The Working Woman’s Quilt

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.

Quilt Great Grandma Mattie pieced and hand quilited for Uncle Martin before she moved from Arkansas

Quilt Great Grandma Mattie pieced and hand quilted for Uncle Martin before she moved from Arkansas

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.

As I cut out the pieces it dawned on me. Most of my work clothes were polyester or polyester blends just like grandma's

As I cut out the pieces it dawned on me. Most of my work clothes were polyester or polyester blends just like grandma’s!

Jadin (9) and Rylen (4) came over and helped layout the Working Woman's Quilt

Nieces Jadin (9) and Rylen (4) came over and helped layout the Working Woman’s Quilt

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.

Almost done piecing my quilt made from my worn work clothes

Almost done piecing my quilt made from my worn work clothes

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