I remember Grandmother "piecing" her quilt tops both by hand and with her "treadle" Singer sewing machine. Mostly, this was done during the cold winter days and on stormy days when there wasn't much else that could be done. This was before my time, but I'm sure many of you have heard of the "good old days" when flour came in cloth sacks.
than just flour came in those pretty, printed, cloth sacks. I recall
the old folks talking about cornmeal, oatmeal, laying mash and even
oats for livestock feed coming in those cloth sacks. Many women would
wash these sacks and use them for clothing, tablecloths, dish towels,
even underwear. I've slept under many a quilt that was made from these.
But, when I was small, Grandmother would save all our old clothes, or at least, the best pieces of them. Also, folks would give us old clothes they couldn't use anymore. She'd bring these home and cut these scraps of fabric up for quilt pieces. Mostly, these pieces would just be squares. It wasn't till her later years that she started working from patterns. I remember her piecing tops that had multicolored circles.
She did one that had
little "Dutch girls", as best as I can describe it. My very favorite
was one that had big red and yellow apples on it.
My Grandfather had found some small trees and he cut and stripped them for poles to make her a quilting frame. It was hung from the ceiling, when not in use. She always had a quilt going. Outside of cooking, cleaning, gardening, canning, and mending our clothes, it was her only activity.
Oh, I hear you moaning, ladies! You're saying, "Cooking, cleaning, gardening, canning, and mending clothes!!! My gosh!!! Isn't that enough!!? Well, it's really not. Not when you consider that she didn't have any place to go for weeks at a time. She didn't have a TV. She didn't have a radio. She didn't even have electricity. She didn't drive. She didn't have money to spend on crossword puzzles or picture puzzles. We didn't even subscribe to a newspaper.
She was lucky to have enough money to buy thread. Quilting was her "hobby", you might say. It was her way of taking a break and spending some quality time with her thoughts. It helped the family stay warm in the winter, but that was just icing on the cake.
Quilting was her way of expressing her artistic
side. She never "tied" her quilts. She would always stitch them by
hand, and in such intricate patterns, too. I remember being amazed at
the fine stitching, even as a little boy.
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