I was recently gifted this amazing box of quilt pieces. They belonged to my great-great grandmother. They are all hand sewn, and the fabric came almost exclusively from feed bags and flour sacks. I love them. And I obviously must learn to quilt. I can't wait to give these beautiful pieces a meaningful life. Plus, I've never met a craft I didn't like, so I'm pretty sure quilting was inevitable. When I sort through these squares, I am all at once sad that this art form was not handed down from generation to generation (and deeply saddened that my chicken feed doesn't come in beautiful cotton fabric) and also thankful that because quilting in my family is a lost art, I get to be the one to revive it.
I love learning a new, useful skill. I love the idea that someday there will be a quilt in my home that is a magical collaboration between two homemakers separated by generations. My great grandmother was a practitioner of "Old Domesticity"; she grew a garden and raised chickens because her family needed to eat. She sewed quilts and clothing from feed bags because her family had to keep warm.
Joining the workforce and paying for these things instead wasn't an option for her. Since we never met, I can't ask her whether she enjoyed her role as a homemaker. Looking at the love put into those perfect little stitches, I can't help but think it wasn't a total drag, but I could just as likely be romanticizing it. You see, I have a choice. If I don't get around to making this quilt I can just pick up a comforter at Target with money I've earned at my job. I am mostly grateful but sometimes overwhelmed by this choice, and the many other choices our generation is faced with.