Sunday, September 10, 2006

Working on projects

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.

6 comments:

Marcie said...

Really nice story about your family quilt. So glad I stumbled upon your blog!

jeannie diane said...

Trixie, what a wonderful story.
I love quilting. I am pretty new
at it. My mother quilted some
before she got sick. I have one
of her last projects. It was a
hand applicated pansy's. They are
rich purple and bright yellow.
There are nine, since There was
little I could do with them I
decided to just frame them out.
I took them to the fabric store.

Matched several colors to go around
them to frame them out. It has
been very emotional so I have it
pinned together. I starte trying
to sew it once. But ended putting
it back up for now.

Last year I made my 1st quilt. It
was made out of flannel pj's and
gowns. From my mom, me, and by
little princess. It is her prize
posesions.

Hi, Marci you will Trixies home.

FrenziedFeline said...

I like quilts, but don't really like making them. I could make (an ugly) one if needed for warmth, but it wouldn't be any work of art. ;)

I'll have to get out the quilt hanging that DH's aunt made that incorporates your other favorite thing--aprons--specifically Grandma's. :)

Genevieve said...

I love piecing them, but I don't particularly enjoy the quilting (or tieing, if you go that route.)

drlobojo said...

My daughter quilts. Her grandmother quilted, and great grandmothers quilted. Every quilt in the house, of which there are more than a few has a story (some several). Visiting a shut in years ago, I listened as each handmade doll on a couch inspired a tale. I once listened to a Navajo lady in Flagstaff explaining her story behind the rug she was weaving. Years latter I listened to a potter in a Pueblo along the Rio Grande do the same about the design on a series of his pots.
It seems that every true craft is a personal art connected to a story about it or that inspired it, a bit of history. They are tangible memories.
Too bad that the white male historians totally discount these little histories. In substance and sum they are more than they seem. They contain secrets that no book will ever hold.

Trixie said...

Dr Lobojo, that's exactly why we women (at least those of us who are inspired to continue the story-telling traditions) continue to recite the stories in the quilts. For a small children's book, "The Keeping Quilt" is a powerful, emotional reminder of the power of passing the stories along with the articles that serve as a touchstone.