Today at a community event where I was invited to share my quilting story, members of the group were invited to bring some of their family quilts as well. Several did just that. What fun to hear others’ quilt stories.
Cyndi brought a beautiful quilt pieced of hexagons. Of course, the shape of the pieces got my interest immediately. The arrangement of those hexagonal pieces was one I had not seen before, but the captivating feature of the quilt was its multigenerational story.
The quilt was begun sometime prior to 1917 by Alma, for her daughter Cleona. Sixteen-year-old Cleona died that year at the age of 16, and grief-stricken Alma stopped work on the project. Alma herself died before ever getting back to work on the quilt.
Cleona’s aunt, Norma, took on the project at some point, but she, too, died before completing the work.
Years later, Norma’s daughter Cleona (niece to the first Cleona) married and asked her mother-in-law, Sarah, an accomplished quilter, to complete this piece of history. Sarah refused, citing “that quilt has already killed three people!”
Determined, but out of connections to help, the younger Cleona took on the task herself. Her husband built quilting frames for her and she began work. When the master quilter Sarah saw the sub-standard stitches going into that gorgeous design, she gave in and completed the task.
Sarah lived to be 100 years old, so it seems the curse was broken.
Part of my talk emphasized labeling quilts, writing down the stories for future generations. Cyndi had already done just that, complete with a genealogical chart to accompany the story.
Now I’m itching to grab some hexagons and assemble them in the pattern these women used.