LUCY DIGGS
     When I was four years old my favorite toy was a set of wooden block cubes.  Each block was about one cubic  inch and the sides were: red, white, blue, yellow, and twosides were diagonally divided, so triangles, blue-yellow and red-white.  They nested into a square holder box, also wood.  The design possibilities of this block set were almost infinite and I never tired of them, although sometimes I longed for more:  more blocks, more colors, more shapes.

      Then in kindergarten I met the rows of tempera paint on our easels and discovered the world of mixing colors.  Vast new vistas opened up:  purple, magenta, orange, puce, chartreuse, robin’s egg blue, etc., etc.


      Once I hit first grade I got involved with reading and the games we played back then like jacks and jump rope, walking on stilts and skinning the cat. There was also socializing, playing in forts we built in piles of cut-down trees, and all sorts of regular school things like arithmetic and spelling bees.


      My grandmother taught me to sew and I always sewed.   I loved the feel of the cloth, the needle going in and out, the myriads of colors of the thread at the dry goods store.  I made clothes for my dolls and myself and, later, for my children.


      Over the years I did quite a few things, most notably riding horses, writing books and studying Greek, but I always knew deep down somewhere where we all keep things submerged-but-present that some day I would make quilts.  My grandmother made quilts and those were a deep and poignant part of my life.


      So, when the time was right about twenty years ago, I made my first quilt and have now made more than thirty.  I love the connection with our fore-mothers who “invented” them, and how plain and simple they are at bottom and yet, at the same time, how complicated and complex.


      One of the things I enjoy most about making quilts is dyeing the fabric that goes into them, using the old dyes that were employed  through most of history until the mid-nineteenth century.  These old natural dyes give my quilts a softness and an unusual old-fashioned look.


      However I am also tantalized by the many patterns and prints in the fabrics being made today so sometimes I leap off the natural-dyed palette onto the current fabric one.  


      It’s all fun!