If I were to write one of those "This summer I . . ." reports like I had to write in third grade, I'd definitely include this:
My mother gave me a hand-pieced quilt top last summer. It was made by my great-grandmother and great-great grandmother nearly 100 years ago! It is pieced out of their dresses, and when I saw it hanging on a quilt rack in my mom's house and went starry-eyed, she gave it to me, but I had to solemly promise to quilt it within two years.
Earlier this year I pulled it out and really looked at it. The top had never been washed or exposed to light before I got it (I didn't wash it, but I did fold it and put it on a bench by my front door.). My mom said it had been stored in a dark basement on a shelf for about 70 years when she got it, over 20 years ago. She had stored it somewhere dark in their house, and I'd never even seen it before. It is in absolutely perfect condition, not a single pulled thread or worn fabric! My husband loves it; he works with graphic designers and says he'd love to photograph it to study the design with them. I love it too--I don't know anything about graphic design but do know a great quilt when I see one! And my children love it because although they never met my grandma, they've heard so many stories and love knowing it was made by her grandma!
It is too big for me to machine quilt, so I pulled out needle and thread and worked on it most nights. I'm not a perfectionist at all, so I actually finished it in early July. My stitches definitely got better as time passed. I took it to my parents' house on the 4th of July to sew on the binding and then put it in the washer. That's when my parents told me the entire history, that it had never been washed, and I nearly had heart palpitations when it was in the dryer! But it came out just fine, and of course I immediately took it home and took a nap under it!
Now it's back on the deacons' bench in my entry, and I can't wait for it to be cold enough to sleep under it every night! I am so thankful for a long legacy of women in my family who loved to sew and knit and crochet and create. My children and husband are reaping the benefits, and although I'll never have the time to do everything (or even a fraction) of the projects in my head, it is extremely satisfying to look at an entirely hand-sewn quilt and know that it has been handed down through the generations and is still loved today. And that I had a part in making it!
And since I loved quilting it so much, I went back to my mom's and borrowed another quilt top to quilt--this one belongs to her, and I can't wait to finish it and take it back to her! Eventually :)