Saturday, April 25, 2009
My family has this Army Quilt. It is something my Dad made when he was a kid, maybe in high school, from gathered and repurposed army khakis. He is the oldest of five: four boys and one girl. By the time his sister was born, I think she was the darling of the family. He recalls making her some doll clothes (a high school boy making his baby sister doll clothes? Nothing could say love more!) and shortly thereafter deciding to make this quilt. It is sewn irregularly, in overlapping groups, out of bits of shirts and pants. You can see the flat felt seams (those double seams on the sides of jeans that don't show a seam inside or out) from the pants, some embroidered names we don't recognize anymore, and places where patches have been removed. Where it has been torn or worn through (or maybe those were worn-through knees to start with?), you can see other random fabrics inside, a blue plaid here a red check there, though Dad doesn't remember what they were from.
This quilt has been on innumerable camping trips. We've used it in the bottom of the tent, on the ground, on tables, everywhere. It is the heaviest quilt possible, bulky to fold and lug around. But it's so handy to have that sturdy, heavy fabric at the ready.
Last Saturday, we took the day to go up to the foothills of the Catalina mountains and take the kids on four-wheeler rides and have a picnic. The area was prettier through the gates where the four-wheeler could go but the truck couldn't; in the area where we could park the truck it was a little dry and stickery. So, we spread the Army Quilt in the back of the truck and that became play-pen, lounge area and picnic spot. Sammy crawled all over it, loving the truck bed and everything "guy" in it.
It struck me what a great repurposing project this quilt was. I had to photograph those seams, the crooked quilting, the leftover strings from patches removed. Maybe someday we'll have the materials to make another, but I would have to have a heavier sewing machine than mine to be able to sew it! In the meantime, I'm marveling at how many years of use the quilt has given, and how many more it has left to give, and I'm impressed with my Dad for making it.