Tonight I’m feeling a bit wistful at the thought of finally completing my grandmother’s quilt. It’s been a project that on one hand, I have treasured, but on the other hand, has had me terrified – terrified that the finished product would not be something that my grandmother would have liked, or that I would not be up to completing the task correctly.
There have been some major hurdles – trying to decipher the pattern for the blocks by trial and error - coming up with a design that incorporated both my grandmother’s blocks, and my aunt’s dark gold border around them - finding era-appropriate fabric - and making that fabric look “old” so that it would blend in with the 1940s feed sacks my grandmother used. These problems solved, I was making good progress reproducing the blocks until I figured out a way to “improve” them, and ultimately rendering most of them unusable in the process. Frustrated, I set the project aside for more than two months. I finally got inspired again last night and salvaged four of the blocks, to complete the corners. I was able to keep the dark gold border done by my aunt, thereby making this a “three generation quilt.”
This evening, as I pin-basted the quilt to the batting and backing, listening to the howling wind and snow outside, I thought of the first quilt I ever made – a Dresden plate made from another grandmother’s blouses. It, too, was basted on what was (up until tonight) the worst blizzard we’ve had since moving here, twenty-some years ago. It seems I do my most significant work while the snow piles up outside.
Basting completed, it will next be hand-quilted, once I come up with a design. I’ve jumped the most difficult hurdles with the quilt and it should be easy enough from this point on, which almost makes me a little sad. After 70 years, and three generations, the quilt is nearly complete. It will be the end of an era.