"Quilt Hot Line, how may I help?" "It's my quilter. She's ... she's abusive!" "Calm down, dear. Tell me all about it."
"It's been horrible from the beginning. She started with a log-cabin design, but halfway through piecing me together, she changed her mind. Now I don't know what I am. She doesn't care if the corners of her blocks meet. And her seams – they're not straight!"
"Are you hand-stitched or machine-pieced?" asked the hot-line counselor.
"Machine," sobbed the quilt. "But it doesn't stop there. The colors clash. And the patterns – shooting stars mixed with purple trains and glow-in-the-dark skeletons."
"That does sound like an intriguing combination..."
"There's more," interrupted the quilt. "She tosses me in the trunk of her car, leaving me in the dark for weeks. When she takes me out, I'm in an unfamiliar place being sewn on a strange machine. It's ... it's uncomfortable."
"It sounds like a sewing class," said the counselor. "Are there other quilts? Maybe one you can talk to?"
"Yes. I guess I can do that, but I'm embarrassed to be seen. Her old portable machine can barely handle two layers of fabric and padding – you should see my back side – puckers and tucks everywhere. And then there's the cat hair...."
"My quilter kept me in a plastic bag for a year, pins pinching me, waiting for binding. The bag ripped from being shoved this way and that on her cluttered sewing table. The cat kneads me – and then curls up and takes a nap on my exposed fabric. I have a large patch of black cat hairs. It's hideous."
"Oh, my. Did she finally finish you?"
"Yes. She hand-stitched the binding on, but her stitches are uneven and the thread sticks out in places."
"And have you been displayed?"
The quilt laughed hysterically. "Displayed? Not unless you count being spread out on a dirty floor in front of the fireplace where sparks could have marred me for life. Just to show me to her son. I'm ... I'm a bed quilt for a 7-year-old boy."
"Well, that explains the trains and skeletons," murmured the counselor. "Think of it this way, dear. She made you out of love."
"But I want to hang on a wall and be admired and win ribbons and... and..."
"It takes a special quilt to be useful."
"She'll throw me in the washing machine – probably on hot – and then into the dryer," the quilt said. "I'll get wrinkled and shrink."
"You'll grow soft and comfortable. A lot of quilts hanging on walls would love to get the attention you'll have. Be proud of yourself, dear. Bed quilts like you often get passed from generation to generation. Wall quilts end up in storage when their owners change the décor. You'll be around for a long time."
The quilt said nothing.
"Are you still there, dear?"
"Yes," the quilt said.
"You're fortunate to be surrounded by such love. You'll keep that boy and his children and grandchildren warm for many years."
"I guess you're right. Thank you. Thank you for talking to me. I feel a lot better."
"That's what I'm here for, dear. Call again if you need to talk."