• Sharon Shirk

Handiwork Passed Down

Earlier this month I wrote about my own collection of Amish and Mennonite Quilts, and the role they play not only in Lancaster traditions, but also in my own history. Carl’s mother was also an avid quilter who did beautiful work. Last year she sold her household stuff and moved to a Nursing Home. When we did the auction, we took lots of pictures (included in this post) of each of the ones for sale. They all were bought by her children and grandchildren, so are well loved in their homes “cause they were hand-made by Grama.” She loved seeing her legacy of handiwork passed down.

She loved telling us the stories that went with each quilt as they were pulled out of storage and prepared for the family auction. One of them was special- made for her second marriage, just 10 yrs before. Both of the bedrooms in their house were decked with a quilt, saying lots of what Grama thought about home-made decorating.

Carl’s mother was a part of the quilt scene in a number of different ways. She pieced quilts at home and made quilts for her children and grandchildren. She loved piecing quilts and comforters for the Church Sewing Circle which she did till just recently. Someone else did the cutting and her old Singer sewing machine was her partner.

The quilt below is called a friendship quilt. It was done by twelve of her friends and family who embroidered something special onto a plain square. I don’t recall the exact history of this particular quilt, but typically these quilts are made to celebrate something special like a birthday, birth, or anniversary.

Last year when two new babies joined our family, we made quilt/comforters for them together. She needed help with the cutting, but enjoyed the familiar process of sewing the square patches. These are likely two of the last quilt/comforters that Carl’s mother will make, and will be treasured as gifts that have that home-made value that she will be remembered for and that will be loved by even her great-grandchildren!

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