Every quilt has a story. That’s what I used to tell my first graders. We did a unit on quilts that involved bringing in favorite blankies and quilts, writing about them, making paper “quilts” with wallpaper and construction paper scraps, reading quilt storybooks, and using one-inch graph paper to color famous quilt patterns. That unit was one of my favorites.
I am not a quilter, but I love the patterns, the stories, and the look. Let me tell you about some of my quilts. My first quilt arrived in a box at Christmas in the 1980’s. On the morning of, I wept when I recognized my paternal grandmother’s patchwork from old flour sacks, gathered in the 1940’s before I was born. My grandmother died in 1976. She had probably put some of those pieces together when I was a toddler. My sister had saved the top, and given it to me.
I was instructed on how to put the quilt together—an old bed sheet for backing, batting in the middle, and the pieced layer on top. Sew the three together, bind the edges, and tie. Two of my grandsons and I tied that quilt another Christmas, and I still use it.
Knowing of my love for quilts, two groups of students and parents gave me quilts to mark milestones. The first came from the parents and my original first graders in my mulitage class. They were the ones that took a chance on a brand new program with a very old concept…sort of the one-room school idea. I taught those kids from first through third grades, with new first graders coming in each year, and the older ones moving up. Those original kids each made a square particular of his or her personality, when they left for fourth grade. Then, upon my retirement, another group of beautiful moms got together, sewed in secret, and presented me with a “career” quilt. Among the squares are photos of my many years of teaching in the school district. Both of these keepsakes are still appreciated, used, and loved. Having the gift of tears, of course, I wept.
Every quilt has a story. My current quilt that I am actually making this time has one, too. Next post, I’ll share its story. Until then, here’s a picture of my retirement quilt. And here come those tears again, from remembering. Hoo-boy.