I met a new quilting sister today. We have a lot in common. We grew up learning how to sew, making our own clothes, and each of us added quilting to our lives about 15 years ago.
Ruth does almost all her quilting by hand, in an immaculate room in an immaculate house (I said we have a lot in common, not everything). Her work is deliberate and beautiful; she enjoys making quilts and other things from cloth, too, like purses and tote bags.
As we shared stories of our first quilts, I mentioned that mine in the 1970s was a pathetic patchwork made from scraps of drapery fabric from my mother’s sample books. Oh, we shared that, too – mothers who made draperies. Ruth’s mother was an interior designer at Sears and would sometimes bring home remnants of drapery fabric, or imperfect panels. Ruth would disassemble them and reuse the fabric.
One of her proudest moments came from a piece of fabric that was a lovely blue floral. Ruth worked hard to stitch that into a beautiful dress. She was so proud of it and eager to wear it on her first date. In those days, the shoes, purse, all the accessories had to be just right. As she described the preparation, I could imagine her twirling about her living room, light on her feet as the gathered skirt billowed about her tiny waist.
The first stop on their evening out was at his house to meet his parents. She was confident about her appearance until she entered their living room and was invited to take a seat on their sofa. A sofa on which she would have become invisible. She and the furniture were wearing the same fabric.
What a shame. All that work to make such a lovely dress that would only be worn one time.
Photos: Ruth doesn’t have any of her fabric left. But I do have some of my first quilt left; the squares of drapery fabric which haven’t disintegrated. No, you can’t see the whole thing. But it measures 87” x 94” and is hand quilted. Hand quilted by community women who must still talk about me for asking them to needle this jumble of fabrics, varying in thickness and fiber content. The backing is flannel. The whole assembly is ugly, yet warm. That’s the crumpled bundle you see in the top photo.
Here, in a detail photo, I focused on a fabric that I think might fit the description Ruth gave. It looks a lot like the fabric covering the first couch I bought.