Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Friday, January 20, 2012

Cold or Not, Quilts Warm My Soul

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?


  1. It's hard to beat flannel pajamas for warmth and comfort. I love wearing pjs. I put them on as soon as it gets dark and sometimes wear them way too long in the morning--especially if I am cooking or cleaning. I wear clean ones every night--as I should since I wear them so long.

    Taking up quilting, huh? When is all this going to take place?

    1. I love flannel, especially my Auburn jammie pants!

  2. I love flannel PJs too. They have fun prints on them that make me smile. They're happy clothes :)

    And I think I'll take up quilting when....hmm, I don't know. Maybe when I get tired of collecting fabric swatches...? Or maybe my children will take it up when I'm old and they think I should've taught them to quilt! That sounds more likely. Or maybe I'll just take a trip to Amish Land and buy a quilt. Wanna go...?

  3. Oh, yes I do. You just do not know how I love the Amish. I made The Guy and Stephanie go with me one Saturday. I packed us church spread sandwiches and we bought pumpkins and gourds. I saw buggies Wal-mart--and not what some people call shopping carts. I may never get over it.

    It was glorious. But I can't get them to sign up to go back. I don't why.

    1. I LOVE Amish style, quilts and people! Such a quiet, respectful way of living too.

      Ask me to go, and I will come!

  4. Lesia, my granny was an avid quilter as well. Some of my best memories of her are of her quilting with her sisters. They always seemed to be having so much fun! In fact, it was just about the only time I can ever remember her actually laughing.

    Like Jean, I am comforted by soft, fluffy flannel pjs. I like to pair mine with warm wool socks. Sometimes even in the summer if I have had a bad day I will turn the a/c down so that I can wear them for an evening!

    Jean, I think the Guy and I would go back to Amish-land with you but that's football season and scheduling gets tough!

  5. Girls, sign me up for the next Amish excursion! It sounds like fun!

    And Stephanie, I figure that's exactly what that thermostat is good for when it's hovering around 90 outside and you need a warm and fuzzy comfort zone. I say crank it down to 65 and wear that flannel with pride!

  6. Okay, first and foremost, I wanna go to Amishland!!!!

    Secondly, I am a quilter! I have quilts I've made all over the house. I've made some as gifts and so forth too. I worked on pieces for a few raffle quilts that the Officer's Wives' Club made and was given a print of the quilt as a gift for all the time and effort spent quilting. I remember watching Seven Brides for Seven Brothers 6 times in two days as I did a quilt sprint to get my portions done so I could pass it on to someone else.

    When we lived in New Jersey, I started a quilt club in my neighborhood. I have quite a few quilts with shared squares we all made together.

    I have one of my great-grandmother's quilts. Store bought quilts, and on and on. Quilting has always been a passion of mine. And I've always wanted to make an Amish Bear Claw quilt but haven't done so yet. I did make a Texas Star Amish wall hanging. Finished quilting it while #3 was in the hospital at 4 1/2 months old with pnemonia.

    I've had a quilt that I made with friends in New Jersey that I've needed to quilt for 15 years. Finally, since all my time is spent living/writing/working, I broke down and decided to get it machine quilted. It should be done soon and will join the others on the wall.

    I've taught quilt classes too through the Officer's Wives' Club. And I always use cotton batting. (Winking at you, Lesia!)