Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quilting philosophy and my Grandmother

When I moved my Mother here to live with us, we went through all the stuff in her house, and I found a bunch of quilts from my Grandmother and one from her sister, my Great Aunt. I never knew either of them, and Mother did all kinds of hand work except she never really quilted. In my Grandmothers things were a cut out newspaper ad for a quilt pattern for 10 cents and the brown paper grocery bag she used to draft her own pattern like the ad. I still don’t know if she didn’t have 10 cents, or didn’t want to wait that long for it to come in the mail. I have a bunch of her quilts, drapery fabric, men’s shirts, 2 of all mens wool suits, some places she pieced the fabric to make the quilt piece. They are hand quilted with big galloping quilting stitches using what looks like crochet thread. I have a picture of one of her quilts with my parents when they were on a date and they were sitting on it and having a picnic. I think she loved the process, and got them finished fast so she could make another one. None of them are perfect by a long shot. But they are happy, and they make me smile. And they are beautiful in their own way. I can’t wait to meet my Grandmother in heaven and talk to her about it.

My great Aunt’s quilt, there is only one. The same two blue and white fabrics in the whole thing, tiny pieces with sharp corners and tiny even quilting stitches. Perfect. It has been folded up in a cedar chest for nearly 100 years.

I decided I liked my Grandmother’s style a lot better, her sister seems like kind of a fussbudget. I made myself a promise I would from then on just enjoy the process, make quilts for people to use up and wear out, and not look for it to be perfect. I think what I enjoy about this quilting machine is really the ability to get something finished, so it can be used and loved. Out of the box, and finished is better than perfect.