Why "Wrapped In A Hug"?

When I created my Instagram account I named it Wrapped In A Hug without too much thought. But then as I contemplated the name I realized how deeply quilting was ingrained in my life. Quilting has been one of the few constants in my life. I think back to the earliest memory I have of a quilt and it is of my sister and me playing on a quilt in our front yard. The grass was so harsh on bare toddler feet, but the quilt was so soft and comforting. I remember watching my “Nanny” patch my pink and white baby quilt. My nose was the height of the corner of her treadle sewing machine, and I watched anxiously in fear for my quilt. I still have the 1963 Christmas gift from my Great Grandma Hattie: a doll bed made out of a shoe box. Complete with mattress, pillow, a sheet, a pillow case and of course a tiny little quilt.

And then life changed with the sudden death of my father in 1964 when I was just 7. We moved to my mom’s family in a neighboring state. The large extended family on my father’s side was gone from my life. Great Grandma Hattie continued to mail homemade Christmas presents for several years, but I never got to visit with her again.

We would see “Nanny”, my Dad’s other grandmother, once a year. Her treadle sewing machine, now in my sewing, room held a place of honor in her tiny little home. Some years there would be a quilt frame in the living room. Under her four poster bed was always box of tiny scraps. All carefully cut out and strung together with thread. These were the beginnings of her next quilt top. I remember being brought into my Grandmother’s childhood room and the doors of the cupboards opened to the most amazing array of colorful fabrics! That cupboard meant we were being sent home with a “new” quilt! Those quilts provided such comfort to me. And as I have become a grandmother I am sure they provided her with comfort too because she, in her way, was wrapping me in a hug. They were nothing fancy, just depression era charm quilts. But they brought me so much comfort.

As life progressed I kept trying to become a quilter, but unfortunately Nanny and Grandma Hattie were not close enough to teach me. How blessed are those with the memory of learning from a dear mom or grandma. I tried the best I could and made my sister a Grandma’s Flower Garden Quilt for her wedding. I used cardboard templates just like Nanny did. But the concept of grain lines wasn’t yet known to me. In my 30’s I hand quilted a whole cloth quilt for my mother. But kids kept me busy and life had not presented me the luxury of time nor money to seriously attempt quilting.

In my mid 40’s the sewing machine I had depended on for many years was starting to show its age and wear. I had it repaired and took my time to decide on what machine to replace it with. I finally purchased a new machine and also accepted a job at the dealership to help pay for it. Slowly the opportunity to seriously pursue quilting was happening.

In my early 50’s I discovered Gammill longarms! Not long after that, one followed me home. She had all the bells and whistles and I was instantly in love with her. Her name is Hattie Grace. (Nanny’s first name was Grace.) Hattie Grace helped open a new world for me. I started quilting for others. As my mom needed me more I was able to flex my “job” and be there for her. My quilty friends have become like family, they understand me. And now I am the grandma of 12 who delights in making quilts to wrap her “babies” in hugs!