I am attracted to quilts. This attraction began over 25 years ago when one of my sisters sent me a quilt-top pieced by our paternal grandmother from 1930’s feed sacks and scraps from clothing. My sister told me how to use a bedsheet as a backing, layer batting between the top and bottom, and suggested I tie it. With my two young grandsons, I did just that, and slept under it until the batting wore through the top.
From there, I began to use quilting as a teaching tool. First graders brought their “blankies” to class and learned to write their quilt stories. I read quilting picture books aloud. Surprisingly, there are a plethora of them. We used kid graph paper and rulers to crayon classic patterns and colored in the lights and darks to practice mathematical concepts. I taught the “3 R’s” through a quilting theme, because every quilt has a story, and if you don’t know the story, a new one is created. Two different groups of school parents and students gifted me with quilts at significant teaching milestones in my career. I cherish these quilts.
Still, I have never made a quilt from start to finish myself. I went to “quilt camp” with my quilting sister and have about eight blocks completed. I reconfigured antique squares into a top, as yet, unfinished. The closest I’ve come to making my own is to put together Grandma’s log cabin squares into a tied quilt. Making my own quilt is on “My Life’s Desires” list.
Here in Wisconsin, many barns display a large quilt pattern. They are painted on huge plywood squares and attached to the mostly red buildings. Each is registered and unique. Even the local Piggly Wiggly grocery store has a barn quilt displayed with the trademark Piggy in the center. Seeing these huge works of American art proudly posted on the barns and buildings is appealing to me. There are giant, colorful churn dashes, bow ties, and flying geese. They remind me of how our old timers made use of everything before we became a throw-away people.
When I toodle up and down these country roads, I am so happy to be here, to be free, to be among my loved ones, and to be, yes, an American.