It’s a wrap! The “Flo & Edna. Hoosier Quilters. Family. Friends” quilt shows in Rising Sun and Madison, Indiana are completed. The stacks of quilts, sewing notions, vintage sewing machine, graduation dress, books, and handmade doll clothes are making their way back home. And a few are finding a new home.
This last year was truly a labor of love for me. I didn’t really know what was ahead of me after my cousins in town agreed to loan me their stash of quilts and related items for a family quilt show. The research that followed led me down a very interesting path. One that has made me appreciate the gifts I’d been given even more than I did before. The opportunity to visit and have conversations with family members about the lives of our grandmothers and the stories of our quilts and their patterns was an added bonus – perhaps the best gift of all.
My grandmother, Flo, made a beautiful Bucilla kit “Heavenly Roses” quilt for me when I was in grade school. It was the perfect choice for my girly pink and French Provincial white and gold bedroom, and I loved it. When I opened Main Street Bed & Breakfast in 1987, the quilt was the star of The Rose Room. Although it is no longer on display in my home, it is my special treasure. And I’ve been lucky enough to have several other quilts she made come to me from my mother. Treasures all, pristine or tattered.
I have to admit that the colors and the quilting patterns of the applique quilts made from packaged kits appeal to me the most. But after studying our joint collection, I have a deeper appreciation of the pieced (patchwork) quilts than before. Most of them were made earlier in the quilter’s “career” when times were harder and resources thinner. Thinking about scraps of worn house dresses or husbands’ shirts turning into the shapes and colors of some of the early quilts made me feel even closer to my grandmother. She never had a “cushy” life.
My cousin Judy’s grandmother is also Flo, and her mother-in-law was another quilter, Edna. Between both of these quilters, Judy’s children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren have a wealth of family history in quilts. And it was so great to have them visit and enjoy the show! Each of her four children was given a “wedding quilt” by Edna. Now Judy is gifting quilts from Flo and Edna to her grandchildren to love and pass along to their children to treasure.
Two of my grandchildren, Bridget and Shay, spent this last week going to History Camp at the Jefferson County Historical Society. The campers spent day one learning about the quilts on display in the “Flo & Edna” exhibit at the museum and beginning a nine patch block of their own. Sewing with a needle and thread! It made me very happy, and I know my grandmother would have been thrilled! “Memories are stitched with love.”
After twelve months of family quilt immersion, I am beyond satisfied with the results of the “Flo & Edna” shows. Quilters from around the region visited the two host communities and venues, and I have received many lovely comments about their experiences. It was really a pleasure to share the needlework of these two women with such an appreciative audience.
Even better, some of my tribe who barely remembered or had never met these grandmothers now have a connection with them. Hopefully these quilts of ours, and the memories we’ve made with them, will help us all stay connected and share the story of Flo and Edna. “Love is the thread that binds us.” Thanks to every family member near and far who loaned their prized possession(s) for the show.