The first quilt I ever made was in about 1985. I had made pieced and quilted pillows to give away for Christmas gifts and had sewn many little girl’s dresses and little boys outfits. But my first full quilt wasn’t attempted until my oldest child was about 8. Although torn and somewhat ragged now from years of use, it was a compilation of pinwheel blocks made from bright tropical prints and put together with royal blue solid for stripping and borders.
We lived in the New Orleans, LA area when I made it. After tracing around my cardboard templates, cutting out and piecing the many triangles into their places, then adding the strips and borders, the quilt top went onto my grandmother’s old quilting frames. I sat in the dining room after the children were in bed, night after night, hand quilting all alone with my thoughts and the night sounds that filtered in through the closed windows.
It was a peaceful feeling and somewhere amid the stitches I began to feel as if I was connected by some invisible, eternal thread to my female ancestors. Their stitches had sewn together the generations of love and family that had been blessedly passed to me. And here sat I, carrying forward the love and devotion they passed along with my own stitching. What a privilege; what a feeling.
And about mid-quilt came the Hurricane. I don’t remember the name of that hurricane. It was not one of particular note and it didn’t strike us directly but rather caught us on one edge of its fury. Squalls. The word so aptly describes the experience: pelting rain, wind that shakes the windows, and more pelting rain. Throughout the ruckus and bluster outside I quilted quietly and peacefully inside until the rains were spent, the skies were cleared and I was done.
The name I gave to this quilt was “Louisiana Hurricane”. But the memory of making it always brings me peace.