My “How To Keep Your Husband” Quilt, For Sale

“How To Keep Your Husband” for sale in my Etsy Shop. 75″x84″ $500 + $20 shipping.

I’ve written so much about my How To Keep Your Husband quilt as I was making it, that I’m not sure I have much else to say about it.

Although I do feel like I’m in such good company with the women who owned the hankie that inspired the quilt, the women who made and kept the linens and hankies I used in the quilt and the quotes of the women whose words are on it.

I do like what Jon wrote about it on his blog yesterday including this paragraph which gives words to the quilt that I didn’t have…..

It is so ambitious, it has such a wide range. It speaks to her own evolution as a woman and an artist and feminist, and it speaks to the long, seemingly eternal struggle of women for the right to live their lives as they wish, not as men wish for them.”

It’s an important piece for me and it does speak from my heart and my anger, hopefully in a “just” and “beautiful” way as Marge Piercy would say.

A few people suggested that the quilt is so personal I should keep it for myself.  But I believe, as the feminists artists of the  1970’s did, that the personal is political.  And I alway hope that my art will go out into the world and live its life in the company of the someone who connects to it as I do and finds meaning in it through their own life experience.

Also, making and selling my art is how I make a living.   I need to sell my work if I’m going to keep creating.

My “How To Keep Your Husband” Quilt is 75″x84″ and is $500 + $20 shipping.

You can buy it in my Etsy Shop by clicking here, or you can email me here at [email protected].

And you can read all about the quilt from the first cut and stitch  here.

detail with quote from Marge Pierce
detail with lyrics from Lizzo
detail with quote from Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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Surprised By My “How To Keep Your Husband” Quilt

Sometimes  I get so close to a piece I’m working on I can’t see it clearly.  Then, suddenly, I step back and see it as if for the first time.

That’s what happened this morning after I sewed the last panel onto my “How To Keep Your Husband” quilt and hung it on my wall.

I was a bit stunned by it.  It has a strength and presence that I wasn’t aware of as I was working on it.

At times, it seemed almost insubstantial, pale in its makeup.  Yet it’s really quite impressive, quietly demanding. Luring, even me, in to take a closer look.

She’s not what she seems at first glance.

I keep thinking that my Bellydancing has something to do with it, that awakened power within me that came with the dance.  I don’t know that this quilt would have felt the same without it.

Hound Dogs and My “How To Keep Your Husband” Quilt

My How To Keep Your Husband Quilt, still in the works…

I did not get to work on my quilt first thing this morning as I planned.

Instead Jon and I spent the morning trying to find where two hound dogs, that ended up in our yard, lived. They were a bit wild, but sweet dogs and I got them secured in the dog run outside my studio before they could go after the chickens or other animals.

They tore through my hostas and looked like they’d jump the fence any moment. It took many phone calls and visits to neighbors houses to find out where they lived.  Luckily one of the dogs had a rabies tag and Lisa at the Cambridge Valley Vets was able to track down the dogs owners.

I dragged a crate out of my studio for the smaller dog and got Frieda’s old crate out of the barn for the bigger one.   They howled and barked till their owners got here.

Jon left for his interview in Albany just after the dogs got picked up and I set up chairs, under the apple tree, for the visit from some of the people from The Mansion.

I didn’t get into my studio till 2 o’clock.

Still I got a lot done on the quilt.  It’s 9:30 now and I’d love to at least finish sewing the strip onto the right side.  But as you can see from the picture, there’s a piece or two missing.  I don’t know if I’ll be able to find it tonight, I might have to wait for the morning, but I’m going back to work now to  see what happens.


“To Be Ourselves” From My “How To Keep Your Husband” Quilt

From Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I walked into the brightly lit  room filled with the comforting smells of plaster and steel,  paper, wire and wood.

The first thing I saw, all the way on the other side of the room,  was the larger than life, pink, strapless, paper mâché party dress, then the woman, holding the wire it dangled from.

It was the dichotomy of the two that caught my attention.  She had straight black hair, a severe pale face, black jeans, black shoes and a black leather jacket.

It was girl crush at first sight, I wanted to be her friend.

That was thirty years ago and we did become good friends for a long time. The friendship ended when I changed, when I began to become who I really am.

But this was how I always made friends.

