I remember when I was a little girl watching my grandmother make quilts. She had a sewing machine but I I don’t think I ever saw her use it. She liked to embroider and/or appliqué each block and then stitch each block together by hand. When she had pieced together several tops, she would move the table out of the dining room and set up her quilt stand.>>
I have no idea how many quilts she made in her lifetime but I do know it was a lot. Quilts for her children, quilts for her grandchildren, quilts for her great-grandchildren, and quilts for every other member of her family. She did give some away to friends but most of them went to someone in our family.>>
Her primary source of material for her quilts was her grandchildren's old clothes, some that had gone through several kids before they made it to her quilting bag. In return for those old clothes, she gave each of us a quilt when we were old enough to sleep in our own bed and she also gave us one when we graduated from high school. I still have both of mine, the first a Dutch Girl pattern, and the second a beautiful, intricate Honeycomb, done in my two favorite colors, yellow and green. I took that one to college with me and spread it on the bed in my dorm room. It was a little touch of home and quite a lot of comfort when I was homesick.>>
She taught me how to embroider when I was little and I wish she had taught me how to quilt too. That was more my fault than hers, she would’ve been happy to teach me but you know how young girls are. Still, when I was grown up and married, after she had passed away, I finally learned how to quilt by taking a class at the Air Force Base where my husband was stationed. What I didn’t learn from the class, I learned by reading books and experimenting.
Of the quilts I’ve made, my favorite one was a simple patchwork I made for my father-in-law after he had a stroke last November. It was made of shades of dark blue, burgundy, and cream flannel squares and I did most of it by sewing machine because I wanted to get it finished by the time he got out of the hospital and moved into the rehab/therapy center. I made it, barely, and every second spent on it was well worth it when I gave it to him. He couldn’t speak yet, had just gotten to the point where he could sit up by himself, but the joy on his face was plain to see. He kept that quilt with him, even after he had another stroke and had to go back to the hospital. Then when the doctors told us there wasn’t anything more they could do for him, the quilt went with him to the hospice. And it was on his bed when he passed away.>>
It was such a small thing to do, making that quilt, but I’m so thankful I took the time to do it. And I hope that it, like the quilt my grandmother made and I took to college with me, gave him at least a little bit of comfort and maybe a little feeling of being home again.>>