28 February 2007

Winter Along the Bay and Patchwork Quilts

When this is how it looks outside, your thoughts turn to hearty food — and that's what I've got on the menu for the rest of the week.

Meanwhile, I wanted to call your attention to a new site that brings together "a patchwork quilt" of women bloggers, 100 BloggingBabes. As it happens, a post from this blog is today's feature.

I like the quilt analogy a lot. One of my first important gifts from Grandma Annie was a 1930s-era Sunbonnet Sue quilt, with lilac as its predominant color. I treasured that quilt for years, until I gave it to my niece Molly on the the day she was baptized. I am a firm believer in passing such gifts along in your lifetime. We are only caretakers, not owners, of family legacies.

I do not have ready access to a photo of the quilt. Instead, I share today one of the reasons we like quilts so much: Cold weather. Every bed in my house has at least one quilt. In winter, sometimes two are piled on. So, yes, they keep us warm and comfortable.

But also, quilts are a way of preserving those odd bits of material and memory and a way of paying forward. We've all heard the saying, "When life gives you scraps, make a quilt." Yes, it may be a bit corny, but it reflects my approach to life and often, to cooking.

Finally, quilts have always represented a way for women to bond. Mémére had a quilting frame (long gone, alas!) set up in her sunny living room and I am told that in the 1930s and 1940s, she and her friends often sat there in the afternoons, making warmth from remnants.

How I wish I could have watched them.

22 comments:

sher said...

Wonderful post! My mom was a master quilt maker and I have 5 of her quilts, which I treasure. I'm always amazed when I look at them. I can barely sew a straight line!

Mimi said...

I'm the same way, Sher. I tried. I really did. It was pathetic.

But I love quilts and have gone to many quilt auctions. I guess that's as far as it will go...

Terry B said...

Mimi, thanks for giving 100 Blogging Babes a shout out. It's one of a number of blogs by my Brooklyn buddy Ronnie Ann. She also does the eclectic, entertaining Out Of My Head. Check it out--you'll find a link to it on my blog.

Mimi said...

You have lovely friends, Terry B!

Laura Florand said...

A beautiful post.

My mother made Memory Quilts for all her 7 children: each square a carefully embroidered appliquéd work of art featuring some important moment in/aspect of our life up to that point. She gave me mine on my 30th birthday. Each quilt is an extraordinary thing, both in terms of art and in the love that went into it, the celebration of each child's value and life--perhaps for each of us our most treasured possession.

Mimi said...

Beautifully put, as usual, Laura.

Laura Florand said...

I just love this: "making warmth from remnants." You have a real way of finding the right word, the right image...the right ingredient to whatever recipe you have in hand, if you will.

Mimi said...

Laura, you are too kind.

And so smart! So glad we visit each other!

Lydia said...

Quilting is a wonderful tradition. I received some small quilted pieces many years ago, and have passed them on -- because, yes, they are to be shared. I've often had the urge to start a crazy quilt, but the farthest I've gotten is making runners for the dining table. They are quilted from old pieces of blue jeans from all of our family, and every time I set the table with one of the runners, it makes me smile.

Mimi said...

Sounds wonderful, Lydia. I think we should all dine at your house.

If you make one of those cakes with cognac...

Erika said...

I would love to learn how to quilt, your story is beautiful, and how generous to share that quilt!

I have a completely unrelated question for you... a friend of mine was given some cudighi bulk sausage. Are you familiar with it- and do you have any suggestions what to do with it?

Mimi said...

Wow, cudighi is a very Yooper kind of sausage. Only it's really Italian, I guess.

Try this link:

4pkruger.com/cudighi_recipe.html

Paul said...

If that's the view from your house, I'm very jealous. Lorrie and I have been talking about moving back up to the area one day...

Erika said...

Thanks Mimi. I will recommend to my friends that they treat their cudighi like Italian sausage.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

My aunt who I always considered my second mom, did quilts for all her siblings (6) and all their children (16) and then did it again for any of us interested. She did a Cathedral Window and a log cabin for me.
I think it's amazing that you gave your neice your quilt. I've always felt the things I'd llike to inherit from others, they should keep to infuse all their history and love into them. But, I see your way also.

Jann said...

Oh, if quilts could talk, wouldn't that be something! So many nations in the world have their "quilts" to preserve and pass on some history either to friends or family-I made a quilt once, with the help of my mother-in-law. She used to do this for therapy and produced some really nice quilts. What a great talent people have to produce these beautiful designs in fabric.

Mimi said...

It's not the view from my house, Paul! I wish! I should have specified that it is the view from my drive to work at the university.

Eirka, I'm determined to try cudighi. I know its big up in the Negaunee area.

I was torn, Tanna. But I'd had the quilt since I was a teenager, and I think grandma Annie would have wanted me to pass it on to another generation. You know the old, "He/she who gives while he.she lives also knows where it goes..."

I like choosing the fabrics and doing the actual quilting. It's the piecing I cannot get into, Jann, so I admire anyone who has made a whole quilt. I did a table topper for my sister once. I was furiously finishing it on Christmas Eve!

Freya said...

This is a beautifully evocative post! My mother made a quilt when she was pregnant with me, and continued making it after I was born, stitching in fabric from my baby blankets and so forth. I love that quilt even though she never finished it.

Mimi said...

How wonderful, Freya. That really is heart-warming, Mothers do such loving things, don't they?

Terri said...

This was a great post, Mimi. I tried to get to that link, but got a message that the blog couldn't be found. (pout)
I also love quilts and out of all the crafts I've done over the years that's one I've never attempted. My family was big on knitting and crochet. As a result, my mom knitted wonderful afghans for everyone in the family. Believe me, on a chilly day here, I love cuddling up with that on the sofa. Plus, it brings back warm memories seeing her sitting surrounded by her yarn and needles.

Mimi said...

That's weird, Terri — the link comes up for me.

My mother made doll clothing instead of quilts — she loved fashion and was at her best when devising some elegant costume for my Barbie dolls.

sheela said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


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