Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Family Quilt

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I didn’t even know it existed…

I’ve always heard people referring to their “family quilt”, one made by a great-grandmother, or great-great auntie…I didn’t think we had one in our family…

Well, we actually do.  My great-great grandmother Augusta made a beautiful crazy quilt around the turn of the century, but it’s in a small museum in northern Arizona…beautiful, but untouchable…

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My mother proudly took me into her large closet this last week to show me some shelves that my father had built, and I saw it…

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“What’s that?”, I asked…

“Sarah’s quilt”, she said, almost casually…..

“Sarah, as in great-great-grandma Sarah?!”

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And so it was.  I never knew we had it…shows what happens when you never ask!

Imagine my joy when my mother gave it to me while I was there…what a wonderful gift!

It’s not fancy.  It’s not perfect…but it was made with her beautiful, aged hands…

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The hands of a woman born on a Virginia plantation during the Civil War…hands that helped her husband carve out an existence in rough and tumble Arizona in the late 1800s…

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…the hands of a skilled midwife who delivered 1,600 babies during her lifetime…and “never lost a mother or a baby”, as she herself recalled…

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It’s a quilt made with those hands…and I love it.

My guess, due to the fabric patterns, is that it was made in the 193os.  Sarah passed away in 1940.

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My plan was to have my husband make a beautiful rod to hang it on—a lovely place on a large, blank wall already chosen in my mind…

DSC09328_edited-1 {I love the traditional, old “pinwheel” pattern that Sarah chose for her quilt so long ago…}

The morning before we left, I was organizing our things…getting ready to pack up the car.

The quilt, which had been in our room, carefully folded, was nowhere to be seen—I was in a bit of a panic!

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I found it…not too much later.  My oldest daughter—the new college graduate for whom we had all gathered to celebrate—had sleepily looked for the comfort of a warm blanket late the night before, when the rest of the house was sound asleep…

…and she found one.

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I found my great-great-grandmother’s quilt, still rumpled by the pillow where my daughter had slept--and I realized something…

That’s just precisely what Sarah would have wanted.

DSC09334_edited-1 {a new page made this week for my family stories album}

She didn’t spend hours and months on her quilt for it to be hung on a wall…not to  be touched.  She meant for it to be wrapped around the ones she loved…to comfort and warm a sleeping child…

I think Sarah would be very pleased...

Julie

 DSC09308_edited-1 {my youngest daughter, Annie, willingly snuggled with her great-great-great grandmother’s quilt for a photo}

{lovely vintage label & scalloped journaling paper from Crafty Secrets’ “Creating with Vintage Illustrations” CD, vintage thimble ad also from Crafty Secrets}

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