Hello all. I'm covered in strips and threads, and I'm about to fall asleep, but I want to put words down while it is fresh in my mind.
My grandmother did all sorts of needlecraft: sewing, knitting, crocheting, tatting, etc. She made quilts out of her scraps and gave them all away. I have three that she made for me, and my mom has a double wedding ring that would have been mine if I hadn't waited until I was 32 to get married.
She made the quilt and told me it was my wedding quilt (when I was very single with no prospects). I asked her if I had to get married to claim it, and she just laughed and didn't answer me. I would see the progress as it went together, getting bigger and bigger, then I saw it on the frame my Papaw made that stood against the wall next to the twin bed in her bedroom. The frame got smaller and smaller as she quilted it, then one day the frame was huge again with another quilt on it. I asked where my quilt was and she said, "Don't you worry about that quilt. I put it up." I guess she got tired of waiting for me to get married, so she gave it to my mom when she first started getting Alzheimer's. I thought maybe mom would give it to me when I got married, but no dice.
When Granny passed away, none of the granddaughters wanted her crafting items, so my wife and I took a lot of it. My wife had just started expressing an interest in quilting, so I was hoping that the huge box of scraps would someday turn into a quilt for me.
Tonight after church I told her I wanted to find the box and wash all the fabric so we could start doing something with it. I washed the first load and pulled it out and started ironing. Occasionally I'd get a whiff of Papaw's pipe, even after washing them. As I pulled pieces from the basket, I remembered seeing some of the clothes on my grandmother and her sisters-in-law. Even some of the ones I didn't remember, I could match with one of them just knowing their personalities and styles. The scraps span the decades from (I think) the forties through the eighties, so I also saw some pieces that had been used for clothes for my cousins, my brother, my sister, and me.
Some of them didn't trigger any specific memory, but I would get a feeling of nostalgia that I couldn't explain. In particular, a scrap of dark, rich gold made me think of being in elementary school. I'm sure I never wore the fabric, but maybe my mom did. Maybe it was just such a prevalent color in those days that the color takes me back to where I was when I saw it so often. Another unusual scrap of flannel gave me a similar feeling of nostalgia. I'll have to dig my first quilt out of the cedar chest, but I think possibly some of that flannel is on it. It's done in 6" hexagons and may be a charm quilt. I slept under that quilt every night until I was in high school, and it was starting to get threadbare. I asked Granny for another one, so she asked what I wanted. I went to a fabric store and picked some fabric and she made me a pyramid quilt using those four fabrics. I found some of those scraps in the box as well.
Also in the box was about a dozen blocks of a double wedding ring quilt. I haven't looked closely at "Mom's" quilt lately, but these may be left over from that quilt. My wife was intrigued by the small pieces and the way the fabrics matched across the rings and in the intersections. She doesn't think it's too hard for us, so she wants to finish it. I hope someday we can.
I just decided that I needed to be starching as I press, and it's almost 2:00AM, so I threw the rest of the scraps in the dryer and started washing the second load. It may take me the rest of my life, but I want to do something with these little links to my grandmother that she left me. I'm toying with the idea of making lap quilts for my sister and brother and me. I have a tumbler template and a triangle template; it would be fun to make a charm quilt for all of us using Granny's fabrics.
I know many of you consider quilting to be a connection to past generations, so you understand the feelings I'm having tonight as I step through the past. Thanks for reading my ramblings.