Back when I first entered the workforce I can remember having a brief obsession with quilting. I was doing a lot of crocheting in that time but after doing a couple of afghans I was ready for something new. With my first paychecks, I bought a quilting magazine and wore it out flipping through the pages again and again. Eventually I began to buy materials to make a quilt. I bought the expensive calico fabrics in hopes of creating a decorative quilt.
I can remember asking grandma Arelia to help me make the quilt. She thought I was nuts for buying all that expensive new fabric just to cut up. Especially since I had no clue what I was doing. To her quilts are meant for using.
Grandma proudly pointed to her bed, at a quilt she had made. It had assorted rectangular shapes all cut and sewn in bright colors. It was obviously a true scrap quilt made from old polyester clothes. Sounds cute right? Well my teenage mind could not appreciate all that polyester fabric sewn together. I wanted a new quilt not an old one. After a few failed attempts I put the quilt dream away without ever finishing one.
Fast forward twelve years. I finished my last day with my company and headed to the library for a special visit by Sisters of the Cloth Quilting Guild. They are an African American Quilting Guild in Fort Wayne Indiana. The event was a bed turning in which the members showed off the quilts they made. One in particular made an impression on me. The Gee’s Bend style quilt. It reminded me of Grandma’s!!
A few weeks later I went to visit my eldest uncle. I told him about the quilt I saw. He said just wait until you see my quilt. Great Grandma Mattie had made him a quilt back in the 80’s. It was most likely one of the last one’s she made perhaps in her late-70s. The quilt was pieced from cotton scraps and hand quilted. Made to be used.
Feeling all inspired I decided to try making a quilt again. This time I would take grandma’s approach and use what I had, a bunch of my worn women’s work clothes. As I got to cutting the shirts apart it hit me. POLYESTER.
Most of the fabrics were made from the same material that I turned my nose up at as a teen. I’m sure Grandma is shaking a finger at her Sweet Pea from heaven right about now. Oh well, this has been a fun adventure so far, mom and my nieces even helped. I plan to finish this one.