The Story of the Patchwork Quilt
So just to paint the scene here, I am writing this in between sips of Sprite and chicken noodle soup all while being wrapped up in an old patchwork quilt I helped my Grannie to make yearrrrs ago. As a kid, I remember my Grannie’s little sewing room. It was an enclosed front porch area with lots of windows. There were nice waist-high cabinets all around, which she never used simply because they were buried under years and years of fabric and sewing supplies. Instead, she chose to sit in a squeaky old chair at her old machine table where she had all her essentials within arms reach.
I still remember to this day, snooping through all the layers and layers of fabrics just to see what new patterns and designs I could find. Yeah, that little habit of mine got me in trouble one year when I uncovered a pile of Christmas presents. I specifically remember finding a purple Care Bear and a keyboard…those were the days. This is one little snooping adventure that I will never live down, just ask my mom. Either way, I remember the look and feel of her sewing room vividly, even though I haven’t so much as stepped foot in her old house in about 12 years. and I remember sanding beside my Grannie as she sat in her squeaky chair, and sorting through these piles of fabric squares that would eventually be matching patchwork quilts for my sister and me.
The timeline is blurry to me now, but I remember watching her day after day as she slowly stitched the pieces of scrap fabric together. It is interesting to me that as I have gotten older and discovered more about who I am, I am realizing more and more that the urge to create and make something from nothing, is woven into the fibers of my being. Being a creative wasn’t an accident, in fact, it was handed down to me as a way of life, a way of survival really. My Grannnie made us clothes as kids because we couldn’t afford them at times. She made maternity tops for my mom and even made my mom’s jeans when she was a teenager, stitching the labels from an old pair of Levi’s into the waitband so no one would know the difference. She was creative, she could see and imagine the outcome of a project before they were a reality.
One day, on a day very similar to this one, I was home sick and unable to make my regular visit to Grannie’s. At the time we lived just across the road from her big ole’ farm and house so there was rarely a day that we didn’t see one another. On this particular day she showed up with a gift to make me feel better….any guesses to what that may have been?
If you said my quilt, you are totally right!
Knowing that I was sick and unable to visit, she finished up the quilt, complete with light purple trim and a hand stiched “made by” tag on the inside corner. To this day, I will never forget, as she spread the quilt across my lap she said, this can be your “Get Well Quilt.” That phrase has stuck with me ever since. Any time I am sick or not feeling well, I grab my “Get Well Quilt” and wrap up with it. To me, there is love literally stiched into the fibers of this simple little patchwork of scrap fabric. Kinda like the same way there is magic in a mother’s kiss to a child’s boo-boo, there is magic to wrapping yourself in this quilt. I can’t explain it. That is just the feeling I get ever time I use it. It has gotten me through my sick days, even my most recent, when I was looking for comfort, my high blood pressure with both pregnancies, and even my days of grieving as I sat looking out my window in the days after her leaving this Earth.
To an outsider, this is just an old shabby quilt without much value but for me, this quilt, it’s a piece of me. A piece of my heart; a piece of my heritage. It reminds me of who I am and where I came from and how I was raised to see the good in something before it has even come to be.
In Remembrance of
Shirley Ann Gilbert
February 3, 1935- September 23, 2008
Check out this unique way to display those hand-written recipes this holiday season HERE!