My Husband and I are dealing with the loss of his Mother and dealing with her Estate has pushed us in so many ways… For lot of the time it is just difficult and unpleasant and very painful. Last week he came across a bag thrown aside in a pile of junk in an outside building which we now call the “Barn.”
Opening the bag on a whim instead of just pitching it was a gift, a push from an Angel! Three quilts were wadded up to be thrown away and used as nests for rodents of some kind, ew! These were Eula’s Quilts, I know her work and her stitching and here they were in torn pieces. Eula was Jim’s Grandmother on his Fathers side. She was raised on an Indian Reservation in Texas (I always forget which one, but I think it was Cheyenne.) She was 30 when she married Jim’s Granddad , a Texas rancher who was married and lost two younger wives. I’ve heard the best stories of this colorful past and only Aunt Jean could do the telling right. So I’ll stick to the quilts. Jim’s best memories of childhood came from visiting her. So I wanted to save these for him.
This was the best looking one because one side survived. Now this is a crazy patched scrappy quilt and I love it. Jim’s favorite was a quilt made in the block pattern called Churn-Dash. Out of the 30 blocks only half were in tact. The fabric was so dirty I wasn’t sure where to start but I started on the churn-dash first because it was in really bad shape and I couldn’t do much more damage.
I filled the tub with cold water and a very light oxi-clean powder. This happened to be a jacuzzi tub so I could fill it until the whole quilt was submerged and I turned the jets on for 30 seconds just to get the water stirred up, I soaked and “stirred” all day while I worked on cleaning/organizing/sorting the house. Then I drained the tub and filled it with cold water over night. The I drained it the next morning and very carefully I stepped on the quilt to “wring” it out. To get it outside to dry, I rolled it up in towels and carried it very gently and hung it over a porch rail to dry in the hot sun. It cooked for three days and nights in teh sun while I turned it to get the most sun on all of it.
That evening after measuring the squares, (all different sizes of course… thanks Eula!) I made 12 new squares and half of the sashings had to be replaced. I didn’t think about taking a photo of the before, but here is the After.
I machine quilted this on Eula’s same Singer treadle sewing machine( see earlier post.) I was so focused on saving this one Quilt for my husband, it actually made the task ahead of me seem more doable and achievable. If I would have asked any of my friends about that quilt when I first saw it, with all the dirt and stains and nest parts, they would have thought I was crazy. “Why?? Just throw it away!” it was so bad, but I had to save it for more reasons then I knew then.
There are still parts that need more mending and I will get to that. There is Hope now. There is hope in the Riverhouse now too, even if we do all the work ourselves and it seems impossible with all the mess she left us to deal with… it can be done. Sure we may not get it perfect but we can salvage it. All is not lost!
We can recycle and redo and make the most of what is left. Through all the waste that there was, we can turn it around.
I gave the quilt to Jim as my way of saying I believe in you about what you want to do and how you want to deal with your Mother. I’ve got you “covered.” I heard this from a friend the other day…. It says somewhere in the Bible “this too shall pass….” It didn’t say this too shall fail….. we will “pass” together as a team!
I have the first quilt and this one left to “fix” but I’ll get it! Can anyone tell me the name of this block?