My great grandmother, Eunice Mae Ledbetter, was a very talented with all types of needlework.
She could knit sweaters and purses, crochet beautiful doilies, sew almost anything, and piece and quilt beautiful quilts.
She grew up in a time when young brides were expected to do this and sewing was a necessity in order to clothe the family.
However, her favorite needlework was probably making beautiful quilts. She would save all the scrap material from her sewing and cut out particular patterns from them.
These pieces of material would be stacked in a large shoe box according to size and color. When she had enough pieces cut, she would take her needle and thread and begin to put them together.
They would be sewn into squares usually measuring 12”x12” and it would take a lot of them to fix the top of a quilt.
Once this was done, it would have to be placed into frame (homemade from long pieces of wood), with a lining underneath it and cotton smoothed out in between.
This would be hanging from the ceiling and have to be raised up after she quilted during the day so they room could be used at night. A quilt would take days of her spare time.
Since her hands were never idle and no television or other means of distraction, she had plenty of quilts for her family of eight and also managed to make over 20 grandchildren a quilt when they finished high school.
One quilt stands out above all the rest. This quilt was different. The material selected to be color coordinated and the pattern was one she had never attempted. It was called ‘Cathedral Window.’
It was made of tiny one inch pieces of material that is inset in a lighter colored material to resemble a stained glass window. It is all hand sewn and took months to complete.
The reason it so special is because it was the last quilt my great grandmother made; so you could say it was her masterpiece. She suffered a stroke after she started it but was determined that it would be finished.
After many week of physical therapy, she painstakingly picked up the pieces again and labored on the project for many hours each day.
She could no longer walk but her hands were still very busy doing what she could do. The quilt did get finished before her death.
My grandmother proudly displays the ‘Cathedral Window’ on a wall rack in her home. One day it will belong to my mother and one day I might even have it.
It is not only beautiful but also represents a work of art and many long hours of toil and perseverance. My great grandmother’s work lives on through her beautiful quilts.