Ties that Bind

One of the good things about moving, as in moving your possessions from one place to another, is that you rediscover things to which you had previously never given much thought.  No, I am not moving, but Mom has moved.  Almost.  We have almost gotten all her stuff settled into our/her basement apartment.  She has been a collector of things.  Lots and lots of things.  And one of the things that she has collected over the years, has been quilts.  She was not a quilter, but she does love quilts.  And of all the lovely quilts that she has in her collection, I have rediscovered one.  We have determined that my fraternal great-grandmother must have made this one.

Rumor has it that great-grandmother did not get along very well with her daughter-in-law, my grandmother.  It seems that my grandmother used this quilt  as a padding under her nice, white linen tablecloth for Sunday dinners.  She had obviously trimmed it down just to fit her dining table, as there is no binding, only four raw edges  Get the idea?  Boy, was she 'dissin' her mother-in-law!    And, this same quilt was used by my mother under her nice, white linen tablecloths for her holiday dinners.  I always loved the nice cushion that it provided as we laid out the china and silver on the table.  And it absorbed any noise as well as the wet rings from the iced tea glasses as our large family dined.  A very nice table protector, indeed.

Now, I have discovered a new relationship with this quilt.  As stained and ragged as it might be, I think that the calico fabrics could possibly be from the mid 1800's.  It is beautifully quilted, although I do not know she could have made those tiny stitches through such an extremely thick and heavy batting.  Never the less,  I want to make a replica of my great grandmother's quilt.  I never met her, nor my grandmother, but this can be my way to connect to these steel magnolias.  I find myself conjuring up stories of their past.  The strings that tie us together.

So I am off in search of fabrics that will closely resemble the originals in this quilt.  Most of them look to be from shirtings of that era.  There are blacks, blues, purples, golds, reds, greens.  Of course they are very, very faded and many of the fabrics are in shreds.  But that only adds to the fun.  Wonder what those ladies would think of all this?  Scraps, strings and stars.