I have had the rich privilege of being allowed to join a quilting group that’s been active for over 30 years now. I am not a real quilter, but I do have a good hand with a needle, so after a probationary first session in which I had to quilt without a knot in my thread, I passed muster enough to get to stay (and knot my thread!;)) This group of women is a delight, and it’s such fun to be quilting downtown with tourists and local shoppers coming in and watching over our shoulders, visiting with us (we visit plenty all on our own, though–on every topic under the sun!)
So I was absolutely delighted to be able to return the favor recently and be of some help to them! One of the members had found a torn and stained quilt top at the local thrift shop, one with blocks with names embroidered on them and a few dated 1930. She cleaned and repaired it, then brought it to the group to quilt (the group quilts at a seniors’ handcrafts shop, with all proceeds going to the shop’s operating expenses.)
As we quilted, much speculation went on as to who these people were, but these are old-school quilters, not internet aficionados, and I realized that perhaps I could help them find out via the magic of search engines–eh, voila! I started finding connections and eventually came up with a phone number for one of the names on the quilt. It’s not my quilt, however, so I didn’t call but instead printed up a bunch of the history I’d gathered and took it to the next quilting. The group was fascinated by what I’d uncovered, and the quilt’s owner did make that call–only to discover that the quilt top was pieced by the mother of the person at the other end of the phone!
We still have a mystery, since the daughter has no idea how the top made its way from a tiny town about 200 miles away into the local thrift shop, but we know now that it was a fundraiser for a tiny country church in a town of about 300 in the middle of Texas. We finished the quilting, the owner finished the binding, and she now plans to take the quilt to the now-mid-80s daughter of the original quilter. As a bonus, the daughter says that the embroidered handwriting in the names is her mother’s hand…how special is that?
Quilting is history made tangible, and the devotion embedded in a quilter’s stitches can truly be a timeless legacy. I am loving this fascinating new world I’ve entered!