I just finished making this quilt, which I gave to a friend in barter for a ping pong table. My husband has always wanted a ping pong table, so he was thrilled. But seeing how we don't really have the room, and I personally hardly have time for games anyway, in my opinion Dee got the better end of the bargain! (Of course my dh and children wouldn't agree!)
Dee chose the color scheme and some of the material (which is all second-hand clothing consisting of wool, linen, denim, flannel, and cotton.) Initially some of the patterns seemed uncomplimentary, but she picked them so I was going to use them and I chose other colors/patterns to compliment them. Turns outI LOVE the quilt's colors, patterns and texture and I am so glad for the direction Dee sent me in.
I was really excited about my creation, until I looked on line to learn how to tie the quilt. Then I got discouraged. Seeing all the lovely quilts with their intricate designs compared to my simple, utilitarian quilt was depressing! I thought about how I'll never have the time to make a masterpiece like those that are made by so many creative women since this simple quilt took me about two months to make!
Fortunately, I came across Judy Brenemen's The Art of Quilting site and was intrigued by the many articles about the history of quilting. I was especially pleased when Judy directed me to the article, Mexican American Quilts: Unfettered Color and Pattern. In part she writes:
In her book, Surviving the Winter, Dorothy Zoff reports on her extensive study of quilts in New Mexico. She traveled throughout New Mexico interviewing quilters and examining their quilts....
Zoff found that Mexican-American quilts were more often tied than quilted. She points out that the Mexican love of pattern and color results in cheerful quilts that would almost obliterate fine quilting. Dark and light contrasts were popular. Some of these quilts were made of squares and rectangles in informal arrangements... Because most quilts were tied the weight of the fabric could be more varied. Old denim jeans made hardy work quilts. The quilts were filled with cotton, wool or even rags instead of manufactured batting.
This was exciting for me to read as it sounds alot like my quilt! This allowed me to love my quilt again! I looked at my quilt in a different way and I felt a connection with women of my heritage who quilted with what they had on hand and for warmth, rather than for beauty and decoration.
Someday, or rather, some YEAR I will try to create an artistic masterpiece, but for now I need to finish making heavy, warm quilts for several of my children. I also plan to make some for friends, and I'd really like to get to the point where I can donate blankets for those who need them.
I love this photo of a Hispanic woman carding wool which accompanied Judy Brenemen's article. It brings back memories of my grandma in her kitchen, making tortillas. I can envision her even younger, back when her and her children worked as migrant farm workers. They lived in tents, had dirt floors, no running water and a make-shift kitchen.
My grandmother never made a quilt (to my knowledge) but she did crochet many blankets and she enjoyed embrodery also. I sure miss her, the woman I was named for.
As for the quilt I made, if you look closely only one of the edges are finished in the photo above. My dear friend Suzanna took the photo for me before I had completely finished it! Also, if you look very closely you'll notice that there are two pockets at the top. My kids were envious that my friend Dee's son, (who I made the quilt for) has pockets in his quilt. They all want one just like it.
Photos of my Grandma.
Nana and sister Lisa My Nana, Dad and me