Growing up, my family had about 10 quilts made by various grandmothers and great grandmothers that ranged from 20 to probably 60 years old.
All of these quilts were stored in the hall closet, folded roughly and squished into the shelves wherever they fit best. They were also washed, in the washing machine, as often as they were used.
It's no surprise those quilts are in pretty bad shape today.
Of course, these quilts were made to be USED: dragged around the house, slept on, played with, washed roughly, and generally abused. I have no doubt that my grandmothers and great grandmothers made these quilts for this purpose and might not have understood the idea of hanging quilts on a wall.
The one thing that strikes me, and the reason I bring this issue up today, is these are some of the only pieces of these women left. They must have had clothes and jewelry and photo albums and a whole lifetime's worth of dishes, but what is left? Only their quilts.
Unfortunately, while the quilts are here, I have no idea who actually made them. No name tags were ever stitched to the back of them, so they could have easily been created by my Great Grandma Harrison or one of her many sisters, or they might have come from the Gray or Webb side of my family.
I have no way of knowing if these quilts are even what I think they are - a link to the women of my past. They could just as easily be relics of a distant cousin three times removed!
I'm not meaning to be depressing here, but looking through the closed today, I was struck by just how little I know about these quilts and it made me sad.
No, they weren't treated well, so no, they're not in the best shape. But it would be so nice to know who made them. Even though I probably never met her, and if I asked other family members, I would only learn the vaguest details of her life, it would be something I would love to know.
I believe quilts link us to the past. Growing up sleeping under them, building tent forts in the living room, seeing sunlight play through the beautiful piecing - all of it contributed to my love of fabric and quilting as an adult.
What's the point of all this rambling?
We're getting into the middle of August, and I don't know about you, but I'm starting to feel that insatiable pull the impending holiday season brings. How many quilts will you make this fall to give away to family and friends for Christmas?
While I know it might take some extra time and I know you might not be in the habit of it, please take the time to tag your quilts.
At least write your name somewhere on the back because in 20 or 40 or 60 years, someone else you never knew might have your quilt. Give her someone to thank for making it. At least share your name.
Let's go quilt,