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We've finished going through the last things at Mom's house, and one of the things I pulled out of the stack was a quilt. I'm not sure why I didn't want it sooner, but I'm glad I have it now.
This was a quilt from Grandma Schmidt. She'd given it to Mom.
Because Grandma took care of my sister and I when we were very small, we accompanied her to quilting days with her friends. We were expected to play quietly on the floor while Grandma and the other women talked and sewed.
Many of the quilts were pieced. They would be placed on the frame and the women would thread their needles and put on their thimbles and carefully move the needles up and down in the tiniest stitches they could possibly do while still catching all three layers of the quilt in every stitch.
I remember Grandma sometimes saying that someone had made their stitches too big. She may have taken them out and done them over.
Regularly there would be quilts that were not pieced. They were made from whole cloth and the artistry was completely in the designing of the pattern of stitching and the uniformly placed tiny stitches. I don't remember Grandma ever using the word "art" when she spoke of quilting, but when I unfolded this faded quilt that was light green on one side and a creamy white on the other, "art" was the word that came to mind.
First I was delighted to see that the design included my favorite flowers, sunflowers, as part of the motif. Sunflowers and spiderwebs...appropriate for me, I think.
I wish I could capture the color better.
One of the fun memories was finding out Grandma was the one who marked the quilts in pencil before they were quilted. There was one day when she had cloth spread out on a table and templates, rulers, and dress-makers' curves lined up ready for use. When I asked, she told me that the women had asked her to be the one to mark the cloth. Even then I was amazed that someone could draw something so elaborate on large blank pieces of cloth. Now, even more so.
It's a bit faded. The cloth has a strip of darker green in area that always got tucked under the pillows. There are a couple of tiny stains.
The edges are gently scalloped and bound with a narrow edging.
There are about eight or nine stitches per inch, uniformly over the entire quilt. Amazing.