Sunday, January 29, 2012

Crazy Quilt History

Quilts connect the past with the present and the future.

  This is the bed I sleep in when I stay with Mom overnight. I don't actually sleep under this quilt. I very carefully fold it down and lay it aside. The quilt is well over 100 years old. It was a gift to my great aunt for her wedding. Her sisters and friends had a quilting shower for her. They each embroidered their names on a piece of fabric and then all gathered to sew the pieces together with more fancy stitches.

Here's my grandmother's name. I never really knew her. She died when I was two, but I can imagine her quilting her name here before she married - while  she was young and anxious to fall in love and have her own family. Some of the other names are Ethie, Em, Hervie, Virgie. Old fashioned names. But young names at the time. Names of girls full of hope and laughter. You know they laughed as they worked to fit these crazy pieces together like a puzzle. 

I love looking at the quilt. It's a unique piece of family history, an evidence of caring and fun. A very real piece of art. Everyday art for them at the time. But amazing art for me as I think about how they were able to fit all those pieces together and come up with a quilt that doesn't have odd corners.

I've always liked the crazy quilt patterns better than even the fanciest wedding ring patterns or basket patterns or whatever bit of amazing artistic design. The crazy quilt patterns speak to me.


"Our lives are like quilts - bits and pieces, joy and sorrow, stitched with love."

I guess that's why I like the crazy quilt pattern. It's like life. Bits and pieces in all shapes and sizes, but when stitched together, it makes the whole fabric of our lives. Writing is that way too. A book is pieced together with bits of stories from a lot of different characters. Sometimes you can't see how you'll ever fit the pieces together and maybe sometimes you'll have to throw aside a piece to use another time. But you have to get the important pieces - the ones with names on them - into the whole of the story. And the process can be crazy, but turn out beautiful sometimes in the end. 

Thank you so much for reading. Remember, this is another (and your last) chance to leave a comment to be in the drawing for an autographed copy of Words Spoken True. I'll be drawing for the winner on February 1. So let me know what's crazy in your life right now or just say hello. I always enjoy hearing from you. And I'll be announcing a great new giveaway to celebrate the book's release that will have the flavor of the book's background.




33 comments:

  1. What isn't crazy, life is crazy right now, lol.

    wfnren(at)aol(dot)com
    wrensthoughts.blogspot.com

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  2. Some years are like that, wfnren. You just hang on and do what the Bible tell us to do. One day at a time.

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  3. What a wonderful thing and great enjoyment to have such an heirloom as a quilt that has been in the family for many years. That is so Awesome.. I've done some done some Crazy Quilts when I was younger and first married.. Hoping one day to make another Quilt, but, I'm not sure if it will be a Crazy Quilt or not.. :) Crazy weather this year, but, that is ok..lol

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  4. Hi, Rosie. Glad you dropped by. And so, you know how to piece all those crazy pieces together to make a whole? That's what I'm trying to do with my new book - stitching the pieces together with words.

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  5. Hello Ann,

    Not sure if I entered for this drawing, but would love a copy of your new book.
    I love quilts too, and yours is very special. I hope folks keep up with this tradition for making family quilts. What wonderful keepsakes. When my grandparents died in 2006, my mom took pieces of their clothing and made me a quilt to remind me of their love. It is in my cedar chest, I don't want anything to happen to it but I should look for a way to display it. Thank you for the contest! Carmee G. Ross

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  6. I love the quilt. Reminds me of my Mom and how she used to make quilts. I love to quilt also.

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  7. Thanks for dropping by, Jan. Quilters are artists. Of course my grandmother and great aunts made quilts because they wanted to use up their bits of cloth and have something to keep them warm in the winter. But they also loved the artistic part of quilting and the fun part when they gathered together to finish the quilting together.

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  8. Thanks for your comment, Carmee. It didn't matter if you'd already entered your name. For this giveaway you get another entry for every new comment on one of my blog posts.

    What a treasure your mother made for you after your grandparents passed away. A gift of love from her and your grandparents.

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  9. What a beautiful Quilt.
    Please enter me in the drawing.
    slc925@yahoo.com

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  10. Thanks, Sandi. The quilt is a treasure. I made a lap blanket once out of polyester pieces. That's as close to quilting as I've ever gotten.

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  11. Love the quilt Ann, And so fantastic to have your grandmothers name,on it as well, I love quilts, my grand daughter had her husbands Nan make me one of lighthouses for my 65 birthday,it is beautiful and something i'll treasure forever, Thanks for sharing the picture, Hugs

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  12. Hi, Anony. A lighthouse quilt sounds wonderful. No wonder you treasure it, especially since your daughter showed love in having it made for you. Thanks for your comment.

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  13. Hi Ann! I also grew up with lovely hand-crafted quilts from my Mammaw Chrisman. She made each of us granddaughters a quilt when we married. After my grandfather passed, she used material from his pants and shirts in the patterns. Mine is tucked away safe so it doesn't get messed up, lol. But I get it out every now and then to enjoy the very special hand-stitching by my grandmother who I love dearly. Thank you for sharing your quilt! Debbie

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  14. Ann, I can't wait to read the book and I sure would love to win an autographed copy.

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  15. That's great, Paula. Somebody will win on Wednesday. Good luck!!

