Shhhhh! This is top secret!
I've got some quilt projects in the works. I spent a small fortune on fabrics today -- it took a long time to get all the 19 pieces cut at Hancock's. I've got the dark reds and purples in the washing machine right now, getting ready for cutting into quilt pieces. I'll be using a speed strip method so I don't have to cut itty-bitty squares and sew them back together.
The first one I plan to make will be a nine-patch. If I have successes, I will post progression photos.
I've got enough in my stash now to make three or four quilts. That's not counting scraps and fabrics already in my stash. I may wind up scrounging through those after I get the first projects under way.
These quilts will be gifts.
Today in Sunday school one of my friends and I co-taught a lesson on "The Keeping Quilt." We talked about the various ways we humans share The Story through the ages through a variety of means -- the oral tradition; the written word; songs; art; and quilts.
Family histories are shared through these practical home-made coverings. Fabrics often came from family members' clothing. There may be other sources of materials with historical significance.
In my family's case, the farm families made good use of the materials in feed sacks. Feed companies knew they provided considerable usable yardage for farm families and accommodated the tastes of their customers' wives and daughters.
Other details found in quilts also tell a family's history. In my family, my great aunt Beulah (known to us as Bo-Bo) was engaged to be married in the early 1910s. As we know, World War I broke out and America's young men fought their first battles overseas. Bo-Bo's fiance, Maynard, was killed in one such battle; she never married.
Back home, though, Bo-Bo and my great-grandmother Laura Lee Deal had been working to prepare items for her household. In the works were two quilts made of similar fabrics. After Maynard's death, there was a change in plans in the quilting of one of the pieces. In the solid squares of this quilt, they quilted the pattern of a war eagle where otherwise plain quilting would have gone. A soldier was dead; his love remembered for the rest of her life.
Their love story was told every time the quilts were brought out of storage. It was a ritual my mother performed on special occasions, to make sure I learned about that bit of family history from a young age.
One of the quilts went to my mother's sister. When she died, her children (my cousins) had no interest in keeping that quilt. It was already packed in a black trash sack when they asked me if I would be interested in having my aunt's quilts. I immediately shouted "YES" and rescued four quilts from the trash pile. I am sorry my cousins didn't understand the history behind the family quilt they had in their hands, but I am delighted that the two companion quilts are back together and living, for the most part, in Bo-Bo's cedar chest, next to my bed.
Another family treasure is my mother's baby quilt, made by my great-grandmother Laura Lee Deal. She embroidered the details of when it was made, by whom and for whom on the back. That's the way to share the history of a quilt -- with an embroidered provinance.
I'll share more about the quilts I'm working on later. For now, I can only hope they will some year have more of a meaning than the money I spent today at the fabric store. Honestly, I don't think that will be a problem.