~9-11 Quilt . . ‘Lightning Strikes’


this is one of my quilt repair projects.
it is airing on the terrace of my former ‘penthouse’ apt,
on the 20th floor of FDR & Grand, Lower East Side NYC, where I used to live from about 1996-2004,
till we got gentrified out.
it’s a really shallow terrace, so I had to really contort myself to get the doomed towers into the photo.
you can see the kind of damage I was repairing, on the left.
it was a real & very old, farm ‘utility’ quilt, meaning it was made quickly, and to be used.
one way you can tell that, is the fact that it was ‘tied’ with blue yarn, in regular intervals across the surface, instead of ‘quilted’ with hand stitching, which is way more laborious.
I bought it, all raggedy . . upstate in a rural junk shop for $10.

of course, the most amazing thing about this quilt & this photo . .
is that, this old frontier quilt pattern is called . .’Lightning Strikes’.
it was used both as a warning & a ‘protection from’ . . barn fires on the prairies / which were apparently way too common & of course, devastating.
you can see the ‘zig zag’ of the fire – easier in this photo.

sometimes, I go really creative in my quilt repairs / this one was ‘just’ getting the old, worn quilt strong again.
and I’m glad I did.
it had so much history to begin with, and apparently it was to live on . .
into this century as well.

I hand-stitched all the ‘piecing’ parts & actually hand-stitched an ‘x’ into every single tiny black dot,
because, due to its age, and the kind of dyes they used back in the 1800s / esp with regard to black,
the black areas were quite worn-out or gone altogether / quilt & textile archivists call that: drop out.
the complete repair – took at least 2 years.

p.s. over the years I’ve learnt, that quilts & art in general – are way more profound, esp as they ‘play out’ against society and the times,
than the contemporary, logical . . human mind can – imagine.

p.s.s. I saw the 2nd plane come in, over that snip of the East River, turn around mid-flight . . and barrel
at full speed – into the second World Trade Center tower. until that happened, on TV they were ‘saying’ it was a ‘helicopter crash’.
after that, with all the media cameras focused on the scene, the attack was quite obvious & could not be denied.

Photos: Nancy Smith