“When you lay under a quilt, you lay under love”
Quilting to me is a difficult thing to understand. My grandmother (Glenna) on the other hand is an expert. She loves to quilt and will never stop. “I find I have the most free time in the winter. I do a lot more quilting in the winter months than any other time of the year. It’s a labor of love. I hope my family can treasure them when I’m gone.”
My grandmother got into quilting when her aunt gave her a mini sewing machine. She cherished this machine until she got a bigger one. Grandma says she feels like when she is quilting she is closer to her aunt.
My grandma’s first quilting project was a baby blanket she made when pregnant with her first child. She felt like she had mastered a new craft. Now she is working on a family Victorian quilt. When she gets done with it, my grandma wants future generations to look at it and say, “Grandma was a pretty cool person.” She has gotten many first place ribbons on her quilts.
Quilting became popular in the 19th century. Back then, and even to this day, the quality of a quilt was measured in how many stitches were in one inch of the quilt. My grandmother told me that “Indians believed that if you don’t make at least one noticeable mistake, it was bad luck. This is because you were then competing with God.” Grandma makes a noticeable mistake in every quilt she makes.
She said she really would love to try a freestyle quilt. This is where quilters make their own designs and pictures with thread. When grandma finishes the Victorian quilt she is working on now, she is going to tack it. Tacking is where the needle and thread are pulled through the back of the fabric, the thread is clipped, leaving an inch on each end. These ends are then tied in a knot, which pulls the front to the back.
Grandma has embellished most of the quilts she has made. Embellishing is when decorative elements are added to the surface of a quilt to add a three-dimensional or whimsical effect. Grandma told me that none of these basics are hard to learn, though there are styles that are more difficult to master. She said, “My favorite would have to be the embellished style.”
While grandma said she loves to quilt, she said it does take time to complete one. With eight grandchildren to enjoy, she says sometimes it’s hard to find time to quilt. When she does, however, she does outstanding work and creates a beautiful piece of history that may be enjoyed for generations to come.
Interviewee: Glenna R.