Thinking of my Nan today on what would have been her birthday. Thinking of her always makes my heart smile!

Nan (with Mum and I)

Nan began to patchwork when she was in her 60s. I don’t know what made her start. To my knowledge she’d never really been a sewer at all before that. She had a treadle sewing machine in the house, but I’m not sure why. She never used it! Maybe it was the companionship of the craft group she joined (she always was very social) and the craft was just secondary. But once she got going she was a pretty prolific quilter!

She was by no means the neatest sewer in town, but she pieced with a vengeance. She hand pieced, machine pieced, machine quilted, appliqued but mostly hand quilted. Everyone in the family got something from her, whether it was a cushion (or two) or something larger. By the time my cousins and I were having babies, we were inundated with cot quilts! And Nan being Nan, they were all completely machine washable and useable!

She crocheted, too, so we all have crocheted blankets tucked away for those cold winter nights. And face cloths. I’ve still got face cloths that she sent for my kids when they were in their teens! They’re tucked away now for safe keeping till the next generation of babies come along.

I wasn’t so much of a quilter when Nan was around. I did lots of other crafts. And I sewed, but mostly dressmaking back then. I remember that she got a cutting mat, which she left in the car in the middle of summer – of course it was ruined and she was quite upset. At the time I didn’t really understand what all the fuss was about. Ahh, the knowledge gained with the passage of time!!

I have been fortunate to inherit 2 of Nan’s quilts and I thought today was a good day to share, given the string quilts that everyone (except me) seems to be working on at the moment.

Both of these quilts are machine pieced and machine quilted. One has the most awful binding I’ve ever seen, which I may have to cover over one day (don’t think I could bring myself to take it off). And in true Nan style, I’m still finding tacking threads in them – just when you think there couldn’t possibly be another one!

This quilt, with it’s lovely soft floral sashings, has the most hideous mustard binding (you can catch a glimpse – if you dare – near the pillows in the photo above). Not sure what Nan was thinking with that!

Neither of these quilts are very technically perfect, but to me they are beautiful. They are both quilts that she used on her own bed  (I guess when you find a style you like, you just stick with it!), not tucked away for best (as she had a tendency to do with things – she never seemed to think she was quite good enough for best, somehow). So I feel like they were something REALLY hers.

I wish my love for this craft had come along and timed a little better with hers.  The oohs and aahs we could have shared over patterns and fabric!

A little while back, my Mum brought her friend (who had just recently discovered quilting) over to see my quilts. When we were looking at Nan’s quilts we had such a blast – all the different fabrics! My Mum recognised some of them from clothing and furniture from years back. There was quite a fabric history on show, that’s for sure! Certainly nothing purchased specifically for these quilts. They are truly scrap quilts – in all their glory!

In my sewing box I have Nan’s badge from her craft group. I smile when I see it. I think of how we all – the ones here, the ones gone and the ones still to come – all of us – share this bond. The bond of sisterhood through stitching! And how lovely it is to be part of something so much bigger and long-lasting than just ourselves.

Love you Nan xoxo