I must be getting old and sentimental. My preference is to dream, plan, and do.
But this post looks back. Quilter’s often share books and magazines, which I pick up to read while I am on the treadmill, in the bath or before bed.
I have no idea where this charming book came from, but it was published in 1949, and closes with this short story as told by a great grandmother from Ohio:
“It took me more than twenty years, nearly twenty-five, I reckon,” she said, “in the evenings after super when the children were all put to bed. My whole life is in that quilt. It scares me sometimes when I look at it. All my joys and all my sorrows are stitched into those little pieces. When I was proud of the boys and when I was downright provoked and angry with them. When the girls annoyed me or when they gave me a warm feeling around my heart. And John too. He was stitched into that quilt and all the thirty years we were married. Sometimes I loved him and sometime I sat there hating him as I pieced the patched together. So they are all in that quilt, my hopes and fears, my joys and sorrows, my loves and hates. I tremble sometimes when I remember what that quilt knows about me.”
It was a nice story. But these days, can anyone relate? It would be unusual to take 25 years to make a quilt – more like 25 in five years. And most of us don’t use old linens, shirts, ties, or patches in our quilts.
Then I started cutting scraps – it’s something I do whenever I have a few extra minutes. I first told you about my scrap saving system in a post January 7, 2016 . Since then, I have added 1″ squares (for zenties) and confetti crumbs (for art quilts). The throw-away pile is getting very, very small.
I have yet to make a scrap quilt so why cut all these scraps? My son says I have OCD. He might be right. It feels right to take odd shaped scraps and cut them into nice little squares. It feels right to think these pieces of fabric will someday become something more than scrap. It feels right to be productive when nothing else fits my schedule.
And there is something meditative about cutting. Then I realize I can relate to the great grandmother from Ohio after all. I have 6 years of quilting memories. Each handful of scraps bring back memories…
- Here is the cat-in-a-hat fabric I used when I made my grandson a quilt for his transition to a big boy bed. He was so small then; so big now.
- There is fabric I used in a 40th anniversary quilt. I picked the fabric with the recipient in mind. Didn’t like it then and still don’t. But these tiny scraps is all I have to remember that quilt.
- These are scraps used in 3 graduation quilts. They were boys and boys never say much. Do they use them? Did they like them?
- I came across fabric from various classes I took, and think about each teacher. I wonder how they are doing. I wonder if they realize the impact they have on their students, and how we appreciate the knowledge they share.
- I come across fabric from the first quilt I entered in a quilt show. I remember the weekend I was home alone and cut out all 2000 pieces. Then, as I put the blocks together they were too small and I had to wait over a year while I took more classes and improved on my 1/4″ seam before getting good enough to finish the quilt.
- I come across scraps of fabric I know I didn’t buy, and try to remember where it came from. Some came from members of my satelite group. Sometimes they give me a piece just ’cause they think I might like it. Sometimes they are closet cleaning and I pick it up.
- I come across scraps from fund raising challenges, and I think about the organizations/individuals who received quilts and pillowcases from our guild.
- I come across scraps that remind me of destinations, of quilt shops I visited, of retreats, and of the friends I made.
So, what are your memories? Do you enjoy playing with scraps as much as I do?
One day I will make a scrap quilt. And that scrap quilt will have many many memories stitched into it. Hopefully, it won’t take 25 years to make.
Next week I promise to show you what I have been working on. It’s a matter of finding time and the space to block a quilt, and then take the pictures that do it justice.
Have a great week! Please don’t be shy about leaving comments. I love to hear your ideas.