Monday, July 7, 2008

If These Quilts Could Talk...

I am from a family of Appalachian quilting ladies. My mother, her sisters and their mother (my Granny) hand pieced and made quilts, out of necessity rather than as a hobby. I can sew when (and if) I want to, but I don't quilt nor do I have desire to learn at this time. I admire the beautiful work of others, but hand pieced quilting is just not my thing.

This spring Melissa, our daughter, told me her friend Karen, an experienced quilter, had purchased a new machine for the purpose of machine finishing quilts. I had been responsible for the care of my mom and three aunts and settled their estates. Melissa thought I might have old quilt tops Karen could "practice" on. I looked around and found two. The first, was made with bright green fabric and matches absolutely nothing in our homes. But we thought it would be a good practice piece for Karen. It was made by Aunt Mary, who by the time she pieced it, was in her 70s and losing her eyesight. She had difficulty distinguishing bright colors from more subdued colors, therefore, she chose the bright greens. Karen turned that top into a very nice finished quilt.

The second hand-pieced quilt top is a "Grandmother's Flower Garden" quilt pattern. I’m not sure if I found it in Mom’s or Aunt Mary’s things. It was made from mismatched fabrics and is poorly hand-stitched together. The fabric is obviously very old. Pieces possibly came from feed sacks and worn out old dresses. Could it have been the work of my Granny? Or, because the stitching is not good quality and the fabric within the flowers is mismatched, could it have been a learning piece for Mom or Aunt Mary when they were young?

Again, Karen's patience and hours of stitching turned this old family piece into a lovely work of art.
If only these quilts could talk to me, I have so many questions I would like to ask....

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