Saturday, March 19, 2011

National Quilt Day

I had wanted to make this post sooner, on National Quilt Day, which is today seeing that my mother was a quilter. Maybe, hopefully jump starting some of you who may have an interest in the art, but that didn't happen. I couldn't get blogger to open for me and I've been trying all week.

My mom didn't make those fancy type quilts and didn't use a rotary cutter, a gridded cutting board or plastic templates. She didn't buy fat quarters. She used scraps from my stash, I made an outfit a week sometimes two from 1967 up until the mid 90's. I also sewed for my kids, my mom and an aunt.

My mom used the good old fashioned dress shears for cutting and made her templates out of anything from newspaper to paper bags. She didn't use a sewing machine, everything was done by hand. Mom kept a shoe box that she would store her pieces in, they were stacked neatly and nicely, color coordinate, the works. Every evening she would come home from work, eat dinner and start cutting. Once she had filled a box it was time to start putting those pieces together.

She would sit in a comfortable chair, needle and thread in hand and a thimble on her middle finger and go to work until bedtime. All the while watching TV and talking with her sister, my aunt that lived with us. Once she had finished a top, she would make what she called a sandwich, batting and a lining and sit in that chair and quilt it all by hand. Sure it was time consuming, but I saw what pleasure it gave her and how relaxed she would be after a day's work, that I use to pitch in and do some cutting for her when her box ran low.

I use to love to watch her work. I made my first quilt at 17, a red a white patch work. My favorite color was red. A year later I made a diamond design quilt. I didn't quilt again until after I had my second son 21 years ago and that was a job. I quilted a baby quilt with his name, date of birth and weight and did it on a sewing machine. I haven't quilted since. What I learned about the sewing machine method was, I didn't like it, it was much too cumbersome.

I'd like to take this time a salute all the avid quilters, a worthwhile and useful craft to keep us warm in the cold and brighten our cloudy days.