Thursday, December 8, 2011
The Coziness of Quilts
While cleaning out the family farm, we found a small pieced quilt top in browns. It is less than a twin bed size, maybe slightly more than a lap robe. I love quilts but do not have the patience to sew them. I grew up under a ton of quilts. I remember being so small that when I would wake from a childhood nap and before I got up, tracing the shapes of the piece work. I especially remember a quilt with faceless little girls wearing sun bonnets. I also recall recognizing certain fabrics that I had worn once in handmade dresses or seen in garments my grandmother wore. I felt wrapped in love under those quilts.
Years ago, I acquired a flower garden quilt top pieced by my great-grandmother in Oklahoma. A local woman quilted the work for me, and while it was expensive, I thought the results worth it. The lady said she had always wanted to quilt a flower garden, but she would never do it again due to the work involved. The quilt was not perfect. My great-grandmother left one place irregular because she believed bad spirits would be trapped in a perfect work. So an irregular place was left to let the bad spirits go free.
I read how quilt patterns were used in the Underground Railroad to direct escaping slaves to freedom. Quilts would be hung on porch rails or fences with certain patterns like flying geese pointing in a certain direction for the slaves to traqvel. Other patterns warned of unsafe situations so slaves could tell from a distance whether to hide or advance. What a wonderful piece of folklore.
Many people hang quilts or fold them on shelves while never considering actually using them. What a waste, although using them will eventually wear them out I suppose. But somehow the warmth of those covers, being cradled in hand sewn stitches, is somehow just more soothing than dreaming under microfibers!