Ahhh, Memorial Day: the traditional beginning of summer. Often, the “memorial” part of the day is lost in the celebration of summer days to come. Here at our house, we spent most of the day playing board games with friends, and my son smoked a beef brisket for a traditional Texas bbq.
As the day began, though, my thoughts were turned toward those who had fought for all the freedoms we enjoy today. Years ago, in 2002, to be exact, my guilt guild held a challenge. We were given some music note fabric, and told we had to use that to make some kind of quilt representation of a song. After much thought, my husband said I should make an ancestor quilt using the folk song “Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier.” If I started to sing it for you, you might recognize it, but you would also most likely run screaming from the room! Here’s a link to a you tube version. Anyway, I pulled out the quilt and hung it in my foyer, replacing my spring quilt.
This was my finished quilt. Each flag represents an American conflict in which one or more of our ancestors participated. This is not too many years after I began quilting, so it is not a particularly well done quilt. I used a basic, low-end New Home machine without any bells and whistles. The lettering for the song is just iron-on letters from Hobby Lobby!
I don’t particularly like the required musical note fabric as sashing. I think it overwhelms it a bit. If I had it to do over again, I would find a less in-your-face way to use it. But, in almost every quilt I make there is some point at which I find myself looking at the finished product thinking, “If I were to make this again…..” Probably every quilter does the same. Maybe even anyone that creates anything. We always see ways to improve, or think of things we could have done differently. That’s part of the process, I guess.
For this particular quilt, my husband did all the genealogical research and actually ended up writing a 16 page explanation of each flag, their meanings, and the story behind the name of the soldier who served. And that is what makes this quilt special to us. It was even taken on a family road trip once just so we could show it to the mother of one the soldiers listed under the Vietnam flag. It meant a lot to her that we would make such a quilt to memorialize these men. I don’t think she looked at the workmanship or noticed that the artistic talents of the one who made it were not up to par with other quilters; she simply saw the tribute. And I am grateful for each one of these men, who were willing to stand up for their beliefs and their country in times of trouble.
Just some of my thoughts as we wrap up this holiday weekend.
How did you spend your Memorial Day? Get any sewing done??