Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Quilt: A Grandmother's Labor of Love

A lot of people I know make quilts. I am always impressed at the patience, precision, and stick-to-it -iveness it takes to finish one--not to mention talent. My sister and I grew up using handmade quilts, which our grandmothers made, as bedspreads. I can't speak for Sis, but I yearned for a ruffly chintz bed covering like the ones my friends had.
My quilt was made by my mother's mother from outgrown-clothing scraps; my sister's quilt (actually, there were two matching quilts for twin beds in her room) were made from new fabric by our father's mother. Those quilts look more professional with a beautifully designed color-scheme and design.
My quilt looked a little bit unbalanced because of the variety of fabric, but I loved it when Mother fondly recalled the clothing she had worn, scraps of which had become flower petals in my bedspread. Still, I thought I'd rather have chintz.
It wasn't until years later that I came to appreciate the craftsmanship that had gone into the quilts my Grandmother Elmendorf made. Although the tiny pieces of fabric were sewn with a Singer Sewing machine, which was cranked by one hand while pushing the fabric through the machine with the other (note: this non-electric machine was pre-foot treadle), each quilting stitch was hand done! Now I am in absolute awe. None of that "take it to the quilter who will use a machine to overlay stitching in a specific pattern" that most quilters do now. My grandmother did the beautiful quilting stitch by hand!

My daughter now displays this "old bedspread" on the wall in her guestroom, which she refers to as "The Elmendorf Room" because of the quilt's dominance as decor. Enjoy the pictures. They speak for themselves.

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