Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Stitches in time...

I've always loved quilts.

Something about a quilt is comforting to me. Knowing that loving hands no doubt quilted the stitches through the layers of fabric...long before the quilts of today were sent to the sweat houses across the seas, to be made by those who don't care.

On cold winter nights, I remember sleeping under a pile of quilts at my grandmother's house. Mom used them as blankets also. Some of them ended up ragged and tattered, but we loved them anyway.

I remember my two grandmother & great-grandmother, who lived next door to each other...would sit behind the quilting frame that was set up in my Grandma Fulkerson's guest bedroom. They would quietly sit for hours, stitching away, softly talking to each other, bringing the pieces of fabric together, making a beautiful blanket for someones bedroom. Oh, they did not stitch the fancy patterns that we have today. Theirs were quilts of left over fabrics from some sewing project, or pieces of worn out or outgrown dresses that had been tossed aside. Their quilts were pieces of family history...pieces of garments worn by their daughters & granddaughters...pieces that they weren't quite willing to toss out.

My Grandma Fulkerson wanted to make a quilt for each of her granddaughters. I was next to the oldest. She was able to piece this quilt top for me but never got it quilted. Years later I started it...but ended up turning the project over to Mom! I love all of the colors in this old quilt!

A close up of some of the pieces...

I recognize several squares as pieces of fabric from dresses that my Mom & Grandmother used to wear.

As a young married lady, I became fascinated with quilting when the craze hit the 1980's. It seemed that we all wanted the look of yesterday in our homes. During that time, much of my decorating centered around quilting patterns. I kept it around for a long time, and as I went around this morning snapping pictures of my quilts, I realized that quilts are still a part of my life. And no doubt always will be.

Somehow I also ended up with this quilt top that still needed to be quilted.One time my Mom was here & I told her..."I have this old quilt top that isn't very pretty & it needs to be put together..." She took one look at it & told me..."I did that! So...You don't think it's very pretty?" Was I ever embarrassed!

Now that I know she is the one that pieced it together & I've studied the fabrics, I've learned to love the quilt! It may not be beautiful...but it is a work of art & pieces of our past.

Close up of fabric in Mom's "Pin Wheel" quilt...Notice the 3 bad eggs in the skillet! (fabric from feed sacks)

I love the pink bunny fabric!

Quilting looked so easy to me. I've always loved to cut with scissors so tracing & cutting the quilt pieces was no problem . And I used to do quite a bit of sewing. But when it came to quilting, I just couldn't seem to get it right. My quilting needle seemed too short and my stitches didn't look like Mom's. While Mom was visiting one winter and we were doing our crafty projects, Mom told me that my stitches were too big! And that was the end of my quilting phase. I put my quilting needle away & went back to what I excelled at...cross stitch!

A wall hanging in our entry way..

A 40th birthday gift to me from Bob--
bought in Middlebury, Indiana at The Essenhaus

Cross stitch was easier for me. There was a grid where I could make the exact stitch, without worrying about it being too short or too long. For a lot of years I stitched & stitched, spending many spare moments and hours making my cross stitch designs. I loved the way I could take a blank piece of fabric, and just by following a pattern, end up with a beautiful picture.

Another wall hanging over our bed
bought a few years later at The Essenhaus

I spent about a year stitching a bridal pattern for Karen. And then I put my cross stitch away. Oh, since then I've started a few projects, but can no longer see to make the small stitches I used to love to do. But during those years of stitching, the hours I spent were not wasted. I loved what I was doing.

My souvenir from a day trip to Bird In Hand, Pa...
while Bob was busy at the Car Convention in Reading
(teach him to take me to Amish country!)

Someday when my children have to go through the closets of my home, and they find those quilts made many years ago, and the framed pieces of cross stitch, maybe they will remember it was loving hands that made those stitches in time...


Sherry said...

I absolutely LOVE quilts. I don't have any! My gma was going to make quilts for each of us but never was able to get it done. My dream is to someday have a blue and yellow one. Not sure why I like those colors together but I do. My friend was going to teach me how to quilt but she had to get a job. BUMMER!

Karen Walden said...

I do love those old quilts and your wall hangings as well. I especially like the one over your bed.

I love my quilt that Gma Brown made me too, just like your top picture! Something I'll always treasure and will never be able to do myself!!! :)

Denise said...

I love quilts too. I only have one but my Grandma made it for me and I just love it. It's very special to me. Quilting is on my list of things I'd like to learn to do someday. Thanks for sharing pictures of your beautiful quilts!

Sherry said...

I totally LIED....on accident. I do have a quilt. Wanda Roy made it for us when we got married but I have never used it because it is only a twin size!