My grandmother on my dad’s side, Cherry Valley Grandma as I called her, made quilts. Most of the time her quilts were scrap quilts made with a top, bottom and middle. The tops were generally patchwork and made from old clothing cut into squares. The back was usually an old sheet or any material she could find big enough. The middle of the quilt was simply an old blanket that had often seen better days. Grandma did not use a sewing machine to make her quilts. They were all handmade.
I loved grandma’s quilts and I have used one practically every day of my life. Somehow they seem to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Sadly, I am on my last quilt that grandma made. I keep mending it in the hopes that I can make it last just a bit longer.
I asked Grandma one day if she would teach me to make a quilt. She gave me two quilt squares, a threaded needle, showed me how to knot the thread and then she was quiet. I sat there a minute and then asked her what to do next. She said just go in and out and up and down to sew the pieces together. Taking that little bit of information that she gave me when I was about five years old, I have actually completed one quilt in my life. It is warm and comfortable but I would never show it to anyone because I probably didn’t do everything right.
Grandma didn’t go to the store to buy her material for her quilts. She often went to fill a bag for a dollar sales and stocked up on fabric for quilts that way. (Today those sales are fill a bag for $10.) Of course, we all knew that when we were finished with a piece of clothing it went to grandma for a future quilt. Flat sheets and old blankets were also saved for grandma to be turned into a beloved quilt. Grandma tied the majority of the quilts that she made.
I never really knew that grandma could make “pretty” quilts until my wedding day. My grandma gave me the best present ever that day – a wedding ring quilt! We were young and just starting out so that quilt was used for years are our only blanket before we acquired a store bought comforter set. Oh how I wish I had saved that quilt. Of course if you knew my grandma you would understand that saving it would have hurt her feelings. She made it to be used and loved.
Hmm, I just found an old picture of my “wedding ring” quilt from my grandmother. I suppose there are some that will say it wasn’t a wedding ring quilt after all. It was my grandmother’s version of the wedding ring quilt and every time I looked at it I admired her work. All I can say is that it was one of the nicest things I have ever owned. The fact that it signified my husband and I becoming one and that my grandmother worked hard on it made it priceless.
If any of you receive a quilt as a gift from someone you love dearly, only take it out maybe once a year and admire it and use it to celebrate your anniversary. Save it, preserve it and make it a part of your family history.
To this day I can’t bring myself to call what they have in the store today quilts. They are so thin that they are barely warmer than a sheet. Boy, grandma’s quilts were heavy and gave you a great big hug at night. There was just something that felt safe under one of her quilts. Sigh, I miss her so much. I can say that I would take one of the quilts just like grandma made over 100 from the store.
Grandma’s quilts were sought after in our family. She made one after another and I remember visiting her and she would remove this panel in the wall. Behind the panel is where she stored all of her quilts. She would take them out and put them across the bed, one on top of the other. There were no two alike.
We were at a lady’s garage sale a couple of years ago in Missouri (around Macon or Moberly) and she had quilts just like grandma made hanging up for only $50 each. At the time I had no money. I wish I knew where that was because I haven’t slept without a scrap quilt in 52 years and I hate to start now.
So what did or does your grandma make, do, or love that you remember about her the most? Did you learn to do it too? If she is still living, do you share in this hobby with her?