Last week I finished a small lap quilt. It turned out rather well even if the stitches aren't as small and even as they used to be. I get such pleasure from putting fabric together to make something beautiful and uselful. There is one very old quilt which is very special to me. It is too old and too heavy to be used much today but that quilt is where my love of quilting began.
Actually, it began in the garage with the wooden quilting frames hanging on ropes from the ceiling. The metal clamps at the corners of the frames held them together and could be loosened to roll the finished portion of the quilt under and allow the quilters to reach the unquilted portions. The garage was cool in the summer mornings and that was nice in the years before air conditioning moved everyone inside all the time. The quilt top was made of squares of fabric left over from skirts and nightgowns and blouses. The filling for this particular quilt was a World War II woolen Army blanket. The back of the quilt was larger pieces of fabric pieced together. My friends and I played jacks on the cool concrete floor of the garage under the quilt while our mothers quilted and chatted and smoked. That quilt was much too thick for me to learn how to quilt on but that is the first quilt I remember and I still have it.
There were many other quilts for me to learn on. I learned how to piece the fabrics together into interesting patterns with colors that complimented each other. I learned how to make the corners and points come together. I learned to make my own patterns. My early quilting stitches were "long enough to catch your toe in" but gradually I learned how to rock the needle back and forth through the quilt with my thimble. How grown up I felt when I could sit at the quilting frame and quilt.
I've made many quilts since those days in the garage. Today I buy fabric because there are no scraps left over from home made clothes but it is still fun to pick out the colors and patterns to go together. Many pleasant hours of my life have been spent in the company of other quilters, quilting and chatting. And it all started in the garage under a quilting frame.