Friday, January 15, 2010

The Quest for Gold

(In an effort to bring my blog up to date, I'm posting the following, a version of which was previously posted on the Quiltvillechat group at Yahoo where those of us who are working on Bonnie Hunter's current mystery quilt share our progress.)

Okay, so I made a last minute decision to join in on the Carolina Christmas mystery. True, my sewing room and my cutting table is a bit of a mess right now. True, I haven't pulled any fabric yet. But I have lots of greens and purples and plenty of neutrals. All I have to do is buy two yards of a nice gold.

So yesterday* I headed out to Local Quilt Shop #1. My mom asked to tag along because she needed some fabric for a new valence for her kitchen. She's got a great eye for color, so I always enjoy shopping with her.

Problem #1: "I'm looking for a nice gold," I announce as we enter the shop. I pull out a few bolts of solids." Something like this, only I'd like it to be a print."

"Those aren't gold," she counters. "This is gold." The bolt she's holding up is too pale. And it's not what I think of as gold. It reminds me of boring, upholstered furniture. Or very old kitchen appliances.

"Well," I concede, "maybe 'gold' isn't the best word to describe the color I have in mind."

We wander separately through the store, each on our own fabric quest. I find a couple of possibilities, but nothing that screams, "Buy me! I'm perfect!"

My mom finds a possibility for her valence, but it too is not quite perfect. "But isn't that the special green you use in your kitchen?" I ask.

"No," she replies, "there's a bit too much yellow in it." I don't argue because she has an amazing visual memory for colors. Me, I'd have to bring a swatch. We decide to visit Local Quilt Shop #2.

Here my mom finds a black and white fabric which she thinks will work. She pairs it with some giant rick-rack. I'm still auditioning golds. She watches as I hold a bolt of gold up to a shelf filled with purples. "What do you think?" I ask.

"It doesn't go with those purples," she replies with a shake of her head. "But you could use it with that purple over there." I check, and she is right. That purple is gorgeous with that particular gold.

"But, Mom, I'm going to be using this gold with lots of purples. I'm just trying to get an idea of whether it goes with purple in general."

"But which purples?"

"Well, I'm not buying any of these purples. It's a scrappy quilt. I'm using purples I have at home."

"Then shouldn't you have brought them with you?" (She knows I can't carry colors in my head.)

"I'm just trying to find a gold that looks good with lots of greens and lots of purples."

My mom's brow wrinkles as she tries to visualize this. "Is this supposed to be an ugly quilt?" she asks hesitantly.

"No, it's supposed to be scrappy."

"I think," she says deliberately, "You should choose this fabric by yourself."

And so I did.

I got two yards of Blush Texture Marigold by Benartex.

"What are you going to use this for?" asked the clerk as she unrolled the bolt preparatory to measuring and cutting.

"A scrappy quilt with greens and purples."

"Then this will be perfect for it," she said emphatically. Just salesmanship? Or was it quilters seeing eye to eye, sharing a common vision that escapes those who sew fashion and home dec?

By the way, I was so enamored with my new gold that I bought a fat-quarter stack of some of the other colors in that line. Aren't they rich and luscious?


*"Yesterday" as in the day before I originally wrote this.


Quilter Kathy said...

This is hysterical!
I enjoyed coming along on your shopping trip:)

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Thanks! Glad to have you along.