Over the years, my grandmother has made dozens of quilts for me. The summer I watched Gone with the Wind repeatedly, she made me a quilt with parasols and hats reminiscent of Scarlett's barbecue attire. When I declared a pre-law major, she started work on a courthouse themed quilt. And, there have been several Wildcats quilts, commemorating my obsessive love for my team.
Now, my grandmother is getting older, and her health is starting to falter. Over the years, I've said many times that I planned to start making a quilt of my own, but I just never got around to it. I'm not the craftiest of people. Besides, I far prefer knitting or needlepoint for relaxation; they're far more mobile and self-contained. Still, I wanted to be able to say that I'd worked on a quilt with my Nan.
Last summer, I ran across this gorgeous beachhouse bedroom on a magazine cover. I loved the simplicity and old-fashionedness of the Ohio Star quilt pattern. I simply adored the classic red and white color scheme. I immediately decided that this would be the quilt we made together.
So, I picked out my fabric, found a pattern, and was ready to go. I was expecting a poignant family moment. It wasn't quite as charming as all that.
First of all, as Sarah has previously mentioned, making a quilt isn't easy. (Lydia, I'm not calling you out on this "quick and easy" foolishness, but I'd sure like some pointers.) Before you get to the point of putting together beautiful quilt blocks, there's a whole lot of minutia to be accomplished. Like cutting out pieces. And measuring. It's tedious. And precise. And it isn't nearly as conducive to kicking back with a bottle glass of wine as, say, knitting a scarf.
Second, a quilting bee may sound like a wonderfully retro girl-power experience. In reality, when you have two wildly opinionated and, let's face it, bossy, women working on a project, there's bound to be tension. I wanted a King-sized quilt; my granny prefers to make smaller pieces. My granny works quickly and wanted to get the project finished; I just couldn't keep up her pace. We weren't smiling and sewing, side by side, like a perfect picture. She didn't hand down life lessons as we worked. It didn't really match the image I'd built up in my head. Things seldom do.
Still, it was an amazing experience, learning a bit about a tradition that's been passed down through generations of my family. My granny and I may have butted heads a bit, but we also spent some wonderful time together. And, the finished product is absolutely stunning.