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The Quilting Frame
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The Quilting Frame
by Carolyn M. Kenney
Angie and twelve friends sat around the large quilting frame situated in the middle of our family living room. My grandmother (her friends called her Angie) and her friends were originally from rural Nova Scotia. They spent this particular day carefully sewing a pattern of a young girl carrying a water can onto the top of the quilt. The young child could easily have been any one of the women present.
Whenever my grandmother had to “finish off” a quilt, she could always rely on her friends for help. All the women were eager to come; it was one time when old acquaintances could gather together, enjoy each other’s company and reminisce of the “good old days.” They were advancing in years and did not get out as much as they used to. One by one, they would arrive at our house the morning of the “quilting bee.” My grandmother would eagerly greet them at the front door, speaking in her native tongue of French Canadian. Of course, I did not understand a word they said. However, I would love to listen to my grandmother’s animated voice and my heart thrilled to see the joy on her face. Memories of her native Nova Scotia were prevalent in her mind. Times and places long ago forgotten were in the forefront once again.
Each of the women was taught how to sew at their mothers’ feet. You see, there was not much to do in Nova Scotia before the turn of the 20th century. Their fingers moved precisely and adeptly up and down through the cloth now situated before them. The quilts were made by hand; the patterns used came from the creativity of the mind. Their voices echoed throughout the house as my mother made their hot noon meal. Good home cooking, combined with laughter and jokes told in French, made for a joyous day.
Sewing takes patience and precision; the talents of the twelve friends present were innumerable. The careful concern for their work was matched by the tender thoughtfulness of one another. As I think back to those days, I realize how blessed my family and I were to partake of the joy shared by my grandmother and the other women. We called her Nana; the others present called her friend.
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