To Grandmother’s House We Sew
A grandma and granddaughter fuse together a quilting legacy and love for each other.
When I was 7 years old, I simply loved spending the night at my grandma Cecilia’s house. My two sisters and I were fascinated with her sewing room. Our eyes lit up as we gazed in awe at the various baskets that held countless fabric pieces in every possible pattern.
At the time, we were too small to handle the power of the sewing machine, so we admired the baby blankets, quilts, dresses, pajama pants and pillowcases that my grandma made for us. As we got older, we each picked a project to work on every time we slept over. My first project began with close supervision from my grandma. We sat in the same chair, and she controlled the sewing machine pedal while I gently moved the fabric from side to side and back and forth. Soon I was a sewing fanatic, fabricating pillowcase after pillowcase and giving them to any relative or friend who was interested. I customized each one according to the recipient, with designs like elaborate princess themes as well as simple and elegant versions.
But I could only put so much creativity into pillowcases before this project became repetitive and dull. So my grandma urged me to try quilting. Having seen the many quilts she had made, I was familiar with the variety of styles and designs that could be incorporated into one piece. It was rather intimidating, knowing I had to think of a quilt design to pursue. But with a little help and inspiration from her, I got to work on my first wall quilt.
My grandma entered me into my first quilting competition, the 2009 Racine Quilt Show, when I was 10 years old. After months of dedicated preparation and long hours adhering to my grandma’s quilting advice, it was rewarding to walk into the show with her and see a first-place blue ribbon pinned to my quilt. It depicted Snoople, my purple, octopus-like imaginary friend. My grandma snapped pictures and told all of her quilting friends. Happy to see a young face in the competition, they complimented me. I felt like a celebrity. I could tell how proud my grandma was, which made me
Cecilia Johnson helped granddaughter Elizabeth Busch become an award-winning quilter.