In December of 1918, the only thing on Marian Welles’s mind was a baby. She and James had tried to conceive throughout their first year of marriage, but to no avail. So it was with tears in her eyes that she accepted the beautiful, handmade quilt from her mother-in-law, Collie Mercer Welles, given as an anniversary present. Collie made the quilt from clothing James and Marian wore as children. She had the best of intentions, and a strong faith, when she created the quilt for her son and daughter-in-law. Unfortunately, Marian didn’t share Collie’s convictions, and the quilt was a stab of pain in her longing heart.
I received an amazing handmade quilt from my Aunt Inta as a wedding present, and I also inherited one from my Grandmother Huffman. Although they are different in style, both are heirloom quality works of art. I have also had the pleasure of sleeping under quilts made from scraps of fabric. These quilts aren’t created for their beauty, and yet as a non-quilter myself, I am still so impressed by the time that went into each quilt right down to the tiniest, perfect stitch. As I looked at the mismatched squares, I wondered where each one came from and marveled at how they found new life as a warm blanket.
I’ll direct you to Quilting in America for the history of quilts. The heritage is rich, abundant, and a worthy read. From alternative uses to perception of the craft throughout the decades, there is much in this article that I found quite interesting and hope you do as well.