Piecing it Together
Well before I was born, my great-grandmother sewed together two large quilts using scraps of fabric found around her home. Bound with yarn and backed with fabric akin to an old produce sack, they are warmer than any other blanket I've cuddled underneath.
Suffice it to say, I love these quilts dearly.
When I moved to Ripon for college, I packed one along to bring a bit of comfort to my dorm room. When I moved into my first solo apartment in Madison, one became a cover to a hand-me-down futon. When I settled into my current apartment with Dave, one became a point of pride to showcase my family's work in the home I have built with someone I love.
This pair of quilts mean a whole heck of a lot to me. Maybe a bit too much.
My life has been in a slight bit of upheaval over the past few weeks, personally and professionally. My grandmother, at the age of 90, isn't doing as well as she once was. I have been close to her since birth; she helped raise me and took care of me after school and during summer breaks when my parents were working. Knowing I am so far away to help is incredibly difficult, so I made the decision to do what any typical twenty-nine year old would: I made a quilt.
The quilt from my great-grandmother Schmidt is something that I cherish so dear. Although it was made by my grandmother's mother-in-law, something about making a tangible object out of nothing seemed like it could quiet my mind. So I sewed.
My free time was spent sewing small squares of fabric together, inch by inch; row by row. As each night progressed, I started to see the shape of an actual blanket come together. I cut my hand with sewing needles. I missed stitches and created tiny holes where some of the corners came together. I had a hard time matching up rows to columns and have off-kilter lines where they should be straight. I hand-stitched the edging, stopping only to iron pleats and re-string needles. By the end, I finished a quilt, by myself. A bit for me, but a lot to honor my grandmother.
She may not be completely responsible for the initial family quilt I own. But she is responsible for teaching me how to sew and to turn my creative energy into something tangible. For that, I am forever grateful for her patience and kindness as she taught me a major tenet of who I am and what I can do.