Quilts have always played a part in my life. Whether it was stretching one out between chairs to create a fort or layering them on the bed in the winter time, they were always in use. I can remember as a kid piling 3 or 4 of them on my bed at one time. The weight of them would make it all but impossible to move around once you had wriggled your way all the way under them. It would also feel so good when it was cold and you could feel the warmth under the quilts knowing that the air outside of the quilt cocoon you had made for yourself was nippy. Some times I would have to try to lift the blanks just a bit to let some cooler air under to refresh the warmth that had built up to an almost uncomfortable about of heat. No place on earth felt more comfortable.
As I got older I had the opportunity to learn from my grandmothers how to put the material and batting in a quilting rack for making quilts. As they got older and found the activity more strenuous, I was the “go to” guy on setting up the material initially and also was the person responsible for turning the quilt as they worked their way down the length of it… creating those wonderful patterns. I would tack the back of the quilt down and spread the batting out evenly over it. Then I would place the top on it. My grandmothers and I would discuss the finer points about which direction to place the top (although it didn’t matter, they seemed to always have a preference… or maybe it was just to make me turn it around several times). I particularly loved the old cotton batting that doesn’t exist anymore. I can remember going to the store and seeing stacks and stacks of the plastic bags just filled with the raw cotton that would become my insulation of choice in the coming winters.
I loved the patterns… the Gentleman’s Bow tie… the Log Cabin… the Crazy Quilt… I smile every time I see one now and wonder… Did the maker of the quilt use those same sort of racks that I was familiar with… did they use a cotton batting or polyester….. did the making of quilt help create a relationship that would last forever?
I miss my grandmothers and the quilt making days… and I miss the quilts too… I wonder if I’ll ever find that comfort again….