing the dishes-but I can't seem to settle into reading something new. There are books I've been looking forward to and new finds that are just about to be released. I've got piles of wonderful potential new favorites scattered around the house: stacked several feet high on the coffee table, making rather unstable foot rests by chairs, most of them dog-earred about ten or twenty pages in. There's nothing quite like the guilt of a bookseller who isn't really reading: not only do I feel untrue to myself, but if I don't start up reading again, the holiday season is going to be just that much harder. 

There's not a lot of deep introspective reasons behind this. It's a stressful time in the world. Primaries, pandemic, politics. What with one thing and another, it isn't a wonder that I've got some kind of nervous exhaustion. I'm sure some of you do too.  

At least I still have my making hands. I tried knitting: I have a great sweater project that I'm working on. But knitting has proved too meditative. There's too much time to think while my fingers churn out stitches. So I've pivoted to sewing again. I am most fond of making quilt blocks, just squares that one day will be added together to make a larger whole. I'm not interested in making the whole piece just now. Lately, I've been content with just turning one and a half inch strips of fabric into seven and a half inch squares. A bunch of little seams that make a pile of blocks that is a promise: one day this will be a blanket. I don't have a solution for the economy, or an overtaxed and underfunded health care system, or even much of an idea for how to help keep the store going during dark and hard times. But, by golly, I can make small bits of fabric into larger bits of fabric and eventually, into something that will keep us warm at night.

I'll get back to reading soon enough. After all, sometimes the only way to get back into a groove is to jump in the deep end. But this month, while events are cancelled right and left, when I can't even watch a hockey game to distract myself, when toilet paper is becoming ominously scarce, I think I'll just stick to making a bunch of squares.