How I became a Quilter.

Hello Friends,
  My name is Katherine. You can call me Kat. I guess for my first post I should tell you how I became a quilter. My step grandmother, Myrtle, taught me how to quilt when I was roughly 8 or 9 years old. I say roughly because honestly I cannot recall whether was 8 or 9 years old. What I am sure of is that my parents had gotten a divorce.  My ever so talented mother, Kathy, had met someone new. A man named Tar. Definitely an unusual name I agree. This was not his real name of course but a nickname. Most likely a nickname he earned as a  young man who was always getting dirty while working on engines. Tar was from Dorchester, New Brunswick. If you are not familiar with Dorchester I can best describe it one sentence. "Keep your eyes open or you will miss it when we drive through it". That's what my soon to be step father, Tar, would always say to newcomers.

  My mother fell irrevocably in love with Tar. We soon moved to Dorchester and shortly after they were married. We lived in this big old house which was located next to the church. My mother called the house "The Mance". I can only assume that was because it had a maid's quarters.We were told that it used to belong to the reverend from years past. I always thought that was strange cause I was old enough to know that a reverend normally did not have a maid. The maid's quarters could be accessed from the steep stairwell from a slightly hidden door in the kitchen where my mother used to store her jams and pickles. How I miss those preserves. Anyhow, back to how I became a quilter.

  There was not a lot to do in Dorchester for an 8 or 9 year old. When we moved to Dorchester it was summer time and there were no children nearby to befriend.  I had left my best friend Suzanne in Moncton, New Brunswick, when my parents divorced. When my parents broke up we still remained in Moncton but moved to an apartment on Church Street. The only friend I had when I lived on Church Street was boy who lived in the downstairs apartment. He was a bully who got his kicks by stealing my toys or breaking them. I don't recall his name but only that he was not a very nice kid. Oh, how I missed Suzanne. So, as you can imagine anyone was a step up from the thieving bully from downstairs, even a 60+ year old lady.

  I never really spent much time with my father's mother growing up. My grandmother Violet did not live in the same city, not even the same province. My mother's mother had died at a very young age. I never knew her. Myrtle was a welcomed substitution. She was an avid quilter, Regal Consultant and did sewing repairs for the inmates from the nearby prison. Myrtle made beautiful quilts on commission. She would make the quilt tops herself and quilted them on an old quilting frame her father made  her when she was a young woman. She did her quilting projects in the musty unfinished basement of her home. The only other thing in that basement was the wood stove which kept us warm and cozy.

 I do not recall how I ended up working on one of those quilts, but I soon found out that little hands made little stitches, which was a good thing as Myrtle use to mention.  Myrtle would teach me to quilt and at the same time correct my grammar. As time passed, Myrtle soon became "Gram" and I became a better quilter but not better at grammar.

  When I was 12 years old my mother had a brain stem stroke. She was only 39 years old, younger than I am now. That was the first and only stroke she had. It paralyzed my mother from the neck down, except for one arm. She could move her right arm just a little but not with ease and agility. She also could no longer speak. After 18 years she passed away at the age of 57 from breast cancer. When my mother had the stroke my sister, April and I went to live with my father. We did not see my step father much after that and I did not get back to Dorchester to see Gram as much as I would have liked.

  I did not quilt for a long time after moving in with Dad. In my mid thirties I decided to take it back up. It was like riding a bicycle. I guess you never forget. To expand my knowledge and comfort level with quilting I took several courses, more than you can count on both hands. I have fond memories of Gram, quilting with her in that musty old basement listening to the radio and chatting away about nothing. I miss her dearly. I did make a few friends while living in Dorchester. Good friends. But, Gram was my best friend. She taught me how to quilt. I will ever be so grateful.



  1. Good job Kit I so remember that basement there was always a quilt in the making and when she was in quilting she had you and I out there learning how to find and pick sandfire greens ��

  2. Thank you April. OMG...I remember picking the greens too. LOL. I also remember Mom's impromptu Spelling Bee!!


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