I’ve been working on a very special quilting project this winter.
I call it the story quilt.
I didn’t piece the top together – I don’t know who did. My friend Amanda discovered it at a craft show.
But as soon as I saw it – I knew how special it was and I volunteered to quilt it for her.
This is a vintage quilt.
A scrap quilt.
A quilt that my grandma would have made.
A quilt that tells a story.
Each square is a bit of fabric that holds a memory for someone – carefully saved bits of cloth that when sewed together become a piece of personal history.
It’s a quilt that spans generations – a time capsule of style and fabrics.
Vintage cotton from the 1940’s.
Checked gingham from the 1950’s.
Fun prints from the 60’s.
Polyester from the 70’s.
And even a few calico pieces from the prairie looks of the 1980’s.
All sewn together – with no rhyme or reason.
A delicate dotted Swiss next to a sturdy denim next to fake wool next to a piece of a work shirt like my grandpa wore – so faded and paper thin that I worry my quilting stitches are the only things that hold it to the quilt.
Bright 1970’s colored print next to a mustard and brown stripe next a pink floral next to a juvenile cowboy print.
Every square vaguely familiar as if I’ve seen it before.
These patches of fabric aren’t from my life – but I can see them in it. Their colors and textures and designs are all woven through-out the times and places that I’ve been.
Memories come flooding back as I hand quilt each square. This Raggedy Ann print reminds me of my curtains as a child. My sister has a skirt in a plaid similar to this one. That piece of blue cotton looked so much like Grandma’s house dress that I cried.
This quilt is special – a work of art.
Not because of how it’s put together – the squares are uneven and the whole thing buckles and curves – but because of what it contains.
Hundreds of stories. Millions of connections. A patchwork of history.
People don’t make quilts like this any more.
Maybe we should.