Friday, February 17, 2012

Grandma's Trampoline

Years ago when Nik was just a young boy, we were up visiting my parents in Clifton. Mother and I were chatting in the kitchen when Nik came upstairs to ask her: "Grandma, may I jump on your pretty trampoline?" We both looked at each other, wondering what he meant. We thought maybe he was referring to her little exercise trampoline, but wouldn't have called it pretty. He was insistent that she had a "big pretty trampoline", so we all went downstairs to check it out and discovered that he was talking about the beautiful quilt she had been working on that was set up on quilting frames. Good thing he asked, huh?

Quilts are rather magical, especially home-made ones. I've tied quite a few baby quilts in my time but never did the hand-sewn swirl design like my mother did. She would drive over to the little Swan Lake store and buy their brushed nylon fabric. They would mark a pattern on it in soap and she would stitch along the lines. There are probably 50,000 stitches in each of her quilts, and that doesn't count the hand-stitched binding. To thank the eye doctor for removing her and Dad's cateracts years ago (in addition to paying for it in cash), she gave him one of her marvelous quilts.

When living in Vernal decades ago, I decided to make a queen-size quilt, bought some white fabric, cut it into squares, ironed a pattern on each piece and embroidered the works. Then I cut green squares to alternate between the embroidered squares and somehow did a drapery-like gathering around a bedskirt, tying it all together. That pretty much cured me of the quilting bug and I have no idea how I fit that in between tending four young children. I mend a few things here and there now but have willingly forgotten anything else about the sewing art.

One of the funnest memories I have from childhood is seeing all the different pieces of fabric in a quilt. The backing always consisted of heavy flannel (usually plaid) but the front was made from pieces of cloth gleaned from worn-out clothing or left-over fabric, sewn together in a pattern on Grandma Rice's old Singer treadmill sewing machine. "Oh, look, there's a piece from my Sunday dress." "There's one from my old shirt." "There's one from Myra's dress." It was so much fun!

Grandma Rice had a lot of quilts, some made from wool. I remember sleeping in her basement bedroom during the winter now and then. Oh my, it was so cold! What you would do is make sure you were in the middle of the bed, reach down and pull the covers up. You had to get situated first because the quilts were so heavy, you woke up exactly where you went to sleep. There was one of her quilts that I admired greatly. It was black and red. Every time I went over there, I'd mention it. She told me that I could have it after she died. I just kept on admiring it until one day she just gave it to me on the spot. I guess she didn't want to be rushed ha.

If you want to gawk at some pretty quilt patterns, here's a link:

For background music, how about a little John Denver:

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