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Our Emotional Connection To Quilts

Our Emotional Connection To Quilts

By Janelle Cahoon, Quiltcentric

Have you ever noticed that everybody has a quilt story? Even non-quilters. If you bring up the subject in a group of people or if you’re working on a block somewhere in public, people start telling you about quilts they’ve known and loved.

Often the story is about a beloved baby quilt, either their own or belonging to one of their children. Sometimes it’s about a quilt that’s been passed down in their family for generations. Sometimes it’s a sad story of a quilt lost in a family move. You often hear about grandmothers, mothers or aunts who are quilters.

The tone is always reminiscent and loving. It’s clear from the stories that these people have a real emotional connection to these quilts.

As a quilter, I hope the quilts I give are loved and appreciated like that, and I think they usually are. But I wonder what it is about a quilt that makes it so special that it’s remembered years later – sometimes decades later – so fondly.

Part of it, of course, is the fact that someone loved that person enough to make them something special, something unique and all their own.

There is often the extra appeal of the colors or fabrics used. An elderly woman once told me about the quilt her mother made out of carefully-chosen feedsack fabrics during the Depression; she was still touched that so much effort was made to make it in her favorite colors of pink and yellow. A young man grinned just describing the bright lizard fabric in a quilt he had as a boy. Choosing colors and fabrics with the recipient’s tastes in mind clearly helps make the quilt special.

I think the main source of the connection, though, is the warmth and comfort of the quilt as they wrap it around them, the love of the quilter who made it and put it into a tangible object. That connection, and years of loving memories, still touches them as they remember it years later. A quilt is like a warm hug – and who wouldn’t love that?


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