Linus and the Christmas Quilts: Part I

I know this happens to many of us, but it still didn’t temper the stark realization that, with my mother’s passing, I had become the eldest and therefore the matriarch of our family. Time that had seemingly stood still for so many years had overnight become a premium commodity. That was never so evident as in watching my five grandchildren fly through infancy, toddlerhood and now launching into elementary, middle, high school and college.

I was still sorting through my mother’s “stuff” when it suddenly dawned on me that I wanted to leave my grandkids more than boxes of photos and keepsakes. The idea festered a while in the deep recesses of my mind and finally bubbled up as a Christmas project.

I’d make each of the kids a quilt. It was September.

I don’t sew. I barely cook. Domestic activities of most any kind are a foreign language, although at the time I suspected I’d probably need to buy a sewing machine before embarking on this adventure.

I wandered in and out of a number of quilt shops, looking a bit like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming train. Sales people avoided me, no doubt sensing that I’d be a time toilet.

By mid-October, I had a nagging feeling that I needed to get this show on the road so I marched into a small quilt shop. The owner approached me and asked if she could be of service.

Ah Ha! An opening.

I want to make quilts for my five grandchildren.

She smiled knowingly.

That’s quite a project but we can help you. Do you want to have them made?

Anticipation was now in full swing and the words tumbled out in one hurried breath. Oh no, I am going to make them. It’s a grandma thing. And, the quilts have to be large as the kids are all taller than me. And, I want them to be finished by Christmas.

This year?

The entire shop burst out in wild laughter.

For a moment, I thought of bolting through the door, but I stood firm. I had come this far and I was going to make five quilts. By Christmas.

Then, from the deep recesses of a storeroom, a voice called out above the pandemonium.

Show her how to make a rag quilt! Instantly, the shop grew quiet and a soft murmuring of approval replaced the mirth.

Possible, said the owner. Very possible. How well do you sew?

I need a sewing machine. What’s a rag quilt?

Two hours later, arms overflowing with acres of flannel material, batting, a cutting board, ruler, clippers, scissors and thread and clutching a torn sheet of paper with scribbled instructions, I was exhilarated and exhausted.

I still needed a sewing machine.

4 thoughts on “Linus and the Christmas Quilts: Part I

    • ah, jeez. I was hoping no one would ask. There are numerous sites on line (goggle rag quilts). The one that follows my guru’s instructions is

      I used 9.5 x 9.5 inch squares for the grandkids….7 squares across; 9 squares down.

      Lap quilts use 8.5 inch squares
      1. 5 squares across x 5 squares down for seniors (any larger and it gets in the way of the wheelchair)
      2. 5 squares across x 5 squares down for infants; 5 squares across x 6 down for toddlers (Project Linus)

      Or, we could get together for an afternoon party and make a couple!! ~ Carla


  1. I enjoyed your time at the quilt shop!!! Glad it wasn’t me there though.

    I USED to sew. Gave that up and my sewing machine.

    Nice idea for the “kids” though. Warm and comfortable and there for years.

    Doesn’t Jane quilt? or Sabra? or…….

    We could all hang out and yak and cut and….



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