This was my grandmother Dorothy in 1930. She was 10.
I'm getting ready to make a quilt. I was ironing all the scraps and fat quarters and half yards of fabric my mother and I have compiled, and I got a bit annoyed and wished I had a cordless iron, like some of my quilting firneds have. Then I realized, they're much older than me, and they have done their time with corded irons. My grandmother probably didn't even have an electric iron for a good while. Why isn't this good enough for me?
My mom was pretty thrifty while we were growing up. I used to joke that my family was so good at pinching pennies, you should have seen the bruises on my arms. We didn't have some things that other kids had, but they didn't have some of the stuff we did. My mom made our clothes when we were little, and when I was seven she made my sister and I quilts. Nothing fancy, just squares of scrap fabric she had, all sewn together in a diagonal stripe pattern. To this day, that is my favorite quilt. I know where every piece of that fabric came from. The hot pink with black stripes was a shirt and shorts set she made me, the white with teal spots was a dress, so was the white with blue and most of the purples. Some of the fabric was from her maternity clothes from when she was pregnant with my brother, and some is from fabric our friend's moms gave her. The blue backing was from curtains my parents had in Nevada. The pink gingham on the back of my sister's quilt was from curtains in our room.
I earlier this week had wished that I had money like some of my friends to just go out and buy complementing fabric. And you know what? Not for this quilt. I like that I recognize some of the fabric, and now that mom doesn't have as much time to sew, that means even more. That little face scribbled on the corner of the brown fabric (from when she was making native American girl dolls), that's going right in the quilt. Since the paper pieced design we had picked earlier is a pain, I instead chose a Courthouse Steps pattern to make it in. I think that's extra appropriate, since that's where Mike and I were married and this is our wedding quilt.
I hereby dedicate this summer to the spirit of thriftiness, in honor of my Mum, my grandmother, and a whole line of Moores, Powells and Modies. I will not buy yarn, fabric or anything unnecessary. Fabric for my quilt will be fat quarters or scraps. I will remember that my ancestors didn't have electric sewing machines, air conditioning, MP3's or Wal Marts. Their basic daily worries were survival, not paying off bills or what movies to watch. They didn't have antidepressants, running water or jeans. I would not be the person I am today without these women and their sacrifices. I only hope I can pass along their values and spirit to my children as well as they passed it along to my siblings and I.