Sunday, June 16, 2013

quilting roots - tied

when i was young, there were two quilts in my house. the first was a queen-sized, deep wine colored, whole-cloth, tied, satin affair my mother had inherited from her maternal grandmother, my grandma g.g., as we called her. it was luxurious, thick, and heavy. mom told how several of her cousins coveted this quilt but she was the fortunate one grandma gg gave it to. once i tried to make a tent out of it. when it kept slipping off the beds i was trying to drape it between, i resorted to holding it up with straight pins commandeered from mother's sewing supplies. a lot of trouble followed when mother found her precious quilt full of straight pins, many of which had worked their way through the top and into the batting. sorry, mom! i really didn't know that would happen.

in this photo, you can see bits of grandma gg's quilt in the upper left corner and wrapped around me. (i have no idea why it looks chocolate colored rather than like wine here.) it's the only peek of it i could find in any photos. i wish it were a nice picture of the quilt smartly laid out on a bed rather than a chaotic mess of high school freshman me, my cat, and my baby brother sleeping in a pile on my bed in a messy teenage room, but it's all i've got. i was surprised to find this much. still, you can see the satin sheen and the little white spots where it's tied.

the other quilt was a deep dusty pink, whole-cloth quilt, decoratively quilted. i don't know where it came from but i don't remember it not being around, even before it became my own blanket. it was my personal blanket for a few years then it got passed on to my younger seester, marcee, and it remains hers to this day. i think i cast it off when i got a new pink cotton blanket with satin binding, which i liked to stroke while i sucked my thumb (much farther into childhood than was appropriate). marcee discovered it in a closet and made it her own. now her children snuggle in it. sometimes i think to myself, "wow. i probably should have held on to that blanket." but marcee and her kids love it so much i really have no regrets. i also have zero photos from childhood with even a corner of this quilt showing.

neither of these "quilts" was patchwork, but they are the first quilts i met or had any emotional connection to in childhood. while neither of these quilts inspired a love of patchwork in me, they both contributed to my understanding of how a blanket or quilt can give comfort, become a treasured personal item, and link generations as it gets cared for and passed on.

mom helped me make two other tied, whole-cloth quilts: one when i was twelve and one when i was in college. 

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