Old Sisters Together
Old Sisters Together
Slipping sliding in their stacks
to nestle folds and feathers
Frail whispers float
in sun-warmed air
lacing memories together.
“We’re glad you joined us, Ruby, dear.”
(“Her stitches are gigantic!”)
(“We’ll take them out after she goes,
no need to be so frantic!
You were a beginner once,
and you improved with time.”)
(“What? You picked my stitches out?”)
(“Of course we did, as long ago,
someone picked out mine.”)
“These children underneath the frame!
Albert’s bumped his head,
Neal’s mouth is stuffed with butter
but I don’t see any bread!
Annie’s grabbed my thimble —
can’t we send them out to play?”
“No, let them stay, they grow up so fast,
we’ll laugh at this some day.”
“Grace, this quilt will look so pretty
when you get to your new home
and wherever else you roam.”
(“In ’32 they lost the farm,
that was the hardest year.”)
“I’ll trade you purple daisies, Ruth,
for that red I need right here.”
(“Both her boys were called up last month,
and her brother has gone too.”)
“Cora, I’m so glad you’re here,
no one marks as well as you!”
The partings seem so many,
New arrivals all too few.
When troubles strike
and gray times spread
what can “just women” do?
Such hopelessness —
Cold enemies in wait…
Can we ever overcome this?
It’s bound to be too late.
Pull out all the colors
Blend the patterns bold and bright
Swap your scraps and stories
and slowly build the light.
Gather in a circle,
place your stitches next to mine.
We’ll pass on all the love we can,
our hands always intertwined.
I read a writing prompt: “The shadows on your wall are speaking. Write about the conversation that follows.”* At my house, the shadows don’t talk, but the textiles are never silent!
And then I read Verónica’s story about how knitting helps her with blue times, and Kerry’s post on what the linens are saying at her house, and we seemed to be on the same page, thinking about how the small touches by ordinary women have meant so much to us through the years.
*The prompt is from A Year of Creative Writing Prompts by Love in Ink
Oh my, that was wonderful. What camaraderie. Thank you.
Oh, I am glad you liked it. Some of it was based on stories my grandmother told me about her quilting group. I think she would have liked it too. 🙂
She would have loved it. There is that certain bond between women who work together on quilts or perhaps sit together as each knits or crochets something for hospitals, etc. Beautiful.
This is a lovely picture you’ve painted, so easy to envision. Thanks for sharing it.
Thank you. Once I read the prompt, the idea popped into my head and stayed there until I got it finished! 🙂
Wow! This is great – so visual! And the quilt pictures with the poem are perfect. Gram would be honored.
She would say, “Gwen! I hope Ruby doesn’t read that stitch story! I told you that in confidence!” 🙂
Ah yes! We still mention Ruby from time to time. We are surely blessed with so many memories.
I loved this – words, pics, poem – all worked together so well and really brought the quilts to life. What beautiful quilts you have!
Thank you for the lovely comments.
Most of my quilts were labelled “cutter quilts” when I bought them – the shop owner didn’t think they were good enough to use or display. But to me their bad condition just adds to their story — and they do look pretty good if you fold them right! 🙂
I’ve heard of poems inspiring quilts, but I love your twist of quilts inspiring a poem. I think you’ve captured perfectly how quilting was done in the midst of other daily chores, and the thoughts that must have passed through the minds of the quilters.
Thank you. All those women are so real to me, I feel like I was actually there when these quilts were put together! 🙂
Jeez, Gwen, this gave me cold chills!! It’s just wonderful–it captures a time and place and set of circumstances so well!
Thank you. I never sat with my grandmother when she quilted with her group, but her stories and other family memories are strong in my mind and they all kind of mixed together.
Keeping oral tradition alive is very important to our history. Lovely!
I had to go back and reread that poem, esp that 2nd verse…….picking out the ‘gigantic’ stitches, still making me laugh!
I am so glad you liked it. When my daughters asked me to make quilts for them, they both said they wanted them to be hand-quilted, and those were the first two I made – and I have told them that I need to get those quilts back to re-do them, to get rid of my own gigantic stitches!
Oh wow what a Great Post. Blessings, Mtetar
Glad you liked it!
Thank you, your opinion means a lot to me!
You have inspired me to put all my old quilts together, so they can share stitches. I have some pretty old quilts, including a Flower Garden that belonged to my Grandmother and a quilt she made from her blue and white checked nurse’s uniform ( about 1910)! Jane
Hurray! When the first Toy Story movie came out, I felt the same way about our old toys, like I needed to get them out of the attic and onto a shelf where they could be together. 🙂 It is nice to have the quilts together, they are easier to pet when you walk by.
That nurse’s uniform quilt would have such interesting stories to tell!
Trying to catch up on your posts and see what y’all have been up to. Loved the poem/saying.
Thank you, bits and pieces of it came to me over about a week, and I fit some family history in there too!
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