Pieces of Me

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. 

Ledger is the youngest of the great grand­chil­dren on my Mom’s side. I won­der if my Grannie would have ever thought of this quilt being used for her great grandchildren.…what a thought.

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!

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