Quilts & the Museum of Appalachia

There are places I never knew existed, places in America that I didn’t have the slightest understanding about. One of those is the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee. We visited the museum and spent hours wandering the grounds, exploring the varied log cabins that are open to the public and admiring all the beautiful, handmade, and well-loved quilts.

Tied four-patch with sashing at Museum of Appalachia
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Something old made new again

One of the things I love best about quiltmaking is the love and care that goes into the process. Sometimes though, despite the love, the design just doesn’t suit the receiver. This was the situation with my friend Jeremy’s quilt.

His great-grandmother had made it and given it to him, but it wasn’t a particularly handsome quilt in his eyes, so it had stayed folded up in the closet for years.

One night he asked if I’d be willing to remodel the quilt, taking out the periwinkle sashing that wasn’t in his color palette and taking down the amount of negative space. I said yes and started cutting up his quilt.

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WIP: Grandma’s Quilt

When I said that this would be my project for 2013, I thought I was overestimating, giving myself a little wiggle room. But I think that first guesstimate on the time it will take was right: all year.

The stitches are a little wonky–both great-grandma’s piecing and my quilting–but with this project I don’t really mind. Usually I tend to be a little on the perfectionist side when it comes to sewing and I just want it to be as perfect as possible. So much so that just the thought of improv quilting gives me hives.┬áThat’s probably why I’m in love with Ebony’s post about publishing and selling crappy work.

This is a different sort of project. I’m not offering it up as some landmark piece and I’m fully aware that my great-grandma couldn’t be bothered to square up a damn thing, mixed all sorts of fabrics and didn’t make particularly small, neat or strong stitches.

I don’t mind though. I just keep on stitching up. down. up. down. up. down. until my neck tells me it’s time to quit. It’s usually about an hour at a time, enough to finish one block before tucking it back into the IKEA bag that keeps it tidy for me.

With every stitch I’m closer to finishing and closer to the great-grandma I knew only through letters and quilts she left behind.