I have always loved quilts, especially the stories that accompany them. My mother inherited some quilt blocks from her mother.
Grandma Sommers Frank started a butterfly quilt before my mother was born, more than eighty years ago. She always loved butterflies. I guess she liked their colors and their freedom. When I asked Mom to tell me the story of the butterfly quilt, this is what she said:
My mother kept the quilt blocks in a green, brocade box. We moved a lot during the Great Depression because there was no work for my dad. We would stay with an aunt and uncle for several months at a time, then move on to the next family member. Wherever we went, the green box went too.
As a child I remember asking my mother what was in the box. She showed the fabric squares to me. She had appliqued pieces of butterflies made from materials she kept from the 1920s. Then she embroidered around the butterfly shapes. I asked if I could help her sew, but Mother answered, “No, you’re too little to do it.
I don’t know when she stopped working on the quilt, but she kept all of the squares. Some of them still had the skeins of embroidery floss in matching colors pinned to the squares.
My mother crocheted and did crewel embroidery when I was growing up, but she never took the quilt squares out to work on them. I never even knew it existed until a few years ago.
Mom decided to have someone else complete the quilt so she could enjoy this keepsake. She supported a mission through her church and found out from their newsletter the ladies in the mission could complete her quilt. She corresponded with one of them and settled on a price for a queen-size quilt using Grandma’s squares. She laid the quilt squares out on her couch and took this picture before mailing.
Mom sent the squares in May, and received the completed quilt in September a few years ago.
Twelve ladies worked on the quilt, and did a beautiful job finishing the embroidery, assembling the squares, putting the backing and border on it, and finally quilting it. Mom was thrilled when she received the finished product, and happy that it helped support the mission at the same time.
My mother found a way to carry out Grandma’s vision, and now she enjoys a very special quilt. I’m happy to add another story to our family scrapbook of memories.