Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Don't What?

Over the years I've been slowly building a nice collection of reference books on quilts and quilting, one I've asked the kids to donate to a public school or place of free learning if they don't want to keep them after I'm gone. My favorites are the books about crazy quilts, because to me they are the elegant renegades of the quilting universe, and probably the most artistic of all quilts.

The needlework involved in crazy quilting is advanced and quite extensive; a master crazy quilter can use hundreds of different stitches on the surface of her quilt and never repeat any of the stitch patterns. I'm not that ambitious, but one of my lifetime quilting goals is to complete a crazy quilt with at least 100 different historic stitch patterns (which at the speed I presently hand stitch will probably take the rest of my life.) So to reward myself for finishing my last manuscript, I invested in a copy of Carole Samples' The Treasury of Crazy Quilt Stitches, which I've heard is the unofficial Bible on the subject.

The book arrived and was so amazing it blew me away; if crazy quilt stitching had a goddess it would be Carole Samples (btw, this is a pattern-show book only, and does not include how-to instructions, so if you're a beginning quilter and/or novice needleworker it's probably not for you.) As I was drooling over the two hundred and twenty-two pages of 1,700+ intricately hand-rendered stitches, something fell out into my lap:

It was about half the size of a bookmark, printed on thin cardboard, and appeared to be a sliver of a photo page, or maybe a piece of a book jacket. I hunted through the book to see if there was a correspondingly-shaped hole somewhere, but no such luck. And the words on it -- Don't Squat with yer -- seemed like something you probably would never find in a quilting book. Quilting calls for lots of things, but squatting? Not unless you drop a needle.

Obviously it was a message from the cosmos. But Don't Squat? Where? Why not? And what wasn't I supposed to squat with? I don't squat anyway. One must have two functioning knees to do so. What I do is hold it and wait for a nice clean handicapped restroom. The cosmos needs to remember who it's messaging.

Finally I couldn't stand it another minute, went online and did a search with the words I had to see if I could find what the words belonged to. Great thing about the internet: I instantly got an answer. I figure the sliver of cardboard must have fallen out of one cutting machine at the printer and dropped into the pages of my quilt book.

I also liked finding the full text, because as it happens it was some pretty timely advice that I needed to hear right now. So, merci, Cosmos.

Have you found any odd things in your new books lately, or received any odd warnings from the cosmos? Let us know in comments.


  1. So quilting books hang out with cowboy books... sounds reasonable to me.

    As for the Cosmos... running into the gym owner at Walmart after I've skipped a few too many days has been happening about once a month. I'm definitely starting to get the hint. If I haven't been to the gym, don't go to Walmart!

  2. Don't squat with yer spurs on! Good advice. Warnings from the cosmos are pretty much coming down to the fact that I need to take better care of my health. I'm listening.

  3. Made me laugh this morning and want to grab some fabric and start quilting! Great reference tool-perhaps you'll inspire me to work on a crazy quilt next instead of a redwork embroidery piece that I design OR maybe combine the 2 when I finish my first manuscript!!

  4. Anonymous7:36 AM

    I found this person on twitter. He owns a used bookstore and scans and posts things he's found in books that come into his store:


    I always look forward to his tweets.

  5. Anonymous8:26 AM

    I have heard the phrase 'don't squat with your spurs on' many times before. How could I not when I worked on a ranch for 15 years?!?! But, I had forgotten about it until you mentioned it today. Hmm, definitely words of wisdom for me right now especially concerning my job.
    On a side note, I am extremely envious of your quilting ambitions. I bought a whole bunch of fat quarters one time on clearance from Wal-mart and held on to them for years. Then I saw an ad on Craigslist which a single stay at home mom posted. She quilts in her spare time. She and her daughter both have cystic-fibrosis and when she is at the hospital, she quilts. I gave all the fat quarters to her, bought extra binding material and fill and she put the whole quilt together for me. And only wanted to charge me $50. I paid $150 because I knew how many hours had gone into it. I still feel I didn't pay enough!

  6. Anonymous8:35 AM

    You wear spurs often? :)
    I just found a book a church I'd been looking for for the past 9 months. I was pretty sure it was ours due to the Penguins of Madagascar bookmark inside. :)

  7. Anonymous10:18 AM

    "Obviously it was a message from the cosmos."


  8. I actually remember that book - well, the first "Don't Squat With Your Spurs On" book anyway. Man, it's been a while since I thought of it... Still good advice, I'm sure.

  9. Funny to find in a new quilt book. I'm guessing you bought it new anyway.

    I love crazy quilts. They're to me, the most personalized be cause each decorative stitch is a statement the quilter has made. "I think this corner needs a spider web, I think this corner needs silver leaves..." I have a whole stack waiting to be stitched.

    I'll have to see if I can find that book at the library, pick up a few new stitches.

    As a side, I've been following forgottenbookmarks for a long time now. Some of the things have been quite poignant, some are hysterical but they're all so interesting.

  10. Hmmmm strange things in a new book? Only thing I could think of was one that repeated about the last 70 pages with no ending. That really bit the big one. On the other hand, I LOVE finding old bookmarks in used books. A 100 year-old poetry book gifted me with several, from a lock of hair to cross-stiched paper bookmark.

  11. Nope, you never want to squat with your spurs on. (take it from someone who knows :-) )

    But my favorite Bender quote is "Never take to sawin' on the branch that's supportin' you, unless you're bein' hung from it."

    As to my recent Message from the "Cosmos", it came a few weeks via a quick trip over a dog toy, followed by an unscheduled flight down the stairs that landed me in the ER with badly broken ankle. Recently, a friend told me that Margret Mitchell finally completed Gone With The Wind, during a similar recovery. Maybe her muse and mine once knew each other. :-)

    Nina, happy Lynn shared her unusual find.

  12. I don't get anything as cool as messages from the cosmos, unless the cosmos is telling me I need to spend less on canned vegetables. I have found coupons in books more than once!


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