|Two Writing Teachers|
Saturday I was reading Linda Baie's post about the stories from her pottery pieces. I began thinking about my quilting life and one very special quilt I made.
About 22 years ago, I taught myself how to quilt. I have always loved old things, and my husband and I have collected quite a few antiques. Browsing antique shops is where my love of quilts began. I have actually been sewing for as long as I can remember, so becoming a quilter was a logical step for me.
After making my first quilt, I was hooked. I bought, stashed, and hid fabric in all kinds of places, hiding it from my husband. (I still don't think he knows how much fabric I have!) I love walking through fabric stores and touching all of the beautiful fabrics, imagining the possibilities.
Although I have not quilted in about seven years, (actually since I started teaching!) I still have boxes and boxes of fabric. I have them stored according to their "genre." I have large cuts - 4 or more yards and small cuts - 1 to 4 yards. I have boxes of Christmas prints, children's prints, background prints, and solids just to name a few. My scraps are sorted according to color - cool colors in one box, and warm and neutrals in other boxes.
As my passion for quilting grew, I started going to yard sales and auctions for fabric, quilt squares, or tops. Once, I found two scrappy quilt tops that were unfinished. One graces the door on a 120+ year old cabinet that belonged to my husband's grandmother, and the other hangs on a rocker and welcomes visitors on our front porch.
But one summer day, I hit the quilter's jackpot. I bought five boxes full of nothing but scraps! Now, to many people this was junk, but to a quilter, this was a treasure!
After I lugged the boxes home and started going through them, I was amazed at not only the amount of fabric, but also the age of the fabric. Buried in the bottom of the box was a magazine with Elizabeth Taylor on the cover and the date of 1949. Many of the fabrics in this box, which I still have, are now close to 65 years old.
I began the slow process of pressing, cutting and sewing the scraps into rectangles. My mind was filled with wonder, filled with the stories these fabrics told. I am sure there were scraps from kitchen curtains, little girls' and ladies' dresses, as well as men's clothing. The fabric of these lives slid through my fingers, sharing their secrets. I would sit at my quilting frame and, stitch by stitch, I listened to their stories.
Stories about marriages and families.
...happy times and sad times.
...new homes and new beginnings.
.....death and endings.
Stories I could only imagine.
After piecing together 227 different squares, my quilt was finally finished.
If you listen carefully, it gently whispers 226 individual, unique stories - 226 different fabrics with only one fabric repeated. (Although that was not my intention, it does create quite a good conversation!)
Close your eyes.
Can you hear them?