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Monday, March 28, 2011

Leaving a Legacy

Why do we quilt?  
Why do we spend time cutting up little pieces of fabric and putting them back together?
Why do we Quilters have fabric stashes to rival Jo-Ann's or some other commercial fabric store?
Why do I stay up til the wee hours of the morning when I'm "in the zone" with my needle or sewing machine?

I think for most of us it's all in the GIVING!  Most every quilt or sewing project I'm working on ends up as a gift.  I have very few of the items I've made over the years.  In fact, #1 Hubby asked for a quilt the other night when the temps dipped down on one of those winter/spring evenings when Old Man Winter keeps hanging on to his icy grip.  He remarked that it certainly was strange to live with a woman who did little else but quilt and the hardest item to find in our house is a Quilt!!

Why do you quilt?  
For me, I see more than A PRETTY QUILT when I look at a quilt my mother made.  I'm reminded of where she was or what was going on in our family at the time of her stitching the quilt.  I can picture Mama sitting on the end of my couch stitching the "Sun Bonnet Sue" quilt and spilling her coffee on two of the squares.  I found those extra squares the other day complete with coffee stains and all.  I'm grateful for not having cleaned those coffee stains!  I touched those stains and felt an instant connection with Mama. Here is the quilt made with the CLEAN squares... however, I treasure the coffee stained squares found tucked away with some old cotton quilting fabric from my mother's sewing box.

We, Quilters, are leaving a Legacy...a Legacy of family, 
a Legacy of Home
a Legacy of Childhood...Parents...Grandparents...

 On my oldest Daughter's Wedding Day, each guest was asked to write a message on a fabric square to be later made into a memory quilt.  I knew so little about the correct way to make a memory or signature quilt as they are often called.  I didn't know I was supposed to put a stabilizer under the fabric to be signed.  I didn't know to mark the seam allowances to keep the signatures from "disappearing" into the seams.

In putting the squares together, I made one of the squares "wonky"... by ACCIDENT I might add.  When I realized it was wonky, the quilt had already been quilted and binding sewed on.  Was I going to rip the whole thing out in order to fix it?  Not on your life!  

My daughter was actually thrilled with the wonky square and told me it made the quilt more like me and even more loved.  She even suggested that I make sure every quilt I made have something "wonky" to be discovered by the recipient.  I told her I wouldn't have to worry about intentionally making a mistake...I would make a mistake accidentally and you could count on that!
BTW, Can you find the Wonky Block??  It's there!!

That little quilted coat at top was made by "BIG GRANDMA" my Great Grandmother.  She made sure EVERY child, Grandchild, Great Grandchild and even Great Great Grandchild had a homemade gift from her every Christmas.  I remember the sweet little aprons she made for me or the precious little dresses& matching bonnets.   

What a Legacy she left for her family!  
Wrapped in white tissue paper & tied in curling ribbon...every child in her world received a present made from Big Grandma!

I only wish Big Grandma had labeled the items she sewed.  I now understand the importance of labeling our quilts/handmade items in order to leave our Legacy once we're gone.

My greatest Legacy is my children and my Grandchildren.  I want the things I make for them to last and to be treasured once they're old enough to appreciate them.  I hope their parents will teach them to honor a handmade gift from Grandmama.  I am much more proud of something I make than something I go out and buy for one of them.

My Mother -in-law taught me to love quilts and honor the quilter.  Here she is with all her Great Grandchildren.  What a legacy!!!  She has made something for each one!




  1. My sentiments exactly! I make quilts because I love to quilt and I give quilts because I love the recipient. I don't care that they aren't perfect - neither am I but God made me the way I am and that's good enough for me. :) blessings, marlene

  2. I to agree, I never had anybody in my life growing up who sewed or quilted etc. My Mom was a working Mom and never did anything crafty. I am just the opposite and have been making Christmas gifts etc since I got married,mostly self taught but I love it. But when I finally learned to quilt I found my love. Like you Jane I haven't one quilt in my home that I have made but I have always loved giving to others. I made a pillowcase for one of my grandson and he carried it everywhere telling everyone my Grammy made it for me. Love and blessings Sandra

  3. What a lovely post.....says a lot about why we quilt! I have some lovely linen embroidered by women in my mother's family and I love them, but once I am gone they will probably be dispersed. But that's OK too, so long as the new owner loves them as much as I do.

  4. This is why we sew, quilt and make things with our HANDS, each is a part of our HEARTS being given away! So true!

  5. This is such a wonderful post!! LOVED seeing the photos & following you down memory lane.

    One of the gals who first got me to start sewing & quilting said to me "Rett, if you learn to sew, you'll never be bored again." How TRUE!!!


Blessings to all of you who have taken the time to leave your thoughtful comments. I read each one and hope you will come back often!

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