Quilt Tales

Coming Back to the World


On Feb. 3 and 4, Las Colcheras Quilt Guild of Las Cruces held its first show in three years. Our theme was Spring Fling, to create a sense of new life, joy, and new beginnings. Those of us who worked on assembling this magnificent event were on the show floor the day before, attending to last minute details and chatting with vendors. One such was Gail Tate, a woodworker who had made her way down from Albuquerque to offer her beautiful quilting tools to show goers. I stopped to chat, attracted by the exquisite designs and colors. 

As we chatted about how wonderful it was to be able to have a quilt show again, Gail shared the eeriness of the Covid impact on the school where she teaches. They were on break that week of March 8 of 2020 when the first shutdowns began. Gail recalls that they didn’t think much of it because after all, they were on break and weren’t scheduled to return until the following week.  When the following week came, administrators put out the word that they would be out for a few more days.

Days turned into weeks and then months. Teachers scrambled to figure out how to teach without classrooms, without handouts, without resources. Gail does physical therapy and so for her, it was even more of a challenge.

But Gail recalls that the most startling events occurred when, after months, teachers were finally allowed back into the school buildings. Behind windows in silent halls, lesson plans from the week of March 2, plans for the upcoming week of March 9, lined whiteboards like silent reminders in an post-apocalyptic movie. Handouts and attendance rosters filled desks that faced empty seats.

We shook ourselves to release the memories and the shared experiences of the phantasmagorical Covid hiatus and instead turned to the richness and beauty of the quilt show, to the joy we felt in being there, to the sheer relief of being together again.

Gail Tate is the owner of Wooden It Be Nice in Albuquerque. She makes all her beautiful tools start to finish, turning the wood, and painstakingly painting and lacquering them. I purchased the magnificent fuchsia pink seam ripper with a stiletto on the other end. Both tools tuck neatly into the shell for safe transport.