Recently a woman brought a quilt to the Born Again Quilts studio in need of restoration. The quilt is a simple one made of fabric squares seams sewn together with big, now broken stitches precipitating the need for repairs. Tabatha apologizes. She thinks it isn’t up to the caliber of quilts I am used to restoring. I quickly assure her I don’t judge a quilt’s worthiness of restoration on its beauty or workmanship, but rather on its importance to its owner. Every quilt has a story, and it is that story that compels me to do my very best work to make a quilt whole again.
This particular quilt is special to Tabatha because its maker is her maternal great-grandfather, Andrew Marion Miller who was born in Keystone, Wells County, Indiana on March 13, 1882 to George Washington Miller and Mary Florence (Raymond) Miller. He married Pearl Noe on February 17, 1904 and they were blessed with three children.
Andrew spent most of his life in the Wells County area where he farmed before moving to Charlevoix County, Michigan, to be near his daughter Velma, who took care of him in his last days. Andrew worshipped devoutly in the Nazarene Churches and passed that devoutness to his children. Tabatha’s mother and grandmother remember him as a good kind-hearted man.
From family oral history Tabatha learned that her great-grandfather Andrew made many quilts, a talent he passed down to son Howard, Tabatha’s grandfather. Andrew dies in 1977 when Tabatha is ten years old. Sadly she doesn’t have any memories of him. His wife gives her Andrew’s quilt to be its keeper before her death in January 2011.
Tabatha’s mother was adopted by Howard, as a small child, when he married her mother. It is Tabatha’s desire to see the now restored quilt be passed down to Andrew’s blood great-grandchildren and their descendents.
Examining the quilt they will find it to be quite interesting. Fabrics range from dish towels, corduroy, and knits, a clear indication he made it in his later years, to pieces from a flannel baby blanket. It would be interesting to know whose baby blanket was cut and preserved in the quilt. Tabatha has tried unsuccessfully to date to contact Velma who may be able to shed light on the mystery. Stay tuned!
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