Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Dolls' Quilt

Yesterday, I tackled a painting project and posted a photo of my work in process on Facebook. Several of my quilt-loving friends commented in shock and horror about my drop cloth until I explained that I was using an old store-bought and commercially-made quilt for that purpose. Reassuringly, I promised them that I treat my handmade quilts like gold.

Which got me to thinking about my collection of handmade quilts. This morning, as soon as I was up and moving, I dug out the one that is oldest and dearest to my heart.

This sweet little thing was my doll's quilt when I was a little girl. The six panels, embroidered by either my grandmother or my great-grandmother, show scenes from nursery rhymes:
Hush-a-bye Baby and This Little Pig Went to Market
Peter, Peter, PumpkinEater and Jack and Jill
Hey Diddle Diddle and Old Mother Hubbard
It's precious to me now, but I can remember times as a child when this quilt annoyed me. Like most little girls, I was madly in love with the color pink, and sometimes I craved more of that color. I remember turning the quilt sideways on my doll's bed, and orienting it so the two middle panels - the pinkest panels - showed most prominently.

Other times, the busyness of the embroidery overwhelmed my tender little aesthetic sensibilities and I wished for a solid color. I also remember flipping it over and wrapping my sleeping babies the other side, which is plain white.

So it's fair to say that by making this quilt for me, my grandmother and great-grandmother, sturdy German women that they were, taught me a whole lot about thinking creatively and making it work.

And for that, I am deeply thankful.

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