My mom's mom was my best friend. She had so many admirable qualities and I just adored her. She passed away almost six years ago and I miss her terribly.
My grandmother was an amazing - I mean AMAZING - seamstress! She sewed her daughters' wedding dresses and all their brides maids' dresses. She sewed her own wardrobe as well as for her two daughters. She sewed for all of us grandkids.
She quilted this amazing patchwork jacket for me when I was little. I look at it now (pictured on my own daughter) and am simply amazed. If you notice, the fabrics are symmetrical on each side of the jacket front. The arms match as well. That jacket astounds me!
My grandmother used to quilt. She mostly did panels, whole cloth quilts or simple patchwork. I think she made a wedding ring quilt for my cousin but I really don't remember seeing her do a lot of piece work.
For Christmas, my mom handed me a gift bag. Inside was a box of tissues. My 4 year old daughter thought this was a great gift. I knew it meant something big was coming. My mom slide a big present over to me. I opened it and it was one of those Sterlite containers with shelves. Okay. Um. What's up, Mom??
Each drawer contained a million treasures....
The top drawer contained blocks for a sampler quilt my grandmother started. Each block had a little piece of paper attached with the name of the pattern. Most were sashed and sewn into rows. I was speechless. My grandmother *never* did piecework like this!
The second drawer contained all of the quilting templates she used. She hand quilted on a huge rack. She would lay out the cardstock templates and trace them on the fabric and start hand stitching. For as long as I can remember, my grandmother's knuckles were bent at right angles from arthritis. It still amazes me that she hand quilted.
The next drawer contained lots of envelopes. Each envelope was labeled with the name of a block pattern. In each envelope was all of the paper templates for that block. Each template piece was labeled with the name of the block and was given a number so you'd know that they were all accounted for and none were lost. There were even plexiglass templates she had my grandfather cut for her.
The bottom drawer was filled with quilting books and magazines from the early 90's. This alone was a huge treasure. But it gets better..... each magazine was marked. She put check marks next to the blocks she wanted for her sampler and wrote "done" when they were complete. She made notes in the margins just like she used to do with her cookbooks... any modifications or thoughts about the recipe would be noted.
It was an absolutely amazing gift to receive. Seeing my grandmother's distinctive handwriting was enough to bring tears to my eyes. But seeing how she planned out this sampler and worked on it left me without words.
Right now, the sampler looks like it would fit a twin bed. I plan to go through the magazines and find the blocks she hadn't made yet and add to the quilt to make it queen size. I also want to have someone embroidery the names of each block onto the blocks. I'll never remember the names and I want to make sure the next person who receives the quilt has that knowledge as well.
It's taken me a while to write about this. Every time I try to write about it, I am overwhelmed by the gift. I love my Grandma and miss her every day. I'm a boo-hooing, runny nose mess now that I've written it all out.
My patchwork jacket on my daughter
The sampler quilt
Paul & Mary Mitchell, my grandparents, with my son Mitchell