Quilting is a form of storytelling. I love that about quilters and quilts. Storytelling in the design, but also in the process of quilting. And I’m excited to introduce you to my reader-friend, Amy Campbell, and share her story in this sixth week of the Quilters and Quilts Series.
MONA: Who inspired your love of quilts and quilting?
AMY: I love quilts because of my grandma, Molly Conner. She was a lifetime quilter. When I was little, she would show me her old trunk full of quilts she and her mother had made over the years. She would tell me stories about the quilts, which led to more stories about her, Granddaddy, her parents, grandparents, and her 14 brothers and sisters.
MONA: What a rich family and quilting heritage you have.
AMY: Yes. When I see a quilt, I think of Grandma Molly. For my 13th birthday, she gave me a Butterfly Quilt she had made when she and Granddaddy were first married in 1933.
They were married two months shy of 72 years. I loved that quilt! After several years, the old fabric started deteriorating and was in desperate need of repair. By that time, Grandma was up in her years and was unable to fix it.
MONA: What a shame.
AMY: One day, I happened to see a quilting show that was doing an episode on how to repair a 1930s Butterfly Quilt. That’s when I knew I should try repairing the quilt myself. I found reproduction fabrics of the era and proudly repaired it. When Grandma saw it, she couldn’t tell where the repairs had been made. Sadly, in 2011, Grandma passed away. She was six months shy of 100 years old and had been living at home taking care of herself until the last month. I was seven months pregnant with my son at that time. I decided right then that his middle name would be Conner in honor of Grandma and Granddaddy.
MONA: What a sweet tribute! And Grandma Conners trunk of quilts?
AMY: After her passing, I inherited that old trunk full of quilts. When I opened that old trunk, I was flooded with old memories. What a beautiful gift to receive. In that old trunk were many old quilt tops. One that she called a Crazy Quilt. I always loved that top because it had a couple of pieces of fabric of the old fashioned Mickey Mouse on it. I quickly went to work making that top into a quilt.
Another treasure I found was a quilt that was made out of silk ties. This quilt was made by Grandma’s mother. The silk ties had belonged to Grandma’s brother, Joe. Grandma always said that she thought the quilt was 90-100 years old.
Finally, I found 16- 24×24 inch Dresden plate squares that Grandma made out of old feed sacks. I had to do something with those squares! I was even having dreams about them. I decided to piece these squares into a finished quilt and quilted it by hand. I started this project September 2012 and finished October 2013. For a beginner, I thought it turned out great.
Over the last year working on the quilt, I spent a lot of time thinking about what Grandma went through to get those Dresden plates together. You can see 2-3 small pieces of fabric sewn together to make one little section of the plate.
To me those small pieces had a lot significance.
1. During the Depression era, you appreciated what God gave you and never took it for granted. Something we all could learn from.
2. Little things that seem too small and worthless can lead to something bigger, better, and beautiful.
3. Dream big! No matter where you start, dreams do come true.
MONA: Beautifully said, Amy. Thanks so much for sharing your quilting story and family history with us. What a rich heritage you have.
AMY: Thank you, Mona! I’m honored you asked me to be your guest. Any time I get to tell about my Grandma and her quilts makes my day!
What about you? Does your family history include quilting? Have you ever completed a quilt someone else started?