I have been staying at my Mom’s the last few days and I decided to finally take some pictures of the quilt her Grandmother made. I took close ups of my favourite fabrics. Pictures are mine… words are my Mom’s.
I have fond memories of my grandmother making quilts like the one in the picture which she made for me in the early ‘60s.
The patches, with the exception of the blue broadcloth ones which were “store bought”, are all reminiscent of clothing made for me, my sisters and brother, cousins, aunts, and everyone else my grandma sewed something special for.
I have memories of visiting her and finding that her living room had been transformed into a quilting salon – the furniture had been pushed back to the walls and an enormous frame took up the centre space.
She and her sisters and friends were seated around this huge frame, sewing and gossiping and thoroughly enjoying one another’s company. Everyone they knew or had known was discussed, dissected, and dissed. They gossiped, conspired, and generally had an all-round great time.
The quilting was sustained by tea and “dainties” (squares, cookies, cakes, etc.) at regular intervals and reminiscences of previous “bees” and departed quilters.
I was absolutely fascinated, particularly because I was the klutz and disappointment of the family. Both of my grandmothers were pioneer women. They cooked and cleaned and baked and sheared sheep and carded wool and sewed all of the family garments from underwear to coats. They made the quilts and sheets and pillows and protected their chesterfields with doilies they had crocheted.
For the lovelier things – tablecloths, pillow cases, wedding dresses – they employed their “fancy stitches” and embroidered and cross-stitched and tatted.
I could not thread a needle nor darn a sock. I couldn’t remember the difference between knit and purl and dropped stitches with alarming frequency. In short, I was a great disappointment to my grandmothers.
My father’s mother, the quilter, was disappointed in me because I always had my nose stuck in a book. I remember her looking at my bookshelves and the library books I had stacked beside my bed and declaring that I would never get married if I read so many books. Thank heavens my mother’s mother was not of the same mind – she had been a teacher and was my major supplier of books!
Later in life I learned a few of the arts my grandmothers practised – I became a fairly good knitter, could decorate my house and clothe my children and myself with my sewing exploits – but that was it and it is now history. My products were acceptable but not outstanding.
I’m so pleased that Katy has taken up quilting and is so proficient. Her grandmothers would be so proud of her. And, the fact that she also reads a lot would not be lost on one of them.