I have mentioned before how much I have always enjoyed sitting and hearing the stories of the older generations. As my mom has said, I can find a "grandma" anywhere I go. There may be some of that in the genes as my dad was always quick to respond to the widows in our circle when there were lawns to be mowed or things around the house that they needed to be done.
One of those women gave me a treasure when I was in my later elementary years. Being the oldest of five children, I didn't always have things that other kids had and when something special came my way it was definitely considered a blessing from God. Bernice gave me one of those blessings one day when I rode along with my dad to her house as he helped her with some projects.
I received that day a Holly Hobby sleeping bag. It was quite a treasure at the time. I wrapped in it, laid it out in the yard when I was playing outside and it has made it's share of forts in my growing up years. One of those times, we had hung it over a clothesline to make a tent. When it came time to pick up our mess I grabbed and pulled it tearing an "L" shaped hole in the front. I was so sad that my sleeping bag was ripped.
Having a mother that is resourceful, we found some fabric in her stash that she had left over from some of the clothes she had made for my Barbie doll. I learned how to patch a hole and since the fabric was a favorite of mine, I wasn't too terribly sad after all was said and done. My mom could make anything better and although the blanket had ripped, it was actually cool to have a great patch with fabric that I liked.
So...that started it - my life in patchwork. Each time there was a worn place or a tear, I found some fabric (many times, fabric that was left over from a project of mine or my mom's) and stitched it up. Through high school I had my share of sick days and patched some then. The zipper broke somewhere along the way and so I just used more fabric and bound the edges. Most of the pieces of fabric on the quilt have a meaning from some event in my life and now, a few of my children's clothing have been added as I have needed patches.
I have patches that remind me of so many things...
- a 8" length from the leg of my favorite pair of blue jeans
- the bodice of the dress I wore in my aunt's wedding (it was lace overlaid on a peach satin!)
- left over fabric from the couch David and I had in our first apartment that I reupholstered
- numerous leftover swatches from 4-H sewing projects
- a swatch from the fabric I used for the shirt I made in high school home ec
- curtains from our first apartment
- a piece of the left over fabric from every one of the dress pants that I have hemmed of David's from the time we started dating until now
- the panel from a pair of my mom's old maternity double knit pants
- gingham from the matching gingham dresses my mom made she, my sister and I (circa 1977)
- fabric left over when a friend asked me to make spring dresses for her girls...the dresses that I sewed during the infertility years, praying the whole time that God would give me a daughter to sew for
- fabric left over from when my prayer was answered and I used the same pattern to make Easter dresses for my girls fifteen years later!
- leftover fabric from my "watermelon kitchen" curtains
- Mario Kart jammy pants when my boys out grew them and they had been loved and worn so many times that no one would buy them at a garage sale!
- Dora fabric from jammies I made for the girls
There is not a stitch on the front or back of my blanket where I can show you what it looked like originally, but I did manage to dig through and find a picture of what it looked like on my bed back in the day. The picture isn't the best quality but this is what it looked like somewhere in the mid 1980's.
It is everything that a good blanket should be - warm (some places are about 3-4 layers thick), cozy and the ultimate in security blankets, reminding me that life may rip and tear at times, but our scars can make our lives more beautiful than they ever were before. I love the reminder of this great life lesson every time I wrap up in these precious layers of living!