In May of last year on a visit to Texas, my sister asked me to take some quilt blocks 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 twisted 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 to cover 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 I’m not sure if any were from nightgowns or pajamas I had.
I recognize that yellow floral print!
In the scrappy quilts pictured, I recognize one print – a light yellow floral. I remember making myself a dress when I was 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 that is why I can remember it in such detail! Mom taught me to sew when I was so young, always there to help if I needed it. Did she remember the little yellow dress when she was sewing a piece of fabric into the quilt block? I bet she did!
My mom – what a special lady
My mom – what a special lady! Because of her I have found happiness and pleasure sewing all these years. Read a bit more about when she planted the love of sewing while tricking me to sew what she didn’t enjoy doing herself! /about-stitcher/.