Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Iron rich

I've been attending Emerson UU Church for nearly 20 years, which is a pretty good track record for a Jew. Because I married a Congregationalist, when we had children we looked for a denomination and congregation where we could both feel comfortable. I've been a very active member -- taught Sunday School for nine years, served as chair of the Social Action Committee for three, chaired CROP Walk for six or seven years and counting (evidently I'm the Papa Doc of CROP Walk), and I'm currently on the Board of Trustees. My husband has been in the church maybe a dozen times. Apparently our comfort levels are as variable as a Sleep Number bed.

One of the reasons I love Emerson is that it's home to some of the finest women you could ever imagine. Having lost my mother at an early age, I've spent a lot of my life looking for a substitute mom, and at church I've found plenty.

Among them is a peach direct from Georgia. She's the only person I know whose drawl draws out my son's one-syllable name as if it had 12 instead.

This old gal, as she would refer to herself, was determined to get a tattoo when she turned 70. She wanted a gingko leaf, the symbol of memory. The funny thing is, the last time we talked about it, she couldn't remember what the leaf was called.

One time when we were discussing religion, she told me that her concept of G-d is as a large African-American woman who gives you a slap upside your head then draws you to her ample bosom and says, "You'll do better next time, baby." I kind of love that image.

She occasionally holds court at a Wednesday morning sewing group that meets at church, where she keeps us in stitches with her stories. One time, she declared that what bothered her most about today's young girls is that they don't iron. A multitude of sewing sins can be repaired by ironing, she said.

I like to iron. It's soothing to me, Zen-like. I remember having a little non-electic pink toy iron with a pigtail cord and pint-size ironing board that I would set up next to my mom's old, wooden ironing board, and we'd iron together while watching Concentration. I was in charge of the towels, and I'm sure I did a fine job.

Today, I've been ironing a lot, working on the bed sized Kona and batik quilt I've been commissioned to make. Each time I add a strip, I carefully press it. It's the way quilt-sewing should be done, but sometimes I'm in a hurry and don't iron until a block is completed. I can tell already that the precision will pay off. (Ironically, the future quilt owner actually likes a slightly wonky look, which is almost guaranteed to some extent in a handmade item, but my care will restrain that. She's paying for it, she gets my best work.) I took a few sneak peek pictures that I'll post later.

The support for the quilts for Freedom Place continues to overwhelm me. I believe I have seven sponsors, which should translate to more than seven quilts. I met my longarm quilter today as she was finishing up with her sewing group, and several members said they would help with the quilting. I think G-d -- whatever He or She looks like -- is smiling on this project.

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