Growing up I snuggled under handmade quilts without recognizing what they represented: the labor, the creativity and the history. Neither my mother nor my grandmother was a needlewoman of any kind, so those family quilts had to have been made in the 19th or very early 20th century. My realization of what was involved came when, by a strange coincidence, I came upon two unfinished quilting projects.
One was in a trunk that came from my maternal great-grandmother’s home and the other in a trunk from my paternal grandparent’s home. The first one was a crib quilt with the patchwork top completed. Since I had a young niece, I was inspired to complete the quilt for her. The old part is the center and my additions border it. That was how I learned what quilting meant!! I am happy to say my niece, now just fifty, has the quilts hanging on a rack in her California living room.
The second project was more involved, as what I had found was a pile of squares in the flower basket pattern. Inspired by the work of some unknown ancestor, I was able to create another crib quilt for my other niece using these squares. That quilt is in storage in Tokyo, so no photo available.
I decided when the nieces aged and had a set of twin four poster beds, they needed bigger quilts. In that case, I made album quilts so I could experiment with a variety of patterns. Today one of those quilts resides with my grandniece in Colorado. I was proudest of my mariner’s compass block….a challenge for a beginner.
My last endeavor was the least successful. I decided to make a quilt for myself and as an admirer of the quilts I saw in Maui, I chose to design a Hawaiian–themed quilt. Since my colors are blue and white, I elected to forego the typical greens and reds. That was my mistake. The blue fabric lost its color. I now have what appears to be a gray and white quilt except for the two ends and the backing!!!!
Now I am an admirer of other people’s designs and labor!!!!!