Saturday, April 18, 2009

My Favorite Quilt

Throwing my hat into the Quilt Festival going on over at Park City Girl.

*****
I can say with complete confidence that no matter what happens or how many quilts pass through this house, this quilt will always be my favorite.

When I was little, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, Nana D. She taught me a lot of what I know about creating things out of what seems like nothing. She mothered 11 children and lived through the great depression - the woman knew how to stretch a dollar. Nana D was known for her crocheted afghans and our family came to expect a pair of her handmade mittens and socks for Christmas. She got started early in the new year, preparing for the next Christmas; she knit sets for each of her children, their spouses and all of her 18 grandchildren.

It took me by surprise when she put the knitting needles aside and got to work on a quilt. She'd seen a pattern in a magazine and wanted to try it herself. Of course, she turned it out in a New York minute and it was even more beautiful than the one in the magazine. Once that one was finished, she had me help her make a smaller one for my cousin, Cheryl. We sat side by side, upstairs in her spare room, working on the quilt together. She liked it there because she had a bird's eye view of who was driving past. She'd comment on how fast the cars travelled and how someone was inevitably going to get hurt out there.

I traced out the hearts and she appliqued them on. Once it was time for the quilting, she had me threading needles while she quilted. I had a handful of needles and would stick them all along the windowsill once they were threaded. I remember her bragging to her friends about how good I was at threading a needle. You never know when you'll need that kind of skill! I was so proud of that quilt and really hoped my cousin would appreciate the work we put in to it.

On my 12th birthday - the birthday where the clown my parents ordered came a day early and ended up getting stopped by the police for speeding (not a lucky clown, to be sure) - Nana D arrived with a box. It was a fair size and I was curious what she had inside. Normally she gave us homemade jam or more socks and mitts. This box was too big for socks or jam. I can still remember how I felt when I saw what was in the box - our quilt! It was mine to keep. Surely I couldn't have know then what a special gift it really was, but I had a sneaking suspicion. I really haven't let it out of my sight since. It came off to university with me. It cuddled my baby when she was little. It's still serving it's purpose, snuggling each of us when we're sick or when our toes just can't get warmed up.

I know it's not looking it's best, but I can't bring myself to alter it. I can't bring myself to pull out her stitches or replace the missing hearts with fabric that she didn't choose. It's my little piece of what I remember about my relationship with her and I wouldn't trade it for the world.


~Sara

25 comments:

kangaroo said...

what a beautiful story. how nice that you were able to share this experience with her and now can share the result with your family! very touching.

Isa said...

What a great story, thank you for sharing it.

Zonnah said...

Love the story and the quilt :)

Donna said...

Why'd ya have to go and make me all weepy, Sara??

Love the quilt, love you. What an heirloom.

Becky said...

That is the best quilt story I have EVER read. It made me cry!!

Probably because I still have the quilt my grandma made for me when I was born. It is terribly dingy and in awful shape. It went through me, 3 of my cousins, and my two brothers. But it was mine and was given back to me just a few years ago when my aunt found in her things as she was moving.

I also have two pillow cases that my grandma embroidered. Probably in the early 60's. I can remember sitting next to her while she was working on them. She too mothered 10 children and 36 grandchildren. What a legacy our grandmas left.

Thanks for sharing that wonderful story. I consider it a gift.

koala brains said...

What memories and to have something tangible from them all - well, that's very special.

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Oh Sara, your story brought tears to my eyes. Your quilt is truly beautiful in every sense of the word. And it is much loved :-)

Kim said...

I can see why you love this quilt so much! Thanks for sharing your wonderful story.

Melissa said...

Beautiful story!

Sara said...

Thanks so much for all of your sweet comments!

Cindra said...

It's a treasure that can have no price nor be replaced. Great choice.

stitchinpenny said...

Love the story. Nana'a quilt will always be a very special part of your life.

Clare said...

Lovely story and such a beautiful quilt full of memories. Quilts have such fantastic stories to tell.

SaraRules said...

That is such a wonderful story! There is something so touching about having great memories and experiences from grandparents. Thanks so much for sharing!

mngirltx said...

I think it's a beautiful quilt, with a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it!

Amy @ Park City Girl said...

Beautiful quilt full of love and memories - thank you for sharing - it's so special!

Becky said...

Your story of your grandmother makes me miss my Big Mom. She wasn't a quilter, but could she sew dresses. Thank you for sharing your story and your quilt. It is indeed one to cherish.

Rhonda said...

What a warm and wonderful story. My grandma was the one who inspired me to get into quilting. Thanks for sharing your story.

Andi said...

Your story brought tears to my eyes. Such a touching story and memoir of your relationship with your grandmother.
So many wonderful grandmother stories in this festival. What is it about grandmothers? They can be so wonderful at sharing a passion for creativity. I was lucky with mine too. A very special lady also.
I love your quilt exactly the way it is too.
Andi :-)

Emma said...

What a wonderful treasure!

Crispy said...

What a wonderful story....the quilt looks like it has been thoroughly loved...how all quilts should look.

Crispy

J said...

Fabulous quilt and a fabulous story!

connie said...

What a wonderful story!!! Grandma's are the best. Thanks for making me think about mine......

Granny Lyn said...

(sniff, sniff) yours is the best entry I've seen! I only hope my granddaughters will feel the same about the time we spend together! how precious! I think you win the award for best story!

Kim said...

What a wonderful story! I think the stories are the best part of the quilt festival! :-)