Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"Such Flags"

I just took a break and picked up Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood again, and although quilt blocks have been mentioned previously in the novel, I chanced to begin a section on quilts:

Mary said that a girl did not consider herself ready for marriage here until she had three such quilts, made by her own hands; and the fanciest ones were the marriage quilts, such as the Tree of Paradise and the Flower Basket. Others, such as the Wild Goose Chase and the Pandora's Box, had a good many pieces, and took skill; and those such as the Log Cabin and the Nine Patch were for everyday, and were much faster to make.


The winter quilts were of deeper colours than the summer ones, with reds and oranges and blues and purples; and some of them had silks and velvets and brocade pieces in them. Over the years in prison, when I have been by myself, as I am a good deal of the time, I have closed my eyes and turned my head towards the sun, and I have seen a red and an orange that were like the brightness of those quilts; and when we'd hung a half-dozen of them on the line, all in a row, I thought that they looked like flags, hung out by an army as it goes to war.

And since that time I have thought, why is it that women have chosen to sew such flags, and then to lay them on the tops of beds?

I finished Tender at the Bone yesterday and reviewed it on my book blog in November Reading. Next will be Comfort Me with Apples...


  1. Interesting, my sister just made me a flag. LOL Well, to be honest, this is the fourth quilt of hers that I have. The 9-patch on my sofa gets the most use and I dearly love it...ironically, it was intended for our other sister who turned her nose up at the simple pattern. Go figure.

  2. I love 9 patch quilts...they are some of the most "homely" in the oldest and most positive sense of the word.

    I'd love to see a picture of the flag she made you!


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