Friday, March 23, 2012
My First Quilt
Some little friends came to visit a while ago and so we got out an old suitcase full of dollies. It was full of clothes, many of them handmade by my mother and grandmother. Some of them are obviously baby clothes that I and my siblings wore. There were also several doll quilts from several generations. Unfortunately most of them had been damaged in a fire years ago. But in amongst the treasures was this wee quiltie. It is all hand sewn and stuffed with what feels like lumps of batting. It is the perfect size to cover my tiny tears doll. I'm not sure where my doll is, but I still have the quilt. It is the first quilt I ever made, sitting under the treadle machine while my grandmother stitched away.
Grandma had and electric machine. It was stored on the sunporch. She always used a treadle machine. It sat in the dining room window and overlooked the farm yard. She was always sewing something. When I was small, she would make dresses for everyone. Many of her sisters were much younger and then I was the youngest granddaughter. She would make matching dresses. I didn't get in on the earliest chains of dresses but I did get the same dress in multiple sizes on occasion. She also made pajamas. We always had the best pajamas in the world. The cutest kittens and clowns and other designs.
When she wasn't sewing, she embroidered pillowcases and crocheted lace trim. We all had our own sets. I had the cutest set of sheep and a set with pink clover. We used them! There are sets, fancy sets with flowers that were saved, but the ones I love the best are the ones I slept on every night.
She made 'fancy' quilts. She even entered one in the county fair. We have our embroidered and quilted baby quilts. She also made comforters. We always had comforters with heavy cotton or woolen batting, tied with wool yarn. Some were pieced some were whole cloth. They had flannel backs.
I had one comforter that was actually two sewn together. Mom tells me now that the two were too small so she sewed them together. Not end to end, they overlapped in the middle. There was a space, kind of like a tent. I used to crawl into it and pretend.
I don't think I really understood that there was such a thing as a store bought blanket until I was in my first apartment. I still didn't really get it, because for my whole life, if I wanted new bedding, I picked out the fabric, took it to grandma and she made me a comforter. She also usually managed to make a chair pad, a lap robe and a couple of little pillow covers to go along with it. I have beautiful sets in pale blue and pink and green.
She was still sewing when my husband and I were first dating. She always wanted fabric to sew. I took him to the store and he picked out the strangest collection of fabrics for her, black birds, pink hearts, red scissors, green patterns. I don't think my grandmother ever swore, but she had some spluttering words for how hard it was to put those fabrics together. It is a beautiful comforter.
Those were the special things she made. But she was always sewing. I have no way of beginning to count the things she made for charity. She made bibs and gowns for the nursing homes. She made lap robes and pads. She made them by what seemed like the hundreds. There was always something going. And she did it all on a treadle machine.
As a kid, I sat under the treadle machine, next to the East Lake cupboard and stitched away. That is unless there was a quilt on the frame. Then I sat under the quilt!
I'll have to root out some of these quilts and share some more pictures with you all. They really are beautiful.
Sharing my little story with the lovely folks who link up with Connie.