Dresden Plates

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17 Responses

  1. pia says:

    I love this post.
    I felt chills when I read the part about your mother and her divorce.
    But everything got to me–the quilts your kids will never quite know the way you knew them as you don’t know them as your mother did nor did she know them as your grandmother did.
    That’s the stuff in life that keeps me going.
    Sometimes I look at things and feel so sad my niece will never know the story behind them. That’s one reason I’m compelled to write.
    The other being I asked my parents a bazillion questions but never the “right” ones and can’t now.
    Oh yes the third–I’m vain and….

  2. jess says:

    This is beautiful, Jocelyn.

  3. Joanne says:

    The need to know can be consuming. I put a lot of effort into learning why the grandfather I never knew married the grandmother I barely knew. Both deserted the children. By the time I cared to know, no one I knew could tell me; I couldn’t find cousins I didn’t know well who might spill. One day I realized, It was what it was. The end.
    All my research, however, has made me think of Laura Ingalls Wilder in a whole new light.She was your grandmothers! Tough.

  4. Robin says:

    How perfectly lovely. It makes me wish I had a quilt tended to and handed down across generations. Treasure them indeed.

  5. Bijoux says:

    Wow! I’ve never heard of the Dresden plate pattern. What luck that your mom knew how to quilt and was able to finish it. It seems as though those skills are no longer passed down.

    I’ve often wondered about the why and the emotional impact of immigration, etc. I think people were taught to repress their feelings, plus they were too busy surviving.

  6. Erin says:

    Beautiful! Both the writing and the quilt!

  7. Lil says:

    My mother was a quilter, I have two of them (one of which is almost worn through). You’re right, the love comes through.

    Have I ever mentioned just how much I love your stories?

  8. magpie says:

    oh, man. i love that. all of it.

  9. chlost says:

    Gorgeous. The quilt and the story.
    I often see things in antique shops and wonder at the story behind them. The quilts, the photos, the kitchen pots and clothing. What would the former owners want us to know about them?
    Your children are lucky to have such a tangible tie to their grandmother and great grandmother.

  10. Maria says:

    This is why I have a blog. I want to make sure that my daughter knows who her Mother really was, warts and all. I know so little about my own Mother or hers or my Da’s Mother. All stoic, quiet women who weren’t prone to hearts on sleeves and frankly, all three would be APPALLED by the frankness in my blog. My Mother could often recall the month and year something happened, as in, “Your Uncle Pete was born in April of 1929” but never how she felt about finally having a little brother. I would much rather hear THAT story. Those quilts are almost unbelievably lovely and they do tell a tale. Persistence. A willingness to leave something beautiful behind…..

  11. Green Girl in Wisconsin says:

    You need to print this post, make it into an iron-on and then sew it to the back of each of her quilts. My Lord, woman. You brought me to tears.

  12. kmkat says:

    This is wonderful.

  13. I love it all–quilting is definitely something I would like to do someday.

  14. I love this. I found a quilt my grandmother had pieced and quilted it by hand. It is a small quilt and hangs on my wall. I put in some 30,000 stitches to finish it, and then embroidered both our initials on it.

  15. lime says:

    Having grown up as the daughter of a quilter I can say this piece speaks to a deep place in me. Words fail, but there are stitches to tell the story. Thank you.

  16. actonbell says:

    These are beautiful–such wonderful heirlooms! My grandmother was also named Mildred, and I wish we had some of the dresses she made out of flour sacks…

  17. sweffling says:

    I like Green Girl in Wisconsin’s suggestion.
    A very moving piece about what women can hand down but also what never gets known. I once heard someone say that the best advice any parent can give their child is the example of coping with adversity: for a child to see how it is done, and know that it can be done, is to equip them for life. In many ways, the stories behind these quilts do just that. My god daughter wrote a book on quilting which gives the stories behind the quilters as well as the patterns. Thank you for this.
    We don’t have quilts in our family but I do have letters from young children written in the late 1700s to their parents, purporting to come from the family dogs:) They are priceless to me and give a wonderful, if tiny, insight into family life then, at a time when one thinks children were more repressed.

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