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Thread: Stroll down memory lane

  1. #1
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    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.

    Darren

  2. #2
    Senior Member bodie358's Avatar
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    What a beautiful post. Thank you.

  3. #3
    Super Member MissTreated's Avatar
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    And she smiles...

  4. #4
    Power Poster Ninnie's Avatar
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    What a great stroll!

  5. #5
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    Beautiful memories. You have some treasures in your hands.

  6. #6
    Moderator tlrnhi's Avatar
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    Wow!
    Such great memories you have!
    I know you will do that fabric proud for Granny!

  7. #7
    Super Member NauDeeGal's Avatar
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    Wow! How exciting to have those treasured memories and be able to put them into a quilt(s), in memory of grandma!

  8. #8
    Super Member Chele's Avatar
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    How lucky you are to have such wonderful memories and mementos. It would be so much fun playing with all that stuff!

  9. #9
    Super Member Darlene's Avatar
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    I know your Grandma would be proud that you cherish her scraps and such.

  10. #10
    Super Member grammyp's Avatar
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    What a great post. What a tribute to your mom to use up her "extra fabric", and what a great story to go with the resulting quilt. Be sure to write down and photograph the whole story and save it with the quilt.

  11. #11
    Super Member Quilter7x's Avatar
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    Darren, what a wonderful story. This is the perfect place to share that kind of story as we can all appreciate it. We cannot wait to see what you are going to make with the fabrics. It's going to be so personally rewarding. :)

  12. #12
    Senior Member pam1966's Avatar
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    This made me smile, and I needed a smile today.

  13. #13
    Super Member Quilt Mom's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing the precious memories. I will be cheering for you and your wife as you work on that wedding ring quilt, and all the other projects you make with that wonderful stash you inherited!

  14. #14
    Power Poster dkabasketlady's Avatar
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    What a great story and the scraps aren't scraps, but pieces of your families lives to cherish. Have fun making a living memory with your "scraps".

  15. #15
    Super Member SherriB's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing a beautiful memory with us. My daughters each have quilts made by their mamaw and great-mamaws and they are such treasures. You and your wife are so very lucky to have a box of treasures to work with.

  16. #16
    Super Member Joan's Avatar
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    What wonderful memories and how lucky there is someone in the family left to appreciate her efforts and experience the enjoyment she felt quilting.

    Best of luck with your projects. (Consider putting notes on the back of them that detail the history of the items for future "relatives".)

  17. #17
    Junior Member K.P.'s Avatar
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    Your grandmother is probably smiling down on you for remembering all these things you mentioned, knowing she had a lot to do with creating your memories...I know you will make her proud with whatever you decide to create.

  18. #18
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Darren, what a wonderful box of memories!!! And a great story too. Maybe someday, my(future) grandchildren will have some of my scraps and fond memories of all different pieces of fabric!

  19. #19
    Super Member Dawn Hendrix's Avatar
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    OO I wish I lived closer I would love to help you with this project and listen to the stories.....

  20. #20
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for the nice comments. I was afraid the long post would turn people off, but I did want to share the thoughts that came to me while I worked.

    I'm looking forward to seeing what we can make with the scraps, and I'm sort of excited that Kimberly wants to continue the DWR quilt. I will post again when I start cutting. Right now I still have a basket and a half of scraps to press. That may take til I'm 50.

    Darren

  21. #21
    Super Member beachlady's Avatar
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    Aren't memories just the greatest? Be sure to show us what you make with your grandmother's fabric.

  22. #22
    Zoe
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    I so enjoyed reading your story with its memories. I posted just a few hours ago on another thread having to do with the way fabric speaks to us. I was helping a dear friend clean out her sewing room by taking boxes of what she called junk to the dump. Most of the boxes were filled with old papers, magazines, etc. My husband was filling the back of his truck with all this stuff when I thought I heard a small voice crying out "help me!" I freaked out when I realized this voice seemed to be coming from the box I was holding. I went through the papers and magazines on the top to discover over 300 hand sewn quilt squares hidden beneath. Sunbonnet Sue was the topmost square and it was she who was calling out to me. As I sorted through these treasures, I found many Sunbonnet Sues, many butterfly squares, some Amish Dahlias, some Crazy Quilt squares and others. I think the butterflies were trying to fly away from their entrapment in this box. When I asked my friend (now in her 80's) if she had forgotten about these squares, she said that she had indeed forgotten. Here is the part that made me weep; all these squares were hand sewn by her own late mother who lived to be 95! They would have been thrown away if I had not heard that small wee voice.

    My friend wanted me to have these treasures, knowing how much I love these sort of things, but I could not do that. I did take enough Sunbonnet Sues and Butterflies to make my quilt, but the rest I gave to those women who had known both my friend and her mother.

    Thank you for helping me to remember such poignant stories. :D

  23. #23
    Super Member nursie76's Avatar
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    Thank you for sharing.

  24. #24
    Super Member wvdek's Avatar
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    Thank you for taking us along on your stroll. It is a blessing to have such wonderful memories.

  25. #25
    Super Member Elisabrat's Avatar
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    Darren, Thank you for sharing your story. Its beautiful. Also it helps everyone else go down that same memory lane. I think your quilt Pieces of the Past is going to be lovely and more valuable to you than winning a lotto. You just can't buy memories or love. Now you can work with a whole pile of "love'.. a treasure to be sure. Makes me wish I had not been so pragmatic in distributing to charity all my families items. I am a get rid of it if you don't use it type person but when I read your post I think.. if only I had.. so I will create this type of memory for my own children and maybe they will experience this sense of wonder and thoughtful retrospect like you are right now. See, your gift is a gift too..

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