Red Turquoise 9 Square

Red Turquoise 9 Square

Last week I was tag surfing, as I am wont to do, and some person unknown made a statement to the effect that ‘It wasn’t an heirloom quality quilt…just maybe picnic quilt’. Well at that moment, I thought nothing about it, and went on with my browsing. 

But then this weekend it slunk back from the depths of my memory banks & eased itself up to my conscience. Something about it just didn’t sound right. It festered around on Saturday as I spent the afternoon sewing Disappearing Nine Patch squares on my boat S/V Outrageous. (sewing while on the boat…not actually sewing patches onto the boat!) It was pretty steamy and not too many folk about. So the luxury of an air-conditioned boat, 65 percent humidity and close to 90 degree temps were as good as an excuse as any to have some quality “Me’ time with my little Singer Genie.

Then it hit me….the problem with the person’s statement. ALL quilts are heirloom quality/worthy/potential! When you consider the amount of time and effort and love that’s put into every quilt ever made, it matters not that sometimes the corners don’t match, the tip of a triangle doesn’t show, that the fabric choices were less than appealing.

If someone cares about another enough to spend the time necessary to create a quilt, then there’s a good chance that it will be considered a precious possession by the person receiving it.  Merriam Webster Online defines ‘heirloom’ as:  “Something of special value handed on from one generation to another.” Sounds about right to me!!

Now, I believe that what the author meant to say was that the quilt in question  wasn’t  SHOW quality or COMPETITION quality. Big difference there. I would never even consider entering a quilt in a competition. I’m a real beginner when it comes to quilting, and my work certainly shows it. But I would like to think that the quilts I have made, imperfections and all, will be considered well-loved possessions by the owners and one day passed on to their  heirs.

I’m sure most of the ‘Quilty’ folk out there have a quilt or two (or more) passed down from an Auntie or Grandma or other friend or family member. And you love your quilt, because that person made it. Not because it’s a prize winner in a show. Because you love that person or that person loved you.

I hope that one day I’ll make a quilt that is ‘show worthy’. But in the meantime, I’ll just keep quilting along….making memories and showing my love with my little quilts.


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  1. thecuriousquilter Says:

    I am with you, as a matter of fact I blogged about the tendency to be critical instead of supportive myself today. I have also declared war on apologizing because my quilting isn’t as perfect as it could be… Enough! It is all about the joy you get from the process, the product, or both. I am absolutely certain that every quilter who has a display in some museum also made a lot of so-so quilts at some time too.

    I like that definition of HEIRPLOOM. In my family, the love of music, sewing, cooking, and gardening has been passed on for generations. I adore items my mom and aunts and others stitched, not because they are perfect, but because they were touched by THOSE hands! My sons carry on the tradition through their music and cooking. A pretty quilt is a pretty quilt, a family that values their roots and expresses them in daily life is far more special.

    – Mary

  2. pixilated2 Says:

    Hi Penny, Now you’ve made me get teary eyed. I have to agree with your statement that any quilt is heirloom quality. I used to own a “Trousers Quilt” that my Granny made. I’m sure it didn’t look like much to the trained quilters eye, but to me it was history in tiny quilters stitches, like chicken foot, and many more I don’t even remember the names of. It was made from my Grandfathers old wool trousers that were no longer ‘serviceable’ and backed with an old army blanket of his that had more than a few blood stains on it. (The stains were never explained by him or her…) Plain, somewhat threadbare, and totally loved by me because it was handmade by my Granny. So why the tears? After so many years of owning it, my husband and I moved into our first home. The first week there some fools broke in and took some electronics and videos, and wrapped them all up in my Granny’s Trousers Quilt to take them away. Of all the things I lost that day that was the one that made me cry.

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