Isn’t it funny how you can walk past something a hundred times without ever really giving any thought to it? The other day, I curled up in bed with the sun shining through the window with a book and some hot coffee and began to just kind of zone out… the sunshine is so welcome in these cold winter months. My gaze just kind of rested upon… the blanket upon which I was sitting. I looked at it closer. It was a quilt that has been in one spot all my life – I remember it all throughout childhood – in my grandmother’s house, in her bedroom, folded in the linen closet. I don’t even know how it ended up in my ownership. All I know is that one day it was getting chilly and I pulled out some linens and they ended up on my bed.
When you’re a kid, it doesn’t make that much of a difference if something is hand-stitched or machine-stitched, for example. You’re not interested in hearing the stories of the people who made it, what inspired them, or where the fabric came from, for example. But now, I found myself peering at the stitching, the small pieces of fabric – was that the same pattern as a dress I wore as a young girl? Or that one – it looked like a pillow we’d had in our living room…
I contacted my mom later and asked her, who made these!? I knew that both of my great-grandmothers had textile pieces that had been passed on, but there was something in me that desperately needed to know who. As it turns out, my great-grandmother and her daughter made all the quilts that passed through our household as a child. This one, though, is absolutely epic.
It’s ALL hand-stitched, all of it. It’s enormous. And it’s heavy. I’m not really much of a quilter, but if I recall correctly, this is kind of a wedding-ring pattern? (Correct me if I’m wrong). I wonder how long it must have taken them to make it. Did they sit by the fireplace chattering the night away while putting in stitch after stitch? Oh, there are so many things I would ask the dead. Alas.
Whatever the circumstances, this magnificent quilt has outlived them both, and now is safe here with me. And while I don’t know the details, I do know this was a quilt meant to be an heirloom passed on from one generation to the next. I treasure it, and the connection to the past that links us.