A Quilt Story
The snow is gently falling outside; the woodstove burns hot and crackly. Norma Jean jumps up just as the pot of stew bubbles over. Talking and laughter flow in from the other room where friends and mothers have gathered. The have come together to put the finishing stitches into a wedding quilt for Edna’s great granddaughter, Joan. Fabric stores are few and far between and new fabric is hard to find so this special quilt has been made from fabric collected throughout Joan’s life. Good Sunday dresses, that aren’t so good anymore, her first crib sheet and a few of her mother’s dresses creating a quilt that will be used and loved for many years.
50 years have passed and the time has come for Joan to make a special wedding quilt for her own great granddaughter. She works hard to finish the hand quilted masterpiece in time for Judy’s wedding. The quilt has been made in part with newly-purchased fabric, as well as some older clothing bits. After Judy’s wedding Joan is upset to learn that Judy keeps her special wedding quilt in a blanket trunk instead of on the bed where Joan had hoped it would go. Judy tells her great grandmother that the quilt is far too lovely to actually be used and the trunk will help protect it from wear and fading. All the years Judy was alive she never used the wedding quilt her great grandmother lovingly made her.
Judy passed away a number of months ago and her daughter, Kim, has found the old quilt folded neatly in a box. She is saddened by the thought that her mother never used the beautiful quilt. Wanting to place memories of her family near her but not wanting to use her mothers wedding quilt Kim has decided she will take a quilting class to learn the techniques of making a quilt. Many things have changed in the quilting world since the first quilts were made in Kim’s family. She learns how to piece the top together by machine using fabric purchased especially for this project. Instead of gathering with friends to hand stitch the top she sends it away to be professionally machine quilted. When it returns Kim vows that she will use this quilt everyday, knowing it will become more beautiful as it fades and wears with time and love.
Edna, Joan or Kim could have been any of my or your ancestors; I have heard many accounts of similar stories and the quilting that took place.
I have recently acquired my own small piece of history at a local auction for less then the price of a coffee and donut. Five quilts in various stages of wear, some almost warn through while others looking as if they never graced a bed. The only thing that I do know about these new treasures of mine is that a lady named Stella Horner probably made them. Although I will never know if my quilts posses a similar story I will cherish them as an important reminder of the past and an inspiration for the future.
Quilting has changed over the past years from a necessity to an art form. Designs are available now for more then just bed quilts, you can make quilts for your tables, to hang on your wall and decorate many other areas of your home.
Do you have family heirlooms that you cherish, or would you like to create the quilts that inspire future generations?
If you are in the Priceville/ Owen Sound area and would like to learn more about this diverse and fascinating art form Pam Morrison offers quilting classes. For more information visit http://www.buttonholequiltdesign.wordpress.com/summer-quilting-workshops/