A Fraction of an Inch

IMG_0351It’s all about a fraction of an inch.

I don’t know what it’s called. Spatial something or other. The bottom line is that I seem to have an internal gauge or yardstick that can see the placement of items and whether they are aligned with everything else and are straight. Really straight. A fraction of an inch off and I fix it.  Immediately.

It’s a gift and a curse. 

I’m really good at hanging paintings without levels, pencils and the like. I can eyeball a wall, and, yep, that’s exactly where it goes. Usually, not always, one little nail hole and the painting is perfectly hung.  Or, it’s off by an eighth of an inch and I begin again.

At times I actually can help family and friends.  I recall my daughter calling, crying.  Newly married, beginning grad school, and in a new apartment, she was near hysterical.  Her husband and his buddies had spent the afternoon arranging, rearranging, then moving yet again the living room furniture and it still wasn’t perfect.  It didn’t flow and, if the energy doesn’t flow, my daughter would be unnerved and unable to study. They would have to move.

She is, after all, a bit like her mother.

Mom, help.

She rattled off the location of walls, windows, doors and views. 

I said Give me a few minutes and I’ll call back.

I did and twenty minutes later, she called again, relieved.  It worked. The living room was perfect and they did not have to find another apartment. Her husband and his buddies were relieved as well.

I know one other person with the same eye; when I was moving into yet another home, my friend arrived to see how things were going.  The movers had just moved my very heavy bed into the bedroom and called me to see if it was placed correctly.

Alas, they know me too well.

Two and a quarter inches to the left, we said in unison. It didn’t matter that the room is twenty feet long; the bed needed to be moved two and a quarter inches. To the left.

And, then, it was perfect. And I knew I wasn’t the only one in this world with the cursed spatial gift.

So, now, I am attempting to quilt and my mind’s eye sees exactly where the seam should be, how the pattern should unfold. Fabric, however, is more difficult than paintings or furniture. Or teenagers.  It moves; it dances and I, the novice, have not yet learned how to manage it, other than cursing.

And, that doesn’t seem to help very much.

I picked up a second pattern for a “scrappy” quilt, queen size no less. The woman who had designed the scrappy pattern said, of course, you can do it; it’s not that hard.

Being new at this, I was without scraps, which meant I had to purchase sufficient material — yards and yards — from which to make the scrappy squares. I also got so enthusiastic that I cut 288 pieces of 2 1/2 inch by 4 1/2 inch blocks before realizing I had not washed, dried or ironed the fabric.


Of course, after washing and drying, the blocks shrunk ever so slightly, which probably wouldn’t have been a problem, but, given “the eye” and being a novice, I went back and purchased yet more yardage of a slightly different shade, which I didn’t like nearly as much as it didn’t dance that well with the 72 scrappy squares, each with 16 squares of different fabrics.

I started working on the alternate squares.  One square scrappy, followed by alternate square of cream material with an “X” of small black squares.

Easy Peasy, the designer said.

Sure.  One little black square was a smidgen too large; another a bit crooked.  I tore out more seams than I sewed.


I finally called it quits, wondering what to do with the 72 already completed squares of scrappy material.

ah ha!  I now had scraps; 288 rectangles in a rich cream tone; 288 slightly larger rectangles in a lighter cream tone.  It’d work, dammit.

I am now somewhat happily putting together 72 more squares (actually 62; ten are finished) of alternating squares; all the squares seem to be co-existing together and a new quilt top will someday be completed.

I think.





6 thoughts on “A Fraction of an Inch

  1. Some Hopi saying or another; Perfection is a gift from the gods. Line ’em up!
    There is a corollary about imperfection being a reminder from the gods, but you are waay beyond that.

    Liked by 1 person

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