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Making quilts in the old days
Rainy Days and Starry NightsMarch 6, 2013 | 1,021 views | Post a comment
Daddy made the quilt frame that hung from the ceiling that Mother made quilts on. It was about 8 to 10 feet square and hung from the ceiling with small ropes. The four corners were held with bolts and wing nuts. Small ropes attached to the corners reached to the ceiling. When Mother loosened the ropes, the frame could be lowered to a sitting position.
I wonder how many women remember sitting around the quilt frame, making tiny stitches to quilt the patchwork quilt? The quilt may have a beautiful pattern, or just blocks of fabric, usually made from scraps of material left over from our dresses or the boys’ shirts or pants. Nothing went to waste in those days. We didn’t know it, but we were recycling everything!
When I joined the 4-H Club, we learned to sew by hemming dishtowels (made from flour sacks). I learned to make tiny stitches and not big sloppy stitches. Then I remember I was old enough to help in the quilting. It was hard for me to use the thimble that Mother gave me. It kept slipping off of my finger! But it sure helped to push the needle through the thick quilt (with the cotton batting beneath the top).
I vaguely remember my Grandma Goode and my aunts -- Sallie, Ellen, and Ada Mae -- who visited sometimes from San Antonio where they had moved from the Fairview community, sitting around the quilting frame laughing and talking and quilting.
Every bed in our house had a quilt on it. Those quilts brightened up our homes in those days, because the houses were always drab, unpainted houses, and the insides were just as drab. Those patchwork quilts were bright patches of color in an otherwise colorless house.
In the 1950s, after I was married, I found out that our old neighbor, Mrs. Jacob Gloor, lived in San Antonio, and she was still making old-fashioned quilts. I contacted her to make me a quilt out of the scraps of material I had from the sewing projects I had made. By that time I was into sewing.
I took a big bag of the scraps to her, and she made me a beautiful handmade quilt. I loved it. I always looked at it and was reminded that this piece was from a pink dress I had made for Julie, and these pieces were from the cute blue pajamas of Trent’s. That was my memory quilt.
But the thing of it was, I used the quilt for years until it became ragged and torn. I finally threw it away. Now I am mad at myself! Why did I do that? I should have kept my memory quilt.
When I want to think of warm things of the past, I will always remember making quilts at the farm, where the quilt on the frame filled the whole room, and all the women talking, laughing, and quilting.
Lois Zook Wauson is the oldest of eight children who grew up on a farm in Wilson County in the mid-20th century. After many years living in other parts of Texas, she now lives and writes in Floresville. Her two books are available from the Wilson County News office. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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