In May of last year on a visit to Texas, my sister asked me to take some quilt blocks she had mom had pieced and given to her. She wants me to make them into a quilt for her. Finally, I have nothing else pressing, so I got them out and made a small baby size quilt from blocks of one design, and finished two rows of another top and sewed all the rows together. Next step is quilting!
I wasn’t expecting the emotions I felt while working on these tops. Mom has been gone several years, but handling the fabrics she had sewn intensified the loss. I found myself wondering what she was thinking as she cut and stitched the pieces. Was she thinking about what had been made from each fabric? Was she wondering who to give them to? Did she realize her seams were not even and her blocks were wonky? Is that why she put them away rather than continue? You see, I believe Mom, who use to sew like a professional years ago, was putting these scrappy squares together late in life when her fingers were crippled with arthritis and she was not able to cut the pieces accurately or control the fabric going under the needle of the machine. And that makes me sad. But I give her credit for continuing to try, just like her crocheting, because she was trying to keep her hands and fingers from becoming useless. I wish I had spent time with her making quilt tops and talking. So much I now wish I had asked her about her childhood, her dreams, her disappointments, her regrets, what she had loved most about her life. Instead I will delight in the memories I have and what I do know about her. The one thing I do know is she would be proud of me for doing this for my sister!
Besides the ones I have pictured here, there is still one more to quilt. It is made of flannel and my sister plans on covering her bed with it as it certainly is large enough to reach the floor and tuck the pillows! My brother and I had fun trying to identify the fabrics. I’m sure all the little boy prints must have been from pajamas Mom made him. I have a faint memory of having seen some of the girlish pieces, but not sure if any were from nightgowns or pajamas I had.
In the scrappy quilts pictured, I definitely recognize one print – a light yellow floral. I remember making myself a dress when I was probably 8 or 9 from that fabric. The dress had a Peter Pan collar, yellow buttons down the front bodice, and a gathered skirt. The sleeves were straight and short – no puffy sleeves at that age! I loved that dress and is probably why I can remember it in such detail!