Quilts from the attic

Touching the Past

I came home from work to a box yesterday- a box from my Aunt containing 3 vintage quilt tops. I was not expecting what came next. I am the girl who is not sentimental. I don’t have any kindergarten drawings from my kids. There is no box of treasured baby clothes, toys, blankets in my attic. The artifacts of my own childhood are a few photos stuck in a shirt box with some swimming ribbons tucked far out of sight in the back of a seldom used closet. I have been quilting and finishing family treasures for other people for quite some time. I always encourage them to get these tops out of the attic, get them bound and finished so they can be used and enjoyed. I have never understood the nostalgic sentimentality that makes people afraid to finish their old quilt tops—until now. My Aunt included a handwritten note. In her beautiful penmanship, she explained that these tops were made by my grandmother, my great grandmother and my great great grandmother before the family came west in the 1940’s. She went on to explain that my grandmother had always intended to finish them but never got around to it. They have been in my Aunt’s attic since my grandmother passed in 1977-ish ( I don’t recall exact year). As my skill and experience with vintage quilt tops has grown, I started to hound my aunt to get these down and send them to me…well here they are and it brought tears to my eyes to hold them in my hands. I don’t think someone who has not experienced this will know what I am talking about- but something like grief that catches you in a vulnerable moment and takes you back…if only for a moment, to a less cynical time when cousins ate cherries and the uncles put up the hay while the aunts cooked huge family dinners. It surprised me.

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