My Mother’s Only Quilt

Mom made only one quilt, and it is beautifully appliqued and stitched.

Hand Smocked Dress.

My mother had many gifts, and was a talented seamstress and needle worker. She tailored lovely little coats for her daughters, made most of our dresses, and loved to do crewel work and needlepoint. There are countless pictures of my sisters and myself in those classic little dresses from an era gone by, hand smocked by my mom. Her sewing room was my favorite hangout, and she taught me the ins and outs of using a sewing machine when I was about seven.

Three well dressed young ladies.

Mom dabbled in needle-turned applique, completing many guest towels and placemats. I think she liked the idea of applique better than the practice of doing it. When she started on a large tablecloth, it became a UFO, rescued many years later by her sisters. They carefully finished it, which made me realize that someone in their childhood taught them all how to sew.

She completed one more applique project in her life, a crib quilt for my first child. Knowing that applique was not her passion, I was so surprised that she chose this particular project. “It’s just a kit,” she said, but then went on to say that she had grown up with her Aunt Ebba’s quilts, and always wanted to try quilting. “I got that out of my system,” was her final comment on the matter.

Mom's only quilt may have come from a kit, but the handwork is meticulous and all her own.

The quilt hung in my son’s bedroom during his early years, and then in his little brother’s room. At some point it became delegated to storage, in a box with lovely little hand smocked dresses. I am grateful for the many legacies my mother left for her family, not just the sewing, but the music, cooking, love of books, and the abundant sharing of her generous nature.

Today, those of us who love quilting are surrounded by patterns, fabrics, wonderful tools, and a huge community of quilters supporting us. We sometimes churn out quilts as gifts, or just because we want to play with a particular set of fabrics.

Mom made only one quilt, but she made many outfits for baby Me and my sisters.

But on occassion we have the opportunity to make a special quilt, one that will stand to show another generation how we express our love through our crafting. Of all the pieces of my mother’s handwork that I have in my home, this quilt is special. She explored beyond her comfort zone, giving a gift that she truly wanted us to have, a quilt to share across generations.

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About thecuriousquilter

Quilter, sewer, writer, gardener, mother, sister, friend, always learning, always curious.
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4 Responses to My Mother’s Only Quilt

  1. AliExi says:

    Such even quilting! And really nicely appliqued. But LOVE the smocking too, and the great sisterly photos. How special, thanks for sharing.

  2. Barbara says:

    What a heart treasure you have there, Mary. The border is beautiful beyond words – just too precious !

  3. Martin says:

    Charming pictures all. LOVE the hats! And I see a peek of gloves, so cute.

    Your mother did a super job, the red quilting really punches it up.

  4. How Special !
    thank you for sharing!

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