Grandma lives on through her quilts

My grandmother Malinda (Smith) Beaty shows my daughter Molly a quilt she made.

My grandmother Malinda (Smith) Beaty shows my daughter Molly a quilt she made.

I’ve always had a wide range of interest, and while many people collect things — I prefer to collect stories. But sometimes, the ‘thing’ is part of the story — and that’s the case with my grandma’s quilts.

My grandma Beaty quilted for as long as I can remember. When I was a child, one of the enjoyable parts of traveling ‘back home’ (from Ohio down to Kentucky) once a month was to see what she’d created. Over the years, the list of patterns she crafted was nearly endless. I remember star patterns and Dutch girls to name a few. I also remember the heavy-duty quilts Grandma created out of denim for warmth — they felt like they weighed a ton, but boy could they trap in the heat. (I grew up in a home heated only with a wood stove, so the blankets were especially appreciated during cold Ohio winters).

When I was about 12, I spent a week of my summer vacation with Grandma and Grandpa Beaty and while there I asked Grandma to teach me how to hand quilt. So she did. I would stitch a couple of quilt pieces together. She would look them over and show me what I needed to correct. Even though she was patient with me, I never did get the hang of it, but I did walk away with something as valuable as the skill — an appreciation for how difficult the craft of quilting was — regardless of how easy she made it look.

When my daughter was born, I knew Grandma would quilt a blanket for Molly. When Molly was five or six, Grandma let Molly pick a quilt from her collection. Ten years later, the quilt still graces Molly’s bed.

Although part of me wanted to keep the quilt unused, I know Grandma prefers it this way.

Categories: Appalachia, Family History, Genealogy | Tags:

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