Back in July I wrote about a bath towel I had embroidered for my grandmother and how disappointed I was that she never used it. I received a lot of comments on that post, both on and off the blog. What surprised me was that most people confessed to not using homemade creations that their friends and daughters had given them because they were too special--although they also complained about their own creations not being used by the recipients.
I grew up hearing my mother grumble about people hanging baby and wedding quilts on the wall instead of using them. I also grew up with the example she set of always having a quilt she had made on her own bed.
So when I went to college and my mother gave me a quilt, I used it. Unfortunately, it was much too exquisite a quilt to give a teenager moving out into the world for the first time. It was composed of hand-pieced stars surrounded by a white ground and was hand quilted. My mother won a prize for it.
But, I used it. I sat on it, studied on it, washed it. And it suffered. After college I continued to use it and my pet rabbits got to it. More washing. And you can see what happened. It was loved to death. Thankfully, when mom saw it, she blamed the red fabric dye for disintegrating the borders, but I am still guilty of subjecting it to harder use than it should have received.
The next quilt my mother gave me was hand appliquéd and quilted. It was a wedding quilt and it survived better. But when you use a quilt, you have to wash it and between washes and the sun, it has faded, although it is still usable. It is now in the guest room and so it gets less use and is often admired. The washing has made it soft and comfy.
For my second wedding mom got smart. I told her exactly what I wanted for a quilt--a combination of 9 patch blocks and pinwheels all done in patchy Civil War era fabrics. This quilt is MACHINE stitched and quilted. It too is being used, but I think that it will last. For one thing, the rabbits have died. And for a second, I've learned to make my bed (which I never did as a teenager). Besides, I've learned my lesson and am much more gentle with this quilt. Even so, that won't stop me from begging for more quilts from mom. We've just bought an old house in Rhode Island and I expect that the winters will be cold!
|Cats are much easier on quilts than rabbits.|