I would see someone, want to be their friend and mold myself into who I thought they wanted me to be.  I did the same thing with my ex-husband. He never knew who I really was.  But then I didn’t either.  Because this is how I survived growing up, trying to fit in with my family.

It was about 10 years ago,  when I first started to come to awareness about myself and had the epiphany, that instead of becoming who I thought people wanted me to be so they would like me,   I would just be who I really am and let the people who like that person become my friends.

I’m still discovering who I really am.

I found another unknown part of my self through Bellydanicng this past weekend. I don’t know if finding my true self will ever end.  I hid for a long time and some of the layers are thick and tough to get through.  But it does seem to be happening little by little.

For this panel of my How To Keep Your Husband quilt, I found the passage by Clarissa Pinkola Estes first and matched it up to a saying from the hankie that suited it best.

The one I used, “If he likes music you must like it too,”  wasn’t one that jumped out at me like the first two did.  But it’s true meaning hit home when I paired it up with the quote.

From the 1950’s “How To Keep Your Husband” Hankie

Knowing who we are and being honest about it, is essential to any good relationship.

Which, of course, is just the opposite of what the How To Keep Your Husband hankie is recommending.

I’ve decided that the three panels I’ve made so far will work well together in the quilt and not to add anymore.  So now I’ll start piecing them and more of the linens I have together to create the quilt.

The three panels I’ll be using to make my quilt.

“We Always Get Extra Fries”, From My How To Keep Your Husband, Quilt

From Lizzo’s song Soulmate.

The nightly phone call from my father, who was at work, to my mother always ended the same.  “Yes”, my mother would say, “I did my sit-ups, I love you too.”.

In my mind my mother  always sounded exasperated by nightly question, but  maybe that’s just how I felt about it.  Even thought I had contempt for my father checking up on my mother, the idea of a woman looking a certain way for her husband stuck.

That’s why I chose the “Watch your weight” advice from the How To Keep Your Husband hankie for my quilt, because it goes deep with me and I know it does with a lot of other women too.

It’s also one of the reasons I love Lizzo’s song Soulmate, where she says:

“They used to say to get a man, you had to know how to look
They used to say to keep a man, you had to know how to cook
But I’m solo in Soho, sippin’ Soju in Malibu
It’s a me, myself kinda attitude

‘Cause I’m my own soulmate…”

Lizzo, who is 31 years old, is obviously familiar with the 1950’s dynamic represented in the “How To Keep Your Husband” hankie.  And she speaks to it with words and an attitude that makes me want to sing and dance along with her.

The piece from the “How To Keep Your Husband” hankie.


“A Good Anger” From My ” How To Keep Your Husband” Quilt

Remember the hankie I wrote about  on my blog called “How To Keep Your Husband”…


The “How to Keep Your Husband” hankie from the 1950’s

Well, I got another one in a package from Barbara.  I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with this hankie since I got the first one, from Susan,  three or four years ago.

My Emily Dickinson, Secrets quilt was the stepping stone.

I was thinking of making another quilt using the linens I didn’t use in that quilt.  Different ideas were swimming though my mind for a while and then an image came to me.

I saw in my mind, one of the small rectangles from the hankie, lost in the grandeur of a vintage hand embroidered linen,  surrounded by words countering in the Do’s and Don’ts on the hankie.

I had to start with the one that read “Don’t ever get mad” because it was the one that got me the most angry.   And I knew the perfect words to surround it with.  They’re from Marge Piercy’s poem, A Just Anger.

So I cut out the small rectangle and sewed it to a linen table runner then stitched the words around it.

Carolyn Heilbrun wrote ” And, above all other prohibitions, what has been forbidden to women is anger…”   If we need  further proof, we can see it written in this souvenir hankie from the 1950’s.  But for me and so many women, we know this all too well from our own experience.

The last few lines in Piercy’s poem are:

“A good anger swallowed
clots the blood
to slime.”

We know this too, how suppressed anger can lead to depression.

I’ll be cutting out more of the Do’s and Don’ts from this hankie and overpowering them with quotes from other women, making them as small as they really are.   Then I’ll stitch them into a quilt.

I have a feeling “Watch your weight” will be  the next one.

A Just Anger   By Marge Piercy

Anger shines through me.
Anger shines through me.
I am a burning bush.
My rage is a cloud of flame.
My rage is a cloud of flame
in which I walk
seeking justice
like a precipice.
How the streets
of the iron city
flicker, flicker,
and the dirty air
Anger storms
between me and things,
A good anger acted upon
is beautiful as lightning
and swift with power.
A good anger swallowed,
a good anger swallowed
clots the blood
to slime.

