Friday, February 4, 2011

Crazy Quilt

A few years ago DH and I visited  Knoxville, Tennessee.  I fell in love with all the antique buildings and trees...and ...this list could be very long.

To make a long story short, we went to a place that was a recreation of "an earlier time".  It was amazing.  I saw so many beautiful things....but one thing I saw that has stayed with me is the "crazy quilt" that was draped over the end of a bed.  I wanted to jump the rope that was meant to keep people like me from fondling the items in the room.  That quilt SPOKE to me.  It actually screamed to me!

Since then, how I wished I would have taken more pictures of it.  The stitches, the fabrics, the size. 

No, those feet you see are not on the fabric.  That is my feet.  I am taking this picture through glass and that is my reflection.  (Sad isn't it?)  But that is the signature of the lady who made the quilt.  I had terrible lighting and a poor point and shoot camera.  I sure wish I would have had the camera I have now.  Things would look so different, but I am rambling........ Look at the stitching.  Can you sew your name like that?  Me either!

The little tiny pieces of fabric that was used amazes me.  I throw those away.   The tiny stitches...the time!!  Oh, the TIME something like this takes.  And it was made in a day that the dishes weren't being washed by a machine plumbed into the kitchen.  The laundry wasn't scrubbing itself on the scrub board.  The bread didn't come from a grocery store.....  These ladies found time to sit and sew, inspite of all the manual labor they did just to survive. They didn't have hair dressers, or skin cream for wrinkles, or dentists...

..... no wonder they looked like this.  But, boy could they sew and cook.  They were a different stock of people back then.

These ladies didn't have Walmart to shop at, or a Walgreen's for medicine to make them comfortable. 

Back then the food was raised in their gardens and barns.  There was no waste on their land.  No pretty trees, only trees that produced shade for a purpose or food.  The fences were constructed with wood they pretty vinyl or block.  I wonder how they got it all done!

............but the ladies and young girls learned how to sew.  They must have been so proud when they finished something like this. 

I have taught my girls to sew.  I think it is important that those skills aren't lost.  To learn to embroidery, sew, knit, crochet, bottle food, grow gardens, and even weave rugs.  The people who went before me taught me how, and I have passed it on.

So, after visiting Knoxville, Tennessee and seeing the handiwork of the ladies, I vowed to make a Crazy Quilt.  I started collecting wool and textured fabric.  I shopped at the Goodwill and bought men's suit coats made from wool.  I would watch the colors of the tags and buy those that were $1.00.  After getting 6 or 7 varieties of fabric I tore the suit coats apart.  I removed the silk lining (saved for another project someday) and the buttons.  I bought a black velvet dress for $1.00 and have cut it apart.  I have stocked up on embroidery thread in many colors.  I have searched the Internet for stitches that could be used on a crazy quilt.

It took me a few months to collect enough fabric to get a variety of designs and textures to get started.  I don't have any secrets about an easy way to do a crazy quilt.  I have looked at patterns and they didn't appeal to me, they were too "predictable".  I want the random look, not the pattern and squared look.  So, I started to sew.  I learned to pay attention to the bias of the fabric, the fraying of the fabric, and many other little lessons along the way.

I started the quilt when I lived in Arizona.  But with packing and moving and surgeries and working I didn't get much done.  So, when we moved I made sure to pack all the "crazy quilt stuff" in one clearly marked box so when I was ready to work on the crazy quilt I could find it.  The "crazy quilt" has been a labor of love.  It has been therapy of a different kind for me.  While my DH was still in Arizona, I was stitching away in the evenings in Idaho.  Little by little it is growing.  Slowly, but growing.

In the coming few days I will share with you some of the work I have finished....knowing I have much much more to do until it is completed.   This is what I do when I recover from knee surgery, and on cold days, and snowy days, and while we watch movies in the evening, and when I can't sleep, and ................... be continued............................

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happy, in love, getting closer to retirement, love my family, love my Savior.