Long long ago, on a farm far far away, I was helping my grandmother clean out a cedar chest. She came upon an old Dillard's bag full of fabric squares. I instantly recognized them as crazy quilt squares done by a very talented hand, but in her enthusiasm of cleaning out, my grandmother put them in the trash pile. Yes, I am a bit of a packrat. Yes, I have family nostalgia and am fascinated by history and geneaology. So I fished them out of the trash and asked about them.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
It turns out these quilt squares were made by my gradmother's grandmother Mary Louise, so that makes her my great-great grandmother. She even accidentally left some of my family's trademark white hair among the patterns. A crazy quilt is made with scraps of fabric leftover from making clothes in the home. As nothing was thrown out or wasted long ago, it was very popular during the turn of the century and in the 1930s, during the Depression. You can tell by the fabric that some of it may have even been homespun: it is often heavy, as clothes were made to last for years, if not generations. Mary Louise used this medium to show off her talent at diverse embroidery, and you can spend hours on this quilt, picking out the different stitches and imagining the patches' counterpart clothing.
So Mom, my Tibetan seamstress, took it upon herself to finish this project for me. She even crafted four new squares, noting the family history and names of the relatives between Mary Louise and me. In the spirit of the quilt's beginning, I insisted that no fabric, supplies, or buttons be bought for it - that only scraps and leftover items be used - and I could not be more thrilled with the outcome. I truly love it.