My grandmothers were very different. They both worked but, one worked in an office all her life and the other was a homemaker.

My dad’s mother raised six boys and a girl on very little money. She made sure her boys went to school in clean clothes and were fed. She worked hard making clothes for them. Eventually she went to work in the school cafeteria, and after they were grown, she went to work at a clothing factory. She brought home the scraps and rejects to make into clothes and quilts for her grandchildren. Dementia took her away from us before my children knew what a wonderful woman she was.

My mother’s mother was a secretary to an oil man from the 1930s until she retired in the 1960s. Not many women had jobs during those decades, especially ones who were married with children. That made her unique in many ways. She crocheted and did needlepoint. She died when I was 16, and I still miss her.

My mother had quilt tops from both of my grandmothers. For years, they were packed away in boxes, but recently, Mom got them out and decided to hand-quilt them. She likes to keep busy, and that project certainly did that. She made a quilt frame she could sit at and work on. For the past several years, we’ve talked on the phone about her progress and the problems presented. I was happy she had something to do and focus on.

This year, Mom gave each of us kids quilts made by our grandmothers. My brothers and sister got quilts made by the grandmother who made them from factory scraps. They’re gorgeous quilts made with heavier-than-regular-cotton fabric. They’re sure to be extra warm.

My mom gave me the quilt top her mother pieced when she was pregnant with my mom and her twin brother. That alone makes it amazingly special. It was made before rotary cutters made cutting pieces so easy. Each diamond shape was cut with scissors and hand-sewn together. The top is 88 years old. All those decades it lay folded in a box, waiting for the time to be completed and seen. It’s hand-quilted and beautiful, a treasured heirloom. My grandmother’s hands touched that quilt. When I wrap myself in it, I feel her hug me. It feels so good.

Star quilt from my grandmother.

The hand-pieced, hand-quilted quilt joins my other quilt done the same way by my great-grandmother, my mother’s mother’s mother, that was made for me as a baby. That quilt is quite old. I also have a quilt made by my daughter of scraps from the fabrics I made clothes for her, me, and Hubby with. That’s a very special quilt that brings back lots and lots of memories. It’s like a time machine for the mind.

Quilts are timeless. They warm the generations.

She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. Proverbs 31:21-22

12 Responses

  1. This is so sweet and special .Not to long ago I got Cruzes shirts together.,Markaleta said it took 7 shirts to make a quilt ,he had 42 shirts.There were enough to make one out of moroon and gray.I may have to be buried in that one.

  2. Enjoyed your story and am also reading and pondering your writings in “Scraps of Wisdom”. My husband’s sisters are quilters, and I have learned enough to make a few simple quilts. Have you read the book “No Time on my Hands” by Grace Snyder? It is an autobiography of a Nebraska pioneer woman who was an amazing quilter. Great book!

  3. I, too, have quilts from my grandmother’s. I also have the baby quilt made by my husband’s grandma when she was pregnant with my MIL. Hubby and his sister, and all of the next generation were brought home from the hospital in that baby quilt. Such a priceless treasure!

  4. One of my grandmother’s had 8 grandchildren. Her plan was to crocheted an afghan for every grandchild for their wedding. This worked great for everyone but me. I never married, so she had to give up and just make me one. She had it with her a doctor’s appointment in the waiting room. She told all the other patients how she was having to make this for her granddaughter who had never married. I know, because one of my co-workers happened to be in the waiting room. He came back to work and said, “I think I met your grandparents today.”

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