Patchwork quilts pass on warmth and memories to children, grandchildren, and beyond. There's simply nothing quite like the look and feel of an old patchwork quilt that was lovingly handcrafted and worn in gently by countless generations.
Anyone can go into a store and purchase a quilt, but few people ever take the time to learn the wonderful ancient art of quilt making.
A quilt isn't simply a bed covering. A quilt symbolizes warmth, comfort, and security. A precious quilt crafted by hand is cherished even more because of all the hard (but enjoyable) work that went into making it.
I'm just beginning to try to learn this time-consuming art. Hand quilting isn't for everyone because it requires tons of patience and intense attention to detail.
One of my first attempts at quilting was a small doll quilt that I made for my daughter when she was around 5 years old. It turned out ok considering it was my first try at quilting.
But my daughter wasn't very impressed, and I was absolutely thrilled when years later our cat adopted the quilt for his preferred napping companion. I decided I'd much rather let the cat enjoy the quilt than to keep it in a box somewhere to be totally forgotten.
I envy and admire those who have the patience it requires to quilt. I am determined that one day I'm going to make my first full-size quilt!
I initially became interested in quilting when I was pretty young. My grandmother liked to quilt, and she made many quilts in her lifetime.
I was never fortunate enough to receive one of them (she was my grandfather's second wife), but I was lucky enough to see some of her magnificent creations displayed in her home.
One time when I was around 13 or 14 years old, my grandmother pulled out a lovely patchwork quilt she had been working on. She then asked my sister and I if we'd be interested in taking it home and finishing it.
We were overwhelmed, but thrilled at the prospect of being allowed to complete her work of art. She then proceeded to tell us where all the various scraps of fabric had come from:
"This piece is a scrap from one of my maternity dresses," she told me and my sister. This was a maternity dress that she had worn more than 50 years ago!
She had saved scraps from many different articles of clothing that she had worn over the years. Each and every piece had a special meaning for her, and she had saved them intending to someday make a quilt out of them. Piece by piece, she was sewing together memories of her life.
But she had grown tired of quilting, and she would never make another one. My sister and I eagerly took the quilt home and began adding pieces of our own fabrics to it. But, being kids, we quickly tired of the activity and that wonderful quilt ended up in a bag in a closet where it still sits today.
Every so often, I pull the quilt out and take a look at it, thinking I really should finish it. I know that in time I will indeed finish it, and it will represent at least four generations of our family's history!
I wish we could all learn to live our lives so that every day we're striving to consciously create and nurture family memories that will remain with us for all time.
Whether she realized it or not, that's exactly what my grandmother was doing with her quilting. I want to take that idea and put it into action in my daily life, as much effort as it sometimes seems. I know that tomorrow I'll be glad I did!
About the author:
Rachel Paxton is a freelance writer, mom, and owner of four home and family websites. Visit her at www.crafty-moms.com.
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