My father is going through chemotherapy, and he is getting his estate in order. He gave me his old quilt. "My grandmother and my mother made this for me. My grandmother made beautiful quilts, but she gave away all of them to my sisters and brothers. I said I wanted a quilt too, so my grandmother and my mother made me this one. Now you can have it."
It is antique white with light multicolored pinwheels. A few of the white patches along one edge are frayed. There are 42 different fabric pinwheels, each pattern unique.
Jacob's mother came to visit, and she knows how to make quilts. She patched the frayed spots. She cut a tiny piece, matched it at a fabric store, and bought back thin ivory batting and two colors of off-white. One is too light, and the other is only half-cotton. I wanted the cotton, so she came up with the notion of lightly staining the cotton fabric with tea. Several dips later, and now it is nearly a perfect match.
Her idea came from the the tea-stained lace
My mother says the material was frayed because they used worn-out clothes to make the quilt. Nowadays people make quilts with new, high-quality used fabric. Jacob says this shows the relative value of labor versus materials, then and now.
We're lucky, Jacob and I.
8 July 2000