Monday, April 30, 2012

First Quilt - Ιθάκη

I made a quilt! Yo! I made a quilt!

Andrew and I skittered into the senior center one day to play the piano when we found ourselves in the midst of a meeting of the Ripinski Rippers, Haine’s very own sewing club.

Becky and Becky were sewing away and let us play the piano... but also, Becky invited me to join them for their upcoming quilting retreat, “Feather Your Nest With Quilts.”

I asked how much the weekend would be and she told me a number. I commented that I’d probably have to pass and that I also didn’t have anything to sew with. She said that if I was truly interested, they could probably come up with a scholarship for me along with everything I needed.


On a walk, she chanced upon me and asked what colours I like. “Er, oranges and maroons and greens and earthy tones and textures and rich colours.” Apparently, my colour choice was not one she’d ever choose for herself but she ran with it.

At the rummage sale, she nabbled a box worth of the perfect, perfect fabric for me. Rich maroon velvets, olive green corduroy (oh my goodness!), and this woven cloth that I’m very, very attracted to.

Friday afternoon I cut out all the pieces.


Saturday I sewed all day and finished the front.

Sunday I put together the front, batting, and backing, and tied and sewed it all together.

All I have left is to sew up the binding by hand, which is going to take one or two movies to get done.

The guys said all the right things when I brought it home. It was almost like having a mom gush over your work.

I embroidered “Ithaca” on one square, that’s the name of my quilt.

I named my quilt Ιθάκη (Ithaca)for Constantine Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis’s poem. I was introduced to Ithaca my senior year of high school by my professor, Mr. Curtis.

Ithaca is an island out in Greece. The poem talks about the journey trying to get to Ithaca and how, really, it's the journey that matters. Relish the journey. Treasure the journey. Don't rush it. In the end, Ithaca might not be altogether swell, but it wasn't about that... oh goodness, I describe it better in person. Here, read the actual poem.

When you set out on your journey to Ithaca,
pray that the road is long,
full of adventure, full of knowledge.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the angry Poseidon -- do not fear them:
You will never find such as these on your path,
if your thoughts remain lofty, if a fine
emotion touches your spirit and your body.
The Lestrygonians and the Cyclops,
the fierce Poseidon you will never encounter,
if you do not carry them within your soul,
if your soul does not set them up before you.

Pray that the road is long.
That the summer mornings are many, when,
with such pleasure, with such joy
you will enter ports seen for the first time;
stop at Phoenician markets,
and purchase fine merchandise,
mother-of-pearl and coral, amber and ebony,
and sensual perfumes of all kinds,
as many sensual perfumes as you can;
visit many Egyptian cities,
to learn and learn from scholars.

Always keep Ithaca in your mind.
To arrive there is your ultimate goal.
But do not hurry the voyage at all.
It is better to let it last for many years;
and to anchor at the island when you are old,
rich with all you have gained on the way,
not expecting that Ithaca will offer you riches.

Ithaca has given you the beautiful voyage.
Without her you would have never set out on the road.
She has nothing more to give you.

And if you find her poor, Ithaca has not deceived you.
Wise as you have become, with so much experience,
you must already have understood what Ithacas mean.

And that’s my quilt, Ithaca.

I love it. Come to Haines, sew a quilt on the second weekend. I think this place just might be good for me.


  1. Hi Maggie, Loved hearing about your quilt, your current life adventures... Sending hugs to you,Colleen Harrison

  2. Well done! I'm so excited for you. I remember making my first quilt very fondly.
    I am particularly enjoying the picture of the two guys modeling it for you. :)


  4. Those are definitely not colors I would have chosen, but they look really good together. I love making quilts, I got a new sewing machine in February, I already have done 6 quilts. lol. I am super glad to hear you are having a blast!

    1. Whoaaa! You're a super quilt-sewer. I'm really impressed. You're such a rad homemaker. I'm not sure anyone would have chosen those colours. The lady who got the fabric for me definitely wasn't a fan until she saw the final product.


Your words make me grin.

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