When Mama retired from the job in town, I got to spend more time with her. My husband and girls were back in school so I would go over, spend a few hours quilting with her, and eat the wonderful meal she always prepared; delicious, baked sweet potatoes were always waiting for me. I knew my stitches were not as neat and tidy as hers, even though her fingers were knotted from arthritis. She never complained about my stitches, but rather encouraged me to continue.
By this time she was entering quilts in the county fair and most always won blue ribbons. One of the most tedious tops she pieced was called Joseph’s Coat of Many Colors. It was made from melon shaped pieces, each one from a different fabric. Can’t you just imagine what a chore it must have been to get perfect points where those melons joined? She had developed her own technique of using a little gathering thread to draw them together. This is a picture of one of her Joseph’s Coats.
Now I had pieced a few tops myself and did machine quilting but was never really pleased with the stitching on them. I believe the first top I pieced was a Drunkard’s Path; I was a teenager at the time. Each block was made from a different print and the solid parts were made from feed sacks that had been dyed a light blue. That quilt, all faded and tattered, is now in my husband’s tool shed, used to cover things in cold weather. I went on to more difficult patterns such as the Double Wedding Ring, made from scraps given to me by my husband’s grandmother. It became one of the first quilts I quilted by hand.
Daddy made some quilting frames for me and soon I was laying out lining, batting and top on the carpet, pinning and rolling it all up. That was such a chore for me and became even worse as I aged. So, sometime back, my husband made some new frames for me; they have three rollers and now I can put up a quilt in a jiffy, by myself, standing up, and the whole thing is neater and smoother.
These are my frames: no fancy additions, just very workable; also a nice cabinet for storing completed quilts and tops. (The quilt is called String Bars, from the book, Liberated String Quilts by Gwen Marston.) I'll have to learn how to put the pictures in the right place. For some reason they want to load in front of the script.
This is my sewing area, with cabinets also made by my husband, from oak harvested from our own land. It was supposed to have doors on the upper shelves, but I’ve come to like the open look. My machine is a simple Singer; I like the control I have over the speed but it drives me nuts when it comes to unthreading the needle unless I have the needle positioned to come down before cutting the thread.
Next post I will continue the quilting saga. Have a good day!!