Sunday, 16 April 2017

Memories and treasures

The last couple of weeks have been spent clearing out Laura's apartment. Sometimes alone and sometimes with help. It is a strange situation to be in as I didn't know Laura that well and we weren't particularly close, but she had been part of my life since I met George in 1975. She was a "collector" (Aimee and Mike's kind way of describing her penchant for amassing stuff) although she had improved in this regard in the last 10 years.
So much of what I am sorting through and throwing away or donating was important to her. It amounts to memories. People, events, places, things, activities that mattered to her. But most of it means nothing to me or to Mike and Christine, her only remaining close relatives. I find myself feeling badly that I am donating things that mattered enough to her that she purchased and then used, displayed or stored them. But the person they mattered to is gone and hopefully they will matter enough to someone else that they will purchase and use, display or store them.
In among her "stuff" there are family treasures though and a few of those will be kept. One is the quilt handmade by her grandmother given to her when she married. I think her grandmothers name was Eva Delbridge.
I washed it in cold water, on the delicate cycle, because it smelled a bit musty and then hung it in the wind to dry.

Rasta had to get in on the action. It is a beautiful quilt. Nicky (who, with Dave, was helping me when we found it) said that few people are hand quilting anymore because the sewing machines can do it all now. It looks to me as if a new border was put on at some point, perhaps the edges got frayed.

Tiny little hand done stitches. Laura remembered visiting her grandmother and being unable to use the dining room because the big frame was set up in there, with a quilt in progress. She must have stopped when she was getting older as George didn't remember that.
Stitch patterns on the flannelette backing.
What a huge amount of work each quilt must have been and she made a lot.
This one was given to Berneice and Alec (George and Laura's parents) when they were married. Eva Delbridge was Berneice's mother. I don't think it was ever used as it is in pristine condition.
The hand stitch patterns are unique to each quilt.
This is the quilt, made by Eva, that Berneice gave George and I when we got married. I had planned on hanging it, even sewed tabs on it to do that, but never got around to it.
Bows stitched between the plates.
I am of two minds. I want to use them. They were made to be used. They are lovely. But I also want to preserve them. They are rare treasures and becoming rarer. They are part of the family heritage. I think I will use them sparingly.
Berneice also gave George and I two quilts to be given to her grandchildren when they married. So now Chris and Jason, Mike and Aimee, have a quilts from Eva. 5 quilts, 3 with her grandsons widow and 2 with her great grand children. Perhaps they will last to be handed down to her great great grandchildren.

1 comment:

  1. I remember Grandma being so proud of the evenness of the stitching on these quilts, that they were so well done it almost looked like a machine because each stitch is the same size. She was also a milliner right? Is that the same person?

    Also, did you give me one when I got married? I was given the twin-size one with squares from Grandma when I turned 16. And I use it, and there is danger to that.

    As Aunty Nicky can attest, depending on the use it can wear things out. The extra-long-twin log house one that Aunty Nicky made for me was used all the time as one of my two main comforters, and now it needs repair. The antique square one sits a the bottom of the bed and gets used occasionally when it is really needed. But now the arcade patterned king-size that was made by Aunty Nicky and given to us for our wedding is our main comforter - I love to use these beautiful things but it is always sad when they start to get damaged.