Sunday, September 14, 2008

I love quilts.

There's just something about a hand made quilt. It must be the sum total of everything...the fact that the design of a quilt is inherently comfortable combined with the fact that anyone hand making something like that is going to use good materials along with the fact that someone sweated over the thing for so many hours. I've rarely met a quilt I didn't like, but perhaps that comes from the fact that I grew up with so many around...

You see, my great grandmother Whisnant quilted most of her life away. She loved making them. She occasionally sold one, but I think most of them went to family. As I was growing up and would visit her I'd constantly ask "when do I get one?" to which she usually replied that she had to finish this one or that for someone who had been waiting longer than I had. So I waited patiently. Then one visit she presented me with a beautiful quilt with matching pillows. It was amazing. I was speechless. She asked if I liked it and I assured her it was awesome. At some point during that visit she made mention of me using it. Say WHAT? I replied that there was no way I could use was too beautiful to take a chance at messing it up.

Now she was speechless. And somewhat confused, I think. So I added that I had waited a long time and she had spent MANY hours making this beautiful thing FOR ME. There was no way I could use it as I wanted to keep it forever, since we both knew she wouldn't be around too much longer and I needed it to help remember her by. She had outdone herself on this particular quilt, I thought, as it was a huge pattern of hexagons each only about two inches across. Too many hours went into it to simply use. This stymied her arguing about it, though I could tell it bothered her that her creation would not be getting used. We both moved on and I took my quilt home and vowed to have a place to proudly display it one day (we do now display it on the wall of our living room across an antique two-man saw that's about six feet long).

Imagine my surprise, when, at my next visit she presented me with ANOTHER quilt! This one was what I'll term a "quicky" as it was simply two layers of cotton fabric with a thin layer of batting in the middle and was stitched in about six inch squares. It was also HUGE. She said I could have this one, too, but only if I promised to USE this one. I shook my head in agreement, gave her a hug, and gladly accepted it. I used it all through college and still occasionally use it to this day. It's a prized possession, but a promise is a promise. I really miss that lady.

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