Sunday, January 8, 2012

Vegetables and Quilts

When I was a little girl, my grandmother "Grace" who lived next door to us would work all through the spring, summer and early fall in her garden.  It was a labor of love for her as she loved raising vegetables, cooking them and, above all else, eating them.  She sang hymns as she tended her garden.  I can hear her high soprano voice even now.

She was such a humble, country woman but one of the most talented people I'd ever known.  She never thought that she could NOT do anything...even things that normally a man would do.  If Grace wanted a back porch on her house, well, she'd build a back porch.  She did everything with joy and that made me want to be with her as much as possible.  What fun she was!  From turning up the country music on her AM radio so we could dance and sing in the kitchen, to getting a watermelon fresh out of the garden every afternoon and devouring the juicy sweetness just a few steps from where it had grown.

Grandaddy & Grace, 1930's
When all the canning, freezing and drying of her vegetables had been done, the weather would soon be turning cool.  This was when she brought out all her bright, colorful fabrics, cut them into shapes and magically turned all these pieces into a quilt top.  Then it was time to turn the quilt top into an honest-to-goodness quilt that would be placed on someones bed.  I would run to her house after school in the cold winter months and she'd be down in the basement quilting.  She hung her long quilt rack from the ceiling near the furnace and we sat in straight back chairs as she taught me to quilt.  "Now Susie, you want to put some stitches in this quilt?"  Would I?  She taught me to rock the needle back and forth in order to get as many stitches on the needle as possible before pulling it through the fabric.  It was as if we were in a contest with some unnamed quilters.

After my grandaddy passed away, Grace started making quilts full-time and made a modest living at it.  She would make a quilt and mail it to a shop in New York that would sell it for her.  How blessed are the people that may still be sleeping under one of her creations!


Honey said...

Wish I had known Grace...what a beautiful should have that photo made into a huge canvas, it's a great shot...
Love you Susie Jane!

Katie said...

Lovely post, Susie Jane. Can't wait to read more.

ginigirl said...

What an interesting and delightful blog! Keep up the good work!