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University of Missouri

Downright Scrappy

Much like quilt patterns, readers’ opinions can get downright scrappy.

crazy quilt top pattern

A decade after editor Karen Worley’s mother died, she came across a sack of her mother’s fabric scraps. With the random fabrics, Worley is trying her hand at making a quilt in a Crazy Quilt pattern. Photo by Rob Hill.

An expert at one of my favorite Columbia quilt shops told me my quilt-top designs tended to be scrappy.

She wasn’t being critical, just factual. As I thought about it, she was right. Influenced by my environmentally minded sons and Depression-era parents, I enjoy taking scraps of cotton and — with consideration of colors, fabric patterns and shapes — making them into something useful, typically a quilt. As Aristotle said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

In this issue, MIZZOU illustrates the quilting tradition of the Cornett family from northern Missouri. I can relate to their taking old clothes or leftover fabric and fashioning them into bed covers to keep family members warm in drafty farmhouses on a cold winter’s night. Nine-Patch and Bow Tie were familiar patterns from my youth, as neighbors came over to help my mother quilt the top, cotton batting and backing layers together. Too young to help, I played under the quilt stand, listening to gossip I didn’t yet understand.

In some ways, MIZZOU’s Inbox of readers’ comments is a bit like those quilts. Readers’ opinions vary. When taken as a whole, the contents reflect the diverse views of our alumni. I enjoy reading those views because the world would be pretty dull if we all thought alike. Sometimes, though, the opinions hitting the mizzou@missouri.edu inbox are downright scrappy. Although one of the magazine’s strengths is a lively letters section, it’s important to keep comments civil and respectful. I regularly find myself asking readers to tone down the verbiage. And personal attacks, for certain, are unwarranted.

Keep your opinions coming. A university is built on ideas. They make us stronger.