For me, Black Friday is the first day of the Christmas holiday. I don’t usually go out and stand in line for a great sale on a TV. In fact, I tend to stay home and away from the crowds.
My friends call me a Grinch. I tolerate the holidays and try to put on a happy face. I don’t get excited about hectic holiday shopping. Most of the people on my list now get cold hard cash so they can purchase what they really want.
I do enjoy a pretty Christmas tree, and I do put lights on the house for the season. When asked what I want for Christmas from family members, I request a Barnes & Noble gift card so I can load up my NOOK.
I am an avid reader, and recently I read a book about a family that had a history of passing down quilts from one female to the next and the story that went along with the quilts.
Unfortunately, I did not come from a quilting family. My paternal grandmother used heavy feather thicks on her beds. My maternal grandmother had the notion that people who made and used quilts were poor, and a store-bought blanket stood for opulence. She also removed her pierced earrings when arriving here and only wore clip-ons. The other one kept her pierced earrings and had long hair, which she braided and made a crown on her head. The two ladies were as different as day and night.
My maternal grandmother taught me about sewing garments. I received my first Singer sewing machine for my sixth Christmas and it also came with six lessons at the Singer store in a nearby town. By the fourth grade I was sewing most of my wardrobe. When I was stationed in Hawaii, I was introduced to quilting on public television. Knowing I had the sewing skills, I took to quilting like a duck to water. That was in 1983. I have been quilting ever since.
My mother came to visit one holiday season. When she traveled, she tended to stay for three to four weeks. That gave her enough time to see what I was doing and figured it was a good time for me to teach her how to piece and quilt. She had been embroidering flower blocks in the evenings for over a year and had a substantial stack of them.
It was decided that she wanted to make a quilt for her granddaughter. We sat down and figured out how many blocks were needed for a king-size quilt. We then estimated sashing, borders and backing for the quilt.
She also picked a pattern for her grandson. I think I wrote about the twins in the past. This quilt was to be pieced. A rail fence pattern in red, white and blue.
She had started on it when she returned home. After Mom’s passing some years later, I inherited the makings of these two quilts. Mom and I had discussed how I would be the one to finish them and give them to the twins as wedding gifts.
In all, Mom had started four quilts. I finished the first two — one to her aunt and one for her neighbor who looked out for her and was the best neighbor anyone could ask for.
Granddaughter’s quilt top is completed and ready for my long arm.
The red, white and blue quilt had the pattern changed when I decided the pieces Mom worked on were not cut and/or pieced correctly.
So I changed it up completely, using the remainder of fabric Mom had and I have added to the collection and his quilt will be a red, white and blue scrap Hunters Star.
I’m still working on his top but hope to have it completed at the May quilter’s retreat.
I’ve said all this, I think, because I consider lucky the families that pass quilts down through the generations. I’m not sure at this time if any of our grandchildren will be interested in quilting.
So far no interest has been shown. But sometimes the quilting bug strikes later. In my case, I was in my 30s.
I’d love to teach them to quilt and maybe they can start a history of quilts through the generations. One can only wish.
Nancy C. JUDD is a Herald correspondent.