Quilting with Grandma

Last night I started piecing YaYa's quilt. (Do you like how I wrote piecing, like a real quilter? Pretty snazzy.)


I couldn't help thinking of my Grandma, while my machine hummed away. I think she gave me my sewing machine when I was about thirteen? Fourteen?. My grandparents owned a fabric and notions shop for most of my life, and to this day, the smell, when I walk into a yarn shop or a fabric store, the smell conjures my strong and creative grandma.

It was quiet, last night, since everyone was gone. I got a lot done, for me, for the first time I've tried this in, let's see- fourteen years. I could see my Grandma, sitting at her machine, talking through a mouth full of pins. She always holds her pins between her lips while she sews, and if you think it's hard to understand someone who is brushing their teeth and talking, you should try interpreting for someone who's trying not to be stabbed in the lip with a pin.

I pinned and sewed and cut and ironed. I could smell their house, feel the coolness of the basement, that summer when Grandma decided to help my sister and I put together log cabin quilts. It gets hot in Edmonton in the summer, and her basement with the cool air and our lemony iced tea was a good place to be.

It seemed magic to me, then, following the instructions to pin this piece to that piece, and sew this to that, and then you iron it and there before your eyes is a quilt piece, built like a log cabin, turning around itself.  It still seems like magic.


One of the worst things about my Grandma being sick is that she can no longer sew, like she has all her life. Last night I thought, maybe I can show her my quilt as it progresses, across all these miles. So, I'm going to show Grandma my quilt as I make it. I emailed her these two photos today, and I almost can't wait to send her more.