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  16. I love all quilts! Don't use any blankets. I must have a quilt to sleep under!
    O Norman
    onorman@wilkes.net

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  17. My life is a bit crazy right now. My mom went into ICU a week ago (glad my dad called 911 first, then me). My sister had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday my hubby was admitted to the hospital with a possible heart attack! But God is good, and able to support us when we feel life is in a jumble. Mom is stable, sister is recovering and hubby is good - no heart damage.
    The quilt is beautiful.
    smoore (at) tcq (dot) net

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  18. Quilts are the best, O Norman. Especially when it's the work of a loved one.

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  19. Oh, Sharon, you have had a rough week. So glad that your sister is recovering, your husband's heart is okay and that your mom is doing as well as she can. You're right about the Lord carrying us through. He can make a way out of no way.

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  20. What a wonderful quilt, with so many memories..I love family heirlooms! angadair@nwcable.net

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  21. I love family heirlooms too, Angie, and my mother's house is full of items with family history. Some of the history is lost to us because no one listened soon enough.

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  22. Good morning Ann, I enjoyed your thoughts on your family’s special crazy quilt. When my life isn’t so crazy  I hope to start my own quilt but for now, I would like to share a quilt story with you. I lived in Flemingsburg until I married and since then, my home has been about 15 miles away, in Hillsboro.

    The church I started attending after my marriage has a long, rich history and a part of that history is a quilt that was made in the 1930s to raise money for the church. Apparently, a donation would allow you to write your name on a block and it was then embroidered and attached to the other blocks. This quilt was owned by a lady who had moved to Georgia but she made sure that the quilt was returned to its rightful home. I knew that my husband’s family would be among the names on the quilt but imagine my surprise, and my delight, when I discovered the names of my paternal grandparents, an aunt who died before I was born, and also a great aunt and great uncle. I knew that my father and his parents had lived in Hillsboro for a very short time when he was young but I had never connected them to this church.

    What was even more precious was that I was able to see my grandmother’s handwriting. Mamaw died when I was about 12 years old so I don’t recall ever seeing her signature! Since the quilt is in a special display unit in our fellowship hall, I can view it anytime and be reminded of all of the love that Edna Porter showed me in the short time we had together.

    Your reminiscing has made me realize that only God can create the wonderful patchwork we call our life. It also reinforced the belief that we should treasure every quilt, no matter how simple or elaborate, no matter how practical or decorative, as wonderful history books.

    Hope you have a wonderful Tuesday, Ann and thank you for jogging a wonderful memory.

    Connie

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  23. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Connie. What a treasure of memories for you and your church. I'm glad it's being preserved for all of you to enjoy. I do so enjoy reading the stories you have and those of other readers too. They make my journal so much better.

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  24. I am so happy to hear that even though you don't sleep under the quilt, it gets used, and is out so that people can see it. I so love the history that quilts hold, and hold every quilt in such high regard.

    You have the thought that goes into a quilt before you actually start making it.

    You have the work of making it, and with friends and family working together you are adding even more memories.

    You have the finished product, when you get to display it proudly.

    You have the moments you give it as a gift to someone - knowing all the love that is quilted into it.

    You have the moments years later when you can reflect on those who made it, think about their lives, think about the conversations they may have had.

    Quilts in my opinion are nothing but wonderful.

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  25. I agree, Belinda, quilts are wonderful. And I like thinking about the women who made them. My aunt made a quilt every winter. It was just what she thought she had to do, but she loved it. I thought about cutting out all those pieces and sewing them together and I headed for my notebook and pen. But she was a gifted seamstress and all her quilts were beautiful.

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  26. Great comparison. I always wished I had learned to quilt. I just was given two cats that were my daughters. Once before she gave me one. She took me 3 months to finally get close to - she's a very smart but scared kitty so she's a bully lol. I now am adding l l/2 and 5 1/2 yr. olds to the mix (have a 4 l/2 and 14 l/2 and 8 l/2 lol) and it's quite chaotic. One is very very shy and is going to take some TLC,

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  27. Not entering for book as I'm reading it. My Grandma made me a quilt and it was special,
    jrs362 at hotmail dot com

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  28. I love love love the quilt!!! I learned to quilt from my grandma, when I was little, she had a treadle sewing machine on the farm and told me to bring a bad of rags... She made rag rugs too. Your quilt is magnicifient...
    I would love o recieve an autograped book (~.~)
    THANKS FOR your memories.

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  29. Alvey wasn't our grandmother, but our great-grandmother. She was Granny's mother. It is a facinating bit of history.

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  30. Catslady, I don't have any cats now, but we had farm cats when I was a kid. My sister is the cat lady in our family and I'm the dog lady. But I like cats. Glad your new cat finally began to feel at home with you. Hope the shy one is feeling better there now. My niece has a cat that won't allow any other cats around. She's a real bully cat.

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  31. Hi, bunnythreads. What a lovely memory to cherish, working with your grandmother on a quilt. My mother and aunt had treadle sewing machine too. They were run by foot power. I used to enjoy sewing with them when I was a kid. My aunt was very talented with the needle and made all our school dresses.

    Thanks for reading and sharing your quilt memories. My mother also has rag rugs passed down to her from my dad's mother and aunts. Those are the ones who made the crazy quilt.

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  32. Jane, I know you treasure the quilt your grandmother made you. I do the one my aunt made me the year I was born.

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  33. Anonymous, I'm not sure what you exactly think I can do about you receiving comments from this post. Don't seem to be any new comments for a long time, but in case you do have a real concern about receiving comments after marking the get followup comments option, I think that is something you have to turn off yourself. There's probably an unsubscribe option on the comments you get in your e-mail. Wish I could help, but turning off the comment request would have to be done from your end.

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Thanks for joining the conversation. I like hearing what you have to say. Thanks for dropping by.