Okay, we talked about this before, how I've always wanted to buy a hand-made quilt because the history and beauty and artfulness of an old craft always calls to the home-and-hearth soul in me.
And I posted THIS:
It's the shot of an Amish home on Route 15 in Pennsylvania (between Lewisburg and Selensgrove in central PA.)
And there's always other places for money to go, places that seem more important. But that's neither here nor there, we all weigh things up with FRUGAL vs. FUN as part of the equation.
Well I'm beyond silly. Way beyond. So far beyond as to be ridiculous because tucked in my Aunt Isabelle's cedar blanket chest upstairs (I won't show it to you because of the dust, you can envision the dust on this old maple chest, but there's really no reason to belabor my ineptitude by actually showcasing it. You understand, I'm sure.)
So there's this box....
Yup, this box right here:
Who cares, you say????
Well, it's such a cool piece of unsung HISTORY, and the box has clearly done its part. I wanted to give credit where credit is due. It only seems right.
And I've always known the box existed, and I knew what was in it when my mother gave it to me, but it was old and sweet and delicate and here's the thing:
FOUR BLODGETT BOYS, THE OCCASIONAL DOG AND CAT DO NOT EQUATE WITH FANCY, NICE THINGS.
I'm saying that in defense of my lapse of intelligence, out-of-sight, out-of-mind. I mean, I'm still looking for the Social Security cards I got for my kids when it became a law like twenty years back... and I put them in a place so safe, I've never found them again.
So now you understand a little better.
So I decided that my bucket list included getting this quilt top quilted, so it's really a blanket, not a piece of fancy work. I met some lovely quilters at the Apple Fest and they hooked me up with an expert. I made an appointment and went to see her last week. Me... the box.... and the quilt top.
We went downstairs. She has a quilter's mecca down there, a complete basement quilting makeover with long-arm machines and computers and oh my stars, a huge quilting table.... So a real, honest-to-goodness set-up, to die for if you're a quilter!
I open the box as we chat. I unfold the quilt top, talking about hometown stuff, weather, the apple festival, etc. As we unfold the quilt top onto the table, she gets quiet. Real quiet. And when we undo the last fold she gazes at the beautiful spring colors of the double wedding ring top and she shakes her head. "I can't touch this," she says.
"You can't?" I watch her, trying to read between the lines because in my simple head, a quilter should want to make money quilting, right? Of course right.
She shakes her head again and looks at me. "I can't touch this because it's in far too perfect a condition."
Okay, I've never professed to being the sharp tool in the shed, definitely more along the lines of a "rope" but wouldn't you want to work with a really nice quilt? As opposed to, what? A really awful quilt?
She looked at the expression on my face (think confusion, lack-of-understanding, rampant stupidity) and laughs. "I can't work on it until you have it expertly appraised," she explained. She reached out and fingered one of the perfectly flat circular twining patterns and sighed. "You have to understand, I never get to see old quilts in this condition. It's nearly perfect. It lies flat, it's expertly stitched, the seams don't buckle along the bias, they all lie flat.
That much I knew.... and marveled at. Do you know how many "snips" I have to make to force a curved seam to lie flat? About a gazillion. Maybe more. This has 1/8" hand done seams and no "bubbles".
"It's valuable," she says next. "And to do it justice you need a quilt appraiser to estimate its worth both done and undone. Hand-quilted or machine quilted. I can look at these tiny patches and tell you this was made in the 1920's when brighter colors were in fashion. I can tell you that they make reproductions of several of these old fabrics and we can use them to back this when it's ready."
I have to make DECISIONS???? I thought when I made the decision to have it finished and brought my checkbook, that was a BIG STEP in my book!!!! :) And when it's done it's going to my oldest daughter because why on earth would I want something valuable around??? We'd wreck it in a heartbeat. Oy!!!
So here it is: The Double Wedding Ring pieced quilt top that is destined to be made into something lovely and useful after four generations of living in a box:
And here's a close-up to show the sweet, spring colors the piecer used:
Sweet. Bright. Hopeful. Alive with spring and re-birth.
It's funny how things work out. I'd forgotten all about this old quilt top. It was safely wrapped in multiple layers, then rewrapped, then boxed... for nearly ninety years. So each time I passed those handmade quilts on the highway, or in stores, and slapped my hand to save money, this was upstairs waiting.
I believe in God's timing. (That doesn't mean I haven't questioned it in my day!!!!) And seeing this done someday? Seeing the fruit of some woman's efforts come full circle?
Well, I think that was meant to be. And meant to be now. And maybe (just maybe) I'll keep it around here and enjoy it for a little while before I pass it on. Because after all these years of longing for a quilt...
It was here, in its own way, all the while.