I interrupt your regularly scheduled Quilt Festival blogging to get a little personal this weekend. My quilting friend Cheryl Sleboda had a neat idea: to host a blog hop among art quilters who could share one quilt that a family member had made.
Here’s the blog hop schedule:
The “My Family Quilt” Blog Hop!
Oct 1. - Sylvia Lewis
Oct 3. - Deborah Massie Boschert
Oct 4. - Sheila Frampton-Cooper
Oct 5. - Pokey Bolton
Oct 6. - Frieda Anderson
Oct 7. - Lisa Chin
Oct 8. - Cheryl Sleboda
Meet the quilt maker of my family, my great-grandmother on my mother’s side, Julia Connor:
Coming from very meager means, my great grandmother (“Gram” to me) learned to triumph in her life by being very creative, resourceful, and generous. She quilted, made dolls, painted, and could basically take any bit of paper or fabric and fashion it into some kind of art.
When I was a little girl, I spent lots of time talking with her when she visited her daughter (my grandmother “Ruthie” who I called “Fooie” because I could not articulate my “R’s” as a little girl). A favorite past time was driving down to Fooie’s home where my brother and I would race into the my grandmother’s room where one of her mother’s quilts would be, nose dive onto the bed “to pull the quilt up to our noses,” and listen to all of the family gossip.
Over the years I had learned of the challenging life my great grandmother led, but she remained positive, determined to see the beauty in any situation.
The last time I saw my Gram was when she was 98 years old, living in a modest nursing facility outside of Eureka, CA. My mother, brother, and I went to visit her, and she shared with us her greatest and latest gift: mailed correspondence with another nursing home patient in Eugene, OR. I remember watching her elderly, papery hands lovingly trace the stickers on the outside of the envelope, commenting, “Look! Do you see how she added stickers with butterflies and lady bugs? How thoughtful!”
My Gram passed a year later at 99. She was a lovely woman to me, a positive force in my life, a glass-is-half-full type of person, teaching me that any hardship is surmountable if you have the right attitude.
Lucky for me, when I took a big brave step in my life and moved to Houston, I had one of my great grandmother’s quilts to accompany me. It is one of my most cherished treasures.
My (great) grandmother’s flower garden quilt, entirely hand pieced and stitched, and done so with a whole lot of love.
I had the quilt on my bed for the first few months I was living in Houston, but Clarence (ever an energetic dog) proved to be too much for this quilt, so it is now retired to the sofa table in my family room where I’ve stacked a number of fragile quilts.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy it every once in a while…
And still snuggle under, making sure to bring the quilt all the way up to our noses!