Nestled cozily in the Library of Congress, waiting for me to discover it tonight while doing research, the photograph above shows members of the Meadows of Dan Baptist Church quilting group hand quilting a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt on a frame. Isn’t it marvelous?
Quilts have wrapped around me, covered the ground under me, and been pulled over me my whole life. As a tot, I sat on a lap I had to share with a wooden hoop (didn’t mind.) I played under tables in church basements while quilts were basted above me. Spools of thread were great tables for my sisters and my Sullivan Family figurines. Being immersed like this means I have had a deep love for the American patchwork quilt for a long time, almost like a person loves her country. There’s no question, almost no notice taken of the love and honor one has for it; it’s just who you are.
As a result of this immersion and by sheer osmosis I’ve known a fair bit about quilts and quiltmaking for some time — even when I wasn’t making quilts myself.
My “quilt epiphany” happened right around the time I got sick. Life as I knew it was falling to pieces, and it made perfect sense to tear fabric up into pieces and sew it back together again, but prettier. Growing along with my passion for making quilts grew a deep and abiding love for the history of the American quilt, the story of the thing, the reasons why, the hows, the styles, etc. And so my quilt geekhood has ripened into true geekdom. I could talk double-pinks and madder browns all day, I think. The stories, the people, the quilts themselves never get old. Even when they are old.
This post has taken me well over an hour to compose and it’s still not right. My brain is in a fog. The diet is very difficult. My guts feel better — honestly, they do. In fact, there are several reasons to be extremely happy with the results of this major change so far.
But I’m slow. And I’m foggy. And I keep looking at those women quilting and I would like to crawl under the table and be six.