Quilter’s & Family

Marie Hodge Holmes & Joseph Holmes
Marie Hodge Holmes & Joseph Holmes

Here is a picture of my late father and grandmother.  My grandmother Marie, was a quilter.  I don’t know much about her, I had only met her a few times in my life.  What I do remember is that she gave me a blue and red snoopy quilt when I was young, and that I once spent an entire summer with her in North Carolina.  I do know that she quilted her quilts by hand, and that many of her stitches are probably considered “toe nail catchers”.  She didn’t only use cotton, she used whatever fabric she had, my Snoopy quilt was a pre-printed polyester Snoopy fabric that got fuzzy and pilled after several washes. ( I have no idea what happened to that quilt )

I saw her piece a quilt, if she pieced by hand or machine is a mystery to me. I do remember the quilt frame that was on the ceiling in her living room that could be lowered to work on a quilt.  I also remember playing under it while she and my mom quilted some that summer. (Until recently I thought this was a memory reserved for myself, but after an evening with Ricky Tims, this appears to be a common occurrence and memory for people when they hear that someone is a quilter.)  I would love to know how many quilts she made throughout her life.  I do know that she made quilts for the grandchildren who got married, sadly I didn’t receive one of these as I was on the younger side of the grandchildren and she passed before I was married.  However my dad had a quilt of hers, and he gave it to me a few months before he passed.

grandmas quiltI don’t know any facts about this quilt.  I can tell you it appears to be made from various articles of clothing, and I would put money on the sashing and boarders being old curtains.  The backing in a sheet, and the blocks were probably pieced on pages from an old phone book.  There’s cotton, polyester, and the heavy “curtain like” fabric.  It was quilting with baptist fans and the quilting has come out in several sections.

This quilt is special to me for several reasons.  The first is, this is the last thing my father gave me before he began his battle with severe dementia.  When he first offered it to me I had assumed it was something I would get on the event of his death.  But he told my mom to wash it up and give it to me, he didn’t want to wait.  It’s also something that my grandmother made, with her own to hands.  I don’t know if my dad was the original intended recipient when making the quilt, I just know that it came to him at some point in time.  For me it’s a link back to two people in my family, when I use it see it on the bed, etc. I think of them.

grandmas quilt2I washed this quilt again today, and I was giving it a once over. It’s in need of some restoration work, a few seams need to be mended.  Several areas of quilting need to be re-quilted where the stitches have failed.  A portion of the binding needs to be sewn down again.  After a little refreshing it should have several more years in it’s lifespan.   I will still use it to curl up on the sofa to watch a program, or as extra warmth on a cold night.  I believe quilts are made to be used, this was not created as a great work of art.  It was a utility quilt, made to keep someone warm, to re purpose clothes that could no longer be used.  And one day when it is thread-bare in spots, I will cut it up again, and then I will sew those parts into a new quilt and hopefully pass it down to a member of my family. (who hopefully will know my history better than I know my grandmother’s)

Happy Quilting!


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