I have been going through stacks of papers in my office--patterns, quilting ideas, things ripped from pages of magazines. I came across this poem by Jean Ray Laury, who lived in Fresno until she passed away in March. I pulled up her bio to refresh my memory. Wow. She definitely attained greatness.
This is from 1978. Definitely has a "modern" feel to it, don't you think?
Among other things, one of her quilts was included in a book titled "America's 100 Best Quilts of the 20th Century." Think about that for a minute. Think about all the quilters...making all those quilts....many thousands to choose from...and to have one of your quilts selected to be in a small group of 100 quilts, spanning 100 years. Amazing.
So anyway, that brings me to the point. I had saved a poem written by Jean Ray Laury, titled "I Knew I Could Do It." And since I have a way of doing a lot of other "stuff" in preparation for quilting, it definitely struck a chord with me.
I know of a quilter who recently said,
"There's a quilt I am planning to make for my bed,
An heirloom, a quilt that comes straight from my heart.
The one little problem is where do I start?"
Needing a picture of how it might look,
She went to the library for a good book.
She scanned through a best-selling novel (well, two),
Then read about redwork and Sunbonnet Sue,
And scrap quilts and albums and those which had stars,
the plain and the simple, like Amish with bars.
"I'd better go check out the cloth at the store,
And their rotary cutters, and patterns galore."
She looked at magentas, at yellows and blues,
At turquoise and crimson and violet hues.
She pulled out the bolts to make sure they'd all blend.
(They'd have reached to Kansas City, if placed end-to-end).
She was struck with a thought, then flew out of the door.
"I can't put this quilt off for one minute more."
Her workroom was packed, not a clear spot in sight.
"The place for my frame is right under this light."
"So I'll toss out my sofa, this desk someone built,
And hold a garage sale so I can quilt."
And then the whole driveway was piled with stuff,
She cried, "Really, I've put it off quite long enough."
But her car needed gas, and an oil change was due,
So she rotated tires and then washed the car too.
The next day she said, "Now my quilt will come first.
Though I need a wee snack and I feel a great thirst."
She got out the cheese and the pickles and bread,
And remembered the garden tomatoes, now red.
Three days were spent canning the veggies in jars.
"Now," she said, "Now, I'll cut diamonds and stars."
"But first, oh I really must write to my sister.
She'll worry if I don't complain that I've missed her."
She drove to the mailbox (and drove really fast)
With a stop at the cleaners (she's going right past).
She borrowed some books, and she went to the store,
Buying rulers and patterns and fabric (and more).
She picked up some needles, selected her thread,
Then came home, exhausted and crawled into bed.
She answered the phone (in between her long naps)
Saying, "Oh. I'm so weary. I'm near to collapse."
"I never had any idea," she said,
"That quilting would force me to take to my bed."
The one thing I crave, and the thing I desire,
Is a quilt for my bed that I make. Or acquire.
I know I'd recover, it's easy to tell,
That if given a quilt I would quickly get well."
A nine-patch arrived from the neighbor next door,
And her club brought one from the Collectibles store.
Her sister, who may have felt tinges of guilt,
Brought her their grandmother's favorite quilt.
"So take my advice," she said, "Here it is, free.
You can always have quilts just by working like me."
She nestled in all of the quilts on her bed.
"Oh. I knew I could do it. I knew it," she said.
Thank you, Jean Ray Laury. What a legacy you have left. And now, without further distractions, I really must go to my sewing room. Happy weekend, everyone!