I don’t usually post literary humour, but found “A Note of Apology” too much fun to resist. The photos of crazy quilts interspersed throughout are from a collection at The Adirondack Museum. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!
A Note of Apology
Via: The Wag and the Knave
That I stand accused of rendering your 2011 New England Quilt Competition entry a linguini-like heap of shredded cotton squares and eviscerated wool batting and, further, that it has been strenuously impressed upon me by the Northern Vermont Quilters Association that I offer you a formal apology, this note could not have come as less of a surprise to you had you planned and orchestrated the entire incident yourself. However, I must precursor the requested amends with some clarification for, as the saying goes, it takes two to tango. In short, I believe our problem–that is yours and mine–has progressed along from the very beginning.
I have been a member of this quilting guild for more years than I can remember, while you came aboard only a short while ago when you left Manhattan with your husband and retired here to Northern Vermont. Prescott had decided to push away the plate of commodity futures and heed the call of the trowel as a country squire. That you took to the gentle needle art like it was the Indie 500, cranking out quilt after quilt, swamping the rest of us, was not in and of itself a complete negative. We appreciated your virulent enthusiasm. It was your inability to take constructive criticism that chaffed so. For instance, when I gently pointed out to you your fruit-themed appliqué throw had all the salaciousness of Francis Bacon but none of the genius, you reared your head and flexed your nostrils like a mare whose oats were off. Unprovoked, you shot back, suggesting I knew nothing about art and even less about abstract themes. Shall I now remind you of my ladder of years quilt whose rungs, with an almost Kafkaesque perversity, lead nowhere? Admittedly, it was lost on most viewers, but I ascribe that to both my choice of fabric (a cheerful Swiss dot), and the thematic necessity of looping the quilt like a Möbius strip, rendering its use as a bedspread null and void. At any rate, I managed to quell the urge to trapunto your chin and ascribed your flinty behavior to immaturity. I presumed over time you would come to your senses and learn to take criticism gracefully, so I neatly tucked the whole incident away in my mental scrap bag.
At our monthly meetings, it grew increasingly apparent we would inevitably clash again. Your running for board president after only a six-month membership was unheard of the in the guild’s history. The added fact that you beat me by a landslide contributed to my irritation. I lobbied hard, it’s true, but did not have the financial means to treat the electorate to hundreds of free six-inch cotton squares. (I admit I was a little surprised how quickly members of the guild can be swayed when enough free cotton is dangled in front of them.) Please don’t think I’m accusing you of buying the presidency. You won outright, but it was yet another incident that I was forced to file away.
I believe the final blow was your act as president to bar my pineapple log cabin quilt in favor of your own as the sole entry in the New England competition. You claimed my quilt “lacked sufficient follow-through and exhibited signs of an almost freaky post-menopausal dementia.” Those are not the kind of words one throws around in Northern Vermont, Margery. Yes, executing the quilt entirely in black, hoping to achieve a kind of folksy bleak, was a risky move, but brilliance requires risk. And, as to the collective gasp elicited by our fellow quilters when I unfurled it, what can I say? Failure is only amplified by a lofty attempt. Just ask any balloon artist. Your hostile gesture (laced with palpable envy) in vetoing my entry pushed me over the edge and I confess I completely lost it. So, yes, I suppose Nettie Childes did find me on my hands and knees running my rotary cutter back and forth across your entry “in a vigorous, almost savage manner.” Nettie, though, is given to exaggerated storytelling on par with a crack head. Remember the time she told us aliens had abducted her on her weekend trip to Montreal? They weren’t aliens, Margery; they were a French mime troop. As we say in quilting, her mind is not colorfast. But let me continue. As you and the entire board (which has somehow fallen under your spell) are certain that my intention in destroying your double nine-patch with its alternating pink and blue squares (I’m sorry to say a rather predictable entry which would’ve stalled out in the regionals) was to nix you from national competition rather than a temporary snapping of my heretofore stalwart demeanor, I appear to be the lone voice of reason and, therefore, it is difficult to persuade you (and the pathetically brainwashed board) otherwise. Frankly, during the proceedings, I detected a hint of acid creeping into what could have been an otherwise positive flensing. Old wounds I thought long healed were re-opened. My mind kept drifting to thoughts of the Salem witch trials and burning flesh. Beatrice Loom practically cackled as she sharpened her between needles on her pumice stone, and once or twice I though I saw the lycanthropic flash of her eyeteeth. So, if I must, I’m sorry. There. It is done.
On a more positive note, I’ve moved on to other things. Please forward all mail and messages to the Montpelier Knitting Guild where I’ve taken up some number eights and am happily subduing an obstinate bouclé.
Giggles compliments of The Wag and the Knave