Be­ing wowed by quilt sto­ries

The Amherst News - - OP-ED - Clare Christie Clare Christie is a mem­ber of the Amherst News Com­mu­nity Ed­i­to­rial Panel. She can be reached at

Quilt­ing is a whole world unto it­self. One gets a good glimpse of it by tour­ing Amherst churches dur­ing our im­pres­sive Fi­bre Arts Fes­ti­val the week af­ter Thanks­giv­ing.

So to be wowed by a quilt story is spe­cial - and I was wowed by the quilt hang­ing on the wall of the Della Greeno Friend­ship Room at the Lorneville United Church.

In the 1930s Bessie Jack­son from Lorneville moved to Bos­ton where she mar­ried. As a wed­ding gift, 21 Lorneville women each pre­pared a square for her with the maker’s first name em­broi­dered in the mid­dle. Be­cause the re­cip­i­ent had seven chil­dren, she never made the imag­ined quilt. The 21 squares passed to her sis­ter, Kathleen O’Grady in Guys­bor­ough and, on her death, to her daugh­ter, Hope Wright. Hope brought them, al­most 80 years later, home to Lorneville to Ar­leen Good­win (one of whose beau­ti­ful hand-quilted bed­spreads is in our pos­ses­sion).

When Ar­leen took the squares to the ladies of the United Church, they rec­og­nized the names of their grand­moth­ers, even a great-grand­mother. They sewed the pieces to­gether and hand-quilted it and won first prize in the 2012 Cum­ber­land County Ex­hi­bi­tion. Ac­com­pa­ny­ing the quilt is a large frame which holds the pic­tures of each of the 21 women, all named, the re­cip­i­ent, her sis­ter and the story.

I have now learned that this story was in a news­pa­per some years ago - but it war­rants re­peat­ing.

In 1979 when I was pack­ing to re­turn to Cas­siar, north­ern Bri­tish Co­lum­bia, to work as the school li­brar­ian, the one thing I chose to re­mind me of home was the quilt made for me in 1959. Each of seven points of the Texas Star (name learned at the Quilt Show in the 2018 Ox­ford Blue­berry Fes­ti­val) was pieced and hand sewn by a spe­cial per­son: my mother, aunt Ruby Ather­ton, aunt Dot Ratch­ford, aunt Kit Stu­art, aunt He­len Christie, and cousins Jean MacCready and Mar­ion Dyer. My mother in­sisted that I sew the eighth point so that I would ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­fort in­volved in this project. This frag­ile quilt is on the guest room bed at my farm­house at Amherst Shore - but it is re­moved to safety if a guest oc­cu­pies the room.

I grew up with two crazy quilts made by my mother’s mother. Over time, these quilts be­came un­us­able. To re­place them, my mother en­listed the help of Mrs. Wig­more, her sis­ter’s moth­erin-law from PEI, who looked for hand­work projects to oc­cupy her time while vis­it­ing her son in Saskatchewan. My mother pro­vided some pieces of cloth that I still rec­og­nize and when my Wig­more cousins visit, they en­joy iden­ti­fy­ing pieces from cloth­ing they re­mem­ber.

At one point I asked peo­ple close to me to em­broi­der their names on fab­ric pieces from which I in­tended to make a jacket. That project was never re­al­ized, but the pieces I re­ceived were in­cor­po­rated into the Wig­more quilts when they needed re­pair. That re­pair job was prob­a­bly one of Ger­tie Hol­lis’ last projects.

A favourite quilt dis­play for many of us is the an­nual Quilt Fair at the Port El­gin High School at the be­gin­ning of the sum­mer. Hun­dreds of quilts can be seen with a range of prices for pur­chase.

Peggy Stevens - of Peg’s Pieces at the Pug­wash Farm­ers’ Mar­ket on Satur­days un­til Oc­to­ber - spent a lot of time as a child un­der quilts spread over four chairs as her mother, Lois Brooks of Amherst Head, was part of a quil­ters’ group. She now pieces both quilts and bags for sale.

Quilts from this part of the world are the equal of quilts made any­where. The sto­ries are end­less and some of the quilts are price­less.

To buy my publi­ca­tions, in­clud­ing my new THE CHRISTIE BOOK, a ge­neal­ogy, and my al­most new Read More About Amherst, a col­lec­tion of my last 40 col­umns to 2017, go to the Amherst Ar­ti­san Gallery, Amherst Cen­tre Mall and to Mar­itime Mo­saic, Dayle’s, Vic­to­ria Street, Amherst.

Coles car­ries My Dear Alice. For my six ear­lier self-pub­lished books and book­lets, go to the Cum­ber­land County Mu­seum and Ar­chives; the YMCA Amherst; Fly­ing Colours, Mac­can; and Main and Sta­tion, Parrs­boro.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.