Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sometimes the smallest tools...

can bring the greatest satisfaction. 
I've spent some time today hand quilting.   An art that I have too long neglected.  My work today has reminded me how much I love it.  Aside from the sore fingers and the damage to my fingernails, hand quilting brings me much comfort. 
As I sat at my frame this evening I was visited by thoughts of my good friend Kitty.  She moved into the house across the street from where I lived with my young family back in 1980.  Jared was 2 and Rena was about 6 months old when Kitty & Joe moved into the newly finished house across Dobbins Drive.  She was about 68 at that time.  Within a couple months of their arrival a lumber delivery appeared in their driveway.  Over the course of a few weeks I watched that 68 yr old woman build a deck on the front of their house with very little help from her physically ailing husband.  I took her presence outside as an invitation to introduce myself and my children to what would become our surrogate grandparents for the next 6 or 7 years.  When I would get up in the night for whatever reason I would see light shining from her living room windows...sometimes at 2:30 or 3am.  Kitty would be sitting at her quilt frame late into the night...she hand pieced and quilted 2 king-size Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts that first winter.  During our first few visits I would learn that she was from Ohio, had worked in a foundry during WW2 as a welder.   They had decided to move south to enjoy some warmer weather and be near her sister who lived a couple miles away. 

Kitty, like most quilters, enjoyed sharing her enthusiasm for the craft with others.  She encouraged me to go with her to a quilt show, my first but not last, and I was hooked  We would travel to Fort Payne, Alabama where there were mill outlets and we could purchase fabrics for quilt backs that were 108" wide, something that was not readily available where I lived back in the early 80s.  On one trip we even stopped at  the official Alabama Museum.   She was a fearless woman and showed me I could do anything I set my mind to.

I hold her memory in my heart and thank her often for the wonderful world she introduced me to. 

When I sit at my frame I can still see her light shining...

7 comments:

WonderWhyGal said...

What a wonderful story. Kitty sounds like an amazing woman.

Your quilt is looking great. I can't wait to see the finished project.

Margaret said...

Beautiful post that brought a tear to my eye.
Your clouds look nice.

Grace said...

that was a beautiful post, i love cherished memories like that and you told it so captivatingly!!! An old hand quilter and instructor, myself

Channon said...

Beautiful quilting and an even prettier story. Here's to Kitty and the women like her shining on for each of us.

Nerdy Knitter said...

She was an amazing woman. "Honest to goodness" is all I could think the whole time I read this and how she always said my name with that southern drawl....A wonderful lady and a wonderful story!! A good memory from long ago. Thanks for the reminder. ***tears****

Nerdy Knitter said...

p.s. the clouds look amazing!!!! You are so talented :)

tracyb said...

my mother was from Section Alabama, just up the mountain from Ft. Payne.