Quilts in January
This is the 5th year I've been doing Quilt Groups. I've done about 60 different themes, but I usually try to do a Quilt theme in January... when it's cold.
More and More and More
But with each year, there's more stuff, more to talk about and more to share.
The Growing Quilt
I had to share the colorful new quilt that is continuing to grow with each new square personalized by friends I've met around the old quilt. We read the messages and admired the drawings by kids and adults from different states and countries.
The other side of the quilt shows the printed fabrics. I've tried to find prints with images that spark memories and stories. I had some spare squares to pass around the table and everyone chose a square with a picture that related to them.
Cathy saw the chairs and was reminded of an artist who paints pictures of chairs. Marie picked the brown square with antique cars and told about the very first car she and her husband owned.
It was a hand-me-down model T that needed cranking to start the engine. Ken saw the colorful boats and instead of telling us a story about ships (I know he a few of those) he instead was reminded of the clothing of small children. Sweet.
Almost everyone in all my groups had quilting experience of their own, or at least a relative. But none had much desire or patience to take on quilting anymore. "Too much work!" Many laughed. Even the idea of quilting something small like the baby bib sounded overwhelming!
Who Else Quilts?
These miniature quilts reminded us of the Amish who chose bold colored fabric with no prints.
More Work of the Amish
Betty liked the simple design of the purple, black and blue potholder that I bought from a young Amish girl in Northern New York.
Margaret was eager to tell me about seeing Amish women selling quilts in Pennsylvania. "Oh must go and buy a quilt there!" I had to laugh at Margaret's eagerness. It doesn't take much to give me an excuse to hop in the car for a road trip. Chances are I'll end up taking Margaret's idea and dashing off on a quest for an Amish quilt!
Under the Table
Before I even shared the book, Stichin' and Pullin' by Patricia McKissack, Dot started sharing memories about being under her mother's quilt frame, "...just messing around, bumping into feet!" When she saw the illustration by Cozbi Cabrera, she laughed as if she remembered more.
More From Dot
Dot remembered how the quilt frame was set up near the fireplace, for warmth and light in her Louisana home. "Papa used to take my quilt and hold it up near the first, before bedtime. Then he'd wrap me up and carry me to bed!"
When I asked Dot if she learned to quilt from her mother, she shook her head vigorously. "Hoo no! I worked on one once and I got so mad, I just threw it in the fire!"
I showed the group a quilt I bought from a family in Mexico. The fabric in the quilt reminded many of the material in their old family quilts. "There were pieces of my old dresses in the quilts my mother made." Said Mary. "We never threw scraps away!" Donna added.
When I asked if there were any men who quilted, Ken said he didn't sew, but he had a special job when his mom and friends quilted. "I threaded the needle!" He laughed!
Quilts With the Kids
My 5th stop for Quilt Sharing was at the Shelter where we sat outside in the shade on top of the quilt. (The weather turned lovely that day) After a lot of discussion about how a quilt is different from a blanket and how many uses there are for quilts, the kids designed their own with tiny squares of fabric. It was a fun way to end our week.
What Did I Learn?
There's always something to be learned, around the quilt.
One child had a eureka moment, when she realized fabric and material were the same thing! I love it when I have eureka moments, but it's just as much fun to witness someone else having the experience!
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.