I’m not a quilter but I do know a work of fabric art when I see it. This is that – times a thousand.It reminds me of “Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” so I’ve penned it, “Jyl’s Astounding Technicolor Comforter.”
A couple weeks ago I received an e-mail from Ardella with these photos. Her message was this:
“Jyl’s quilt – finished it late last night. There are 1,020 unplanned HST’s. She doesn’t know about it yet so shhhhhhhh! She saw the beginning and wanted one like it. It’s pretty much all scraps though I had to dig into my stash for (fabric).”
Ardella has a “stash?” I love a stash!
Jim and I have people in common with Ardella and LeRoy (Buster) Emery of Hector, Minn. Their daughter, Jyl, is our daughter-in-law which makes our son, Dean, their son-in-law. We also share a couple of lovely granddaughters, Amelia and Grace.
Ardella’s message continued: “Dean and Jyl came when I was about half way through the quilt. I had not yet made up my mind as to what I was going to do with it. Jyl said, ‘I love this. Who are you making it for?’ “
Ardella didn’t have an answer then, but in time she decided it would be for this daughter. Mum was the word until she and Buster made the delivery and rendered Jyl nearly speechless.
Not being a quilter I asked Ardella, after that first e-mail, “what are “HST’s?”
“Half Square Triangles,” she wrote back. “I’ve called them HST’s for so long, I couldn’t remember the real name. They are three and one-half inch squares.”
After I had feasted on the quilt for a while, my eyes wandered to the walls in the room in which Ardella displayed the quilt for the photo. The color looks like what we have on some of our walls so I had to ask about that, too.
“It’s light lavender,” she said. And then her next comment bowled me over. “The bedroom set is the one my mom saved her ‘egg money,’ to buy. I still have the jar where she stashed the money.”
There’s that word “stash” again.
I hadn’t thought about “egg money,” for decades. My mother had “egg money,” too, and “cream money.” I recall us taking cream to the depot in a big cream can and watching it ride away on the rails.
Oh my goodness Ardella! Tell me more about your mother’s stash!
So, she did – this lady who was raised on a farm near Luverne, Minn., the same farm she and Buster lived on after they were married and until their retirement. The same farm Jyl grew up on.
“Both Buster and I were raised on farms where we raised sheep, pigs, milk cows and had stock cows for pasture and grew oats, corn and hay,” Ardella said. “Our moms always had chickens. They would arrive by mail in boxes with little holes in them. The egg money mostly went for groceries. She