It came to me as I was hanging the quilt on the wall in my studio. I do that after making a quilt. I hang it up and spend some time with it. Looking at it so I can see it with fresh eyes, seeing it in a way I hadn’t been able to while working on it.
Counting Sheep. The words came to me and I knew it was right.
I’d been calling the quilt Sheep and Chamois as a working title. Those words came easy too and I like the way they sound and feel in my mouth when I say them together. Like the beginning of a nursery rhyme.
But they didn’t express what the quilt was really about to me.
When I was making the Sheep Potholders whose scraps I used to begin this quilt, so many people spoke of the colors being soothing. I realized that was why I chose the sheep fabric too. They were soothing to make.
It was the same with the quilt, I just wanted to be immersed in those colors. But the quilt took on a life of its own when I added the Chamois and denim.
They came from Jon’s old shirts and jeans. The clothes he adopted when he first moved to Bedlam Farm and got sheep and donkeys. It was Jon who introduced me to sheep. I never thought of raising sheep or selling their wool until I met Jon.
Counting Sheep speaks to that soothing quality of the colors and the idea of counting sheep to fall asleep. “I can understand,” my friend Emily said to me, “why someone would want to have that quilt on their bed.” She was referring to it as calming and comforting.
But it’s also about how I count my sheep every morning and afternoon when I feed them. And I can’t help thinking of my wether Liam, who died last week. But not in a morbid way, more of a reflection of the balancing rhythms of life on the farm.
“Counting Sheep” is sold.