Memories in a quilt…

Modern day patchwork quilts are very often made using newly bought fabrics – most of the ones I’ve made certainly have been.  Of course, traditionally, patchwork quilts were pieced together from left-over scraps and fabric reclaimed from worn-out clothing or bedding.  Those true scrap quilts hold lots of memories for whoever made and then used them as the fabrics were direct reminders of people who had worn the clothing and of shared events and situations.

My hand-quilting WIP
My hand-quilting WIP

One of my ‘WIPs’ (work in progress) is made entirely of new fabrics but as I sit hand quilting it I’ve come to realise this quilt already holds memories for me – in fact one that is particularly precious.  The floral fabric was bought during my first visit to the Malvern Quilt’s UK Show in 2011.  Having enjoyed wandering through the amazing quilts on show and doing a bit of shopping (sticking to my list) the metre of fabric was my end-of-the-day impulse buy!

The impulse-buy floral fabric!
The impulse-buy floral fabric!

It stayed, patted, stroked and loved, in my growing stash until 2013 when I enrolled in a sew-a-long workshop.  Having enrolled I then had to buy some more fabrics…  A trip to Bath provided the perfect opportunity to visit ‘Country Threads’ , described on their website thus:

Country Threads is a  dedicated Patchwork and Quilting shop, established for 19 years, located in the centre of the beautiful Georgian City of Bath, Somerset, down a little cobbled street within the sound of Bath Abbey Bells.

The shop and it’s contents were quite as lovely as the description reads!  Enough of a memory then, visiting Bath on a warm July day?  But the day was about far more than buying fabric in a beautiful city!  Our daughter’s boyfriend  had asked us to meet in Bath as part of a surprise day out he was arranging for her.  By the time we all met she had had the biggest surprise ever – a marriage proposal from said boyfriend!

With this quilt draped over my lap while I continue to stitch I realise; there are already precious memories bound up in this brand new fabric.  (And, I’m very happy to say, in April 2014, boyfriend became husband and son-in-law!)

Showing the tone-on-tone- fabrics purchased from Country Threads
Showing the tone-on-tone- fabrics purchased from Country Threads on that special day in Bath

And from memories stored in fabric to a reminder sparked by some words spoken this weekend by Martin Morrison a visiting clergyman from South Africa.   Images we see of Jesus in the approach to Christmas will be of him as a helpless babe in a manger or being held in his mother’s arms; it is difficult to remember that he was 100% God come down to Earth even as he was 100% human.   Martin used a scene described in Mark’s Gospel:  Jesus asleep in a boat after a long day speaking to large crowds; a storm brewing, waves threatening to sink the boat; fearful disciples waking Him; and then Jesus rising from sleep:

He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves.  “Quiet! Be still!”  Then the wind died down and it was completely calm…

They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this?  Even the wind and the waves obey him!”

Mark 4:35-41

What a powerful reminder this is!  And, how easy it is to forget that even the baby Jesus caused grown men either to kneel and worship Him or to attempt to seek and destroy Him. Any time of the year is a good time to ask, “Who is this Jesus?”

Humm!  There’s a lot of thinking and reflecting goes on in a quilter’s armchair!

Quilt patiently awaiting some attention in my thoughtful chair!
Quilt patiently awaiting some attention in my thoughtful chair!

I’ll be attempting to link this post with WIP Wednesdays at



0 thoughts on “Memories in a quilt…

  1. Hi Allison, lovely story. If I ever get over to England again I will be coming to the Somerset area because I would like to visit John Leach the famous potter at Muchelney. Then I’d like to continue down to his grandfathers original studio at St. Ives – I believe there is a bit of a museum there. Now you’ve given me the name of a quilt shop to stop at on my way there !


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