The Necessity of Quilts

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Handmade quilts are works of love and a long, laborious task. I never had the patience to quilt. After watching my Grandmother work on a single quilt for what seemed like years, I passed on the opportunity to learn the craft. (I have no idea how long it took to make a quilt, but I know it didn’t take her as long as I thought it did. I was a child, and that was the way my mind computed it.)

Many rural houses back then didn’t have gas or electric heating. Like ours, some didn’t even have a heater in rooms other than the front (main) room. For those who slept in heater-less rooms, we needed heavy bed tops. Not only that, but during the winter — even if there was a heater in a room — it seldom burned all night. People didn’t have fuel for that, so the quilts were our heaters. Once we got into bed and pulled a couple of covers on top, we were good to go. We slept through the night, unless we had to get up to “potty.”

Even though he needed those quilts, whenever Grandmother’s had her quilting frame up it was an inconvenient intrusion on my space and freedom of movement. I was envious of the space that oversized contraption occupied in the living room. It was like an unwanted guest who not only overstayed her welcome, but who also competed for Grandma’s time and attention.

That “elephant” was an ever-present nuisance, especially if it was winter and I couldn’t sit on the porch or roam around outside. My grandmother, grandfather, and I had to sit around that larger-than-life-frame. I couldn’t wait until she either took it down or I went home. However, when I went home, came back, and the frame was down, I sauntered into my bedroom for a nice surprise: Grandma’s latest creation was sprawled across the bed. Then I pinched myself for being selfish, ’cause after all, I was a guest in her house, even if the quilting frame was too close for comfort!

Photo by Fotolia/melnikofd