Southern Januarys often mean a wide range of temperatures. It could be 28 one day and 68 the next. And regardless of the temperature, I tend to be cold anyway. No matter, a good old fashioned quilt is what’s for comfort. Why, you ask? Cotton, of course. It breathes. Thankfully, my Grannie kindly instilled in me a great love for handmade quilts.
When I went off to college (a great 70.3 miles away from home!), Grannie packed me a care package that she said would comfort me when I needed it. Unlike most girls my age, my box was a little different, containing a set of someone’s leftover Old Britain Castles-Brown, Johnson Brothers dishes with teapot included (not so pretty as the Peaches and Blossoms which I would’ve loved) and a passed down homemade double wedding ring quilt. One has to wonder if there was a hidden agenda to that box!
Maybe we’ll talk about dishes another day. But today let me tell you about my love for quilts. That first quilt was bubblegum pink and ivory with flecks of green, soft and worn so as to drape around you when you pulled it close. But the thing weighed as much as an Army tank! And that cotton compilation was the heaviest, most comforting thing around. At night, I would pull it close and it would warm me right to the very marrow of my bones.
I’m not sure when the transition was made from cotton batting to synthetic in quilt making (I am not and do not claim to be a quilt expert), but to my southern soul it was a move away from what’s right. And sadly, even Grannie went that newfangled way of thinking. She got it in her head sometime in her 90s that she would make all the grandkids a quilt. And she did. All 36 of them! And bless her heart, every last one of ‘em was filled with synthetic batting. Mine is the ugliest brown collage of uncle’s shirts (To match those before mentioned dishes, I’m sure. Sigh.). But ugly as it might be, it’s the most desired quilt in the house even today. And it has her signature in the bottom right hand corner, embroidered by my Aunt Mary for long recognition (in neon orange to match the color-blinded-earthiness of the brown fabrics, no less).
I saw a quilt show at the Huntsville Museum of Art a while back that gave me pause….to reflect, to reconsider and to think on the special qualities I was given in my quilts. The love and care that went into them without words or notes, just love transferred in fabrics and threads by the giver. Though the quilts at the museum were beautiful… some infused with gold threads, some of landscape scenes, all of ordered composition… they lacked the love my Grannie Quilt has.
I tell myself that someday I’ll make a new quilt, infused with cotton only. Maybe it’ll match itself, maybe not. Maybe by use of a pattern, maybe not. But today, I’ll stay toasty warm under my Grannie Quilt and be thankful for the warmth and love and happy memories it provides. And if it gets colder out, I may add on the Blue Daisies Quilt, or the Patriotic Star Quilt, or the myriad of others around the house….just for comfort, mind you!
So how do you stay warm on a January day, cold or not? What comforts the marrow of your bones?