“Secret Garden”, The Second Quilt For Linda

Secret Garden

“What is your name?” I asked the quilt I made for Linda, as I tied the knots on the back of it.

But the silence was too much so I pulled up Selected Shorts on my iPhone and listened to two stories by Willa Cather.  The second story “A Wagner Matinee” was about a man whose Aunt comes to visit him after leaving Boston where she was a musician, to homestead with her husband in the midwest.

She is very old when she comes back to Boston to visit her nephew and he brings her to a Wagner concert, where she gets to hear music, other than a church chorus, for the first time since she was young.

“Soon after the tenor began the “Prize Song,” I heard a quick drawn breath and turned to my aunt. Her eyes were closed, but the tears were glistening on her cheeks, and I think, in a moment more, they were in my eyes as well. It never really died, then– the soul that can suffer so excruciatingly and so interminably; it withers to the outward eye only; like that strange moss which can lie on a dusty shelf half a century and yet, if placed in water, grows green again.”  From “A Wagner Matinee” by Willa Cather

Me tacking Secret Garden

I thought of my own life when I heard this passage about how the withering soul can be replenished by the nourishing  sustenance.  How my own soul hadn’t died, from neglect, it just became very small until I found Jon and he helped open me up to my creative self.

He was the water to my half century dusty moss.

The name for the quilt didn’t come till I hung it on the line to take a picture.  Outside in the back yard, I could get much more distance (literally) from the quilt than in my studio. And when I stood back and looked, really saw the quilt, the name popped into my head.

Secret Garden.

In the quilt I see a formal walled garden. A secret garden,like in the book by Frances Hodgson Burnett. But also the garden inside of ourselves that needs to be nourished.  The part that for some of us is so precious, we keep it hidden out of fear that if we let the world see it, it might be destroyed.

The garden in my quilt is formal and walled, but it also ripples out.  “A series of doors within doors hovering in an in-between space, beckoning to come and explore” as Lori wrote in a message to me.

It took me years to learn that my soul might survive if I kept it  hidden, but it couldn’t thrive.

The brown flowered fabric that I sewed around the edge of the quilt finished it off perfectly.
The back of Secret Garden

Our Latest Podcast: Miss Fate Is A Therapy Dog, Maria’s Remarkable Quilt About Women’s Lives

Fate and Georgianna at The Mansion

“Lets do a podcast,” Jon said excitedly,  “we’ll talk about your “How To Keep Your Husband” quilt and Fate at The Mansion”

We just finished dinner and I could use the break before getting back to tacking my quilt.  So we did.  And we talked about those two things.

You can listen to it here

I’m loving doing the podcasts and some topics really lend themselves to a conversation between me and Jon as these two do.  I hope you enjoy listening to them as much as we enjoy making them.

And if you do like them, you can leave  a review on iTunes,  that helps spread the word that our podcasts are out there.  And, as always, thanks for listening.

You can listen to any Katz and Wulf on Bedlam Farm Podcast anytime by clicking on the podcast buttons on the top and bottom of my blog.

Piecing Together “How To Keep Your Husband”

It’s not the best photo because it dark out, so the lighting isn’t great, but I’m excited about how my “How To Keep Your Husband” quilt is coming out so far.

I used a big embroidery of a lotus flower in what will be the middle of the quilt.  Symbolic in that it’s a beautiful flower that roots in the muddiest of water.

I still have work to do on the quilt.  I’m using vintage linens, hankies and pillowcases.

I’ll get  better photos of some of the detail in the daytime and hope to finish piecing it together on Monday.

“How To Keep A Marriage”, Listen To Our Latest Podcast


Photo by Jon Katz

Jon and I just made another podcast called  “How to Keep A Marriage” you can listen to it here.  

The title is a play on the “How To Keep Your Husband” hankie from the 1950’s and the quilt I’m making about it.   I’ve also had more revelations about my own femininity since Bellydancing last weekend which we talked about as well as what Jon thinks about his own femininity.

And as usual, there’s a Farm Update.

You can listen to any of our Katz and Wulf on Bedlam Farm podcasts at anytime by clicking here or on the Podcast buttons on the top and bottom of my blog.


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