Heartfelt Charity QAL – Darling Block #3

Today, the lovely folks at Fat Quarter Shop are releasing the pattern for block three of their Heartfelt Quilt Along. This month’s block is named Darling, and the free downloadable pattern and details about this wonderful quilt along are available on their blog.

FQS asked those quilting along (me being one of those quilters) to tell a bit about ourselves each month, as a block was released. Each month, one or two of us quilters will be featured. This is my month and, when asked what was one of my most heartfelt quilt projects, I was stumped for a moment.

I have made so many quilts, and normally they go out the door to their new owners while the binding’s still hot, so to speak. Most of the time, I feel like whatever project I’m working on is my “favorite.”

But after thinking about it just a bit, the choice was pretty obvious. Mine and Grandma’s quilt. It doesn’t really have any other name. I share this story over on the Fat Quarter Shop’s blog, so you’re welcome to read it there. Otherwise, continue on and hear the story.

I was lucky enough to grow up on the same farm where my dad was raised. His mom, “Grandma,” lived right next door to us. We shared a driveway, yard, all our meals, and as kids, we’d always be over at Grandma’s house. The cookie jar was always full, and we could watch whatever we wanted on one of the only three tv channels available in “the old days.” 

Grandma was an avid quilter. She was always cutting and piecing blocks into quilts that were then sent off to a quilter to be finished and have the binding added. I think every person in her family, as well as close friends, received two finished quilts when they got married. Many were already made before she passed away at the ripe old age of 98 and later delivered to grandkids on their wedding days. She would have loved all the gorgeous fabrics and fancy quilting tools we have today.

Growing up, I loved anything crafty, but I really didn’t have much interest in quilting. It was just there. Nothing novel about it; afterall, I saw it every day. However, Grandma (by this time about 90 years old) convinced me to help her make a quilt. I still remember standing at her kitchen table, carefully drawing a 4-inch square of cardboard and cutting it out under her watchful eye.

I then traced that cardboard template on to a bajillion scraps of fabric. Many of the scraps came from clothing we had outgrown. I remember the “17” and “strawberry” fabrics being from some of my clothes. It’s like “Where’s Waldo,” naming and finding fabrics in the quilt.

After all the tracing was done and the blocks cut out, my job was done. Grandma pieced it all together, had it finished and presented me with the quilt. It was my bedspread during my junior and high school years, college, and later. I grew up with this quilt. It heard prayers at night and muffled giggles from non-sleeping sleepovers. It soaked up tears from teenage heartaches. When my husband and I married, it went from a bedspread to a couch quilt and has shared its warmth with me and my cats.

The most heartfelt lesson I learned from this quilt is that the most tattered, worn quilts are usually the ones that got and gave the most love. When I gift quilts today, I let people know that the greatest compliment they can give me is to love and use the quilt so much that ten years from they’ll need a new one.

I hope everyone has a “Grandma” or “Heartfelt” quilt. If so, use it. Love it. Let it love you. Wear it out. Only when it’s starting to come apart at the seams, think about folding it to hang over the back of a chair. Fill it with memories.

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