They didn’t have a radio, and television had not yet come into our lives, so when we were in the room with her as she quilted, it seemed we could hear the needles go through the materials with the whispering of thread soon following. And she made such tiny stitches.
She would stitch until the thread was as short as it could get because money was short and thread could cost as much as five cents a spool.
She would save the spools and later would make up a batch of soapy water. We would dip the spools into the water and soap mixture and blow beautiful bubbles. On sunny days, we would watch as they drifted, many times out of sight and many times they would soon burst.
Often my Grandmother Reynolds would give us small pieces of material with a needle and a bit of thread and let us sew the pieces together so we could make doll quilts. My middle sister was quite good, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t even finish a blouse in home economics class in high school. My teacher, Miss Willie Moss, finally gave up and said, “Don’t try to be a seamstress.” She knew me well.
My Grandmother Ratliff hooked and braided rugs, and had the hooking frames set up in the living room by the fireplace. I wish we had kept them when she sold her home in Bath County, but at that time no one gave it a thought, not even her daughter, my Aunt Alice.
Anyway, when she was not hooking rugs,the frame was covered to protect her work and only she could remove the sheet. She made many beautiful hooked rugs, but one I especially remember was a black background with a hugh red rose in the center. It wasn’t too large, but it fit perfectly in front of the fireplace and was just right to stretch out on and get warm before dozing off.
The material she used for braided rugs also came from everywhere and was cut into strips, rolled, braided and sewn together. Today I see them advertised on television or in a store and I always remember how much she worked on a large rug that was made from scraps and served as a resting place for the big harvest table that sat in her dining room.
All these memories popped into my head as I lay under an afghan.
No wonder I had pleasant dreams that night.
Visits to their homes always were present and I didn’t know at the time I was making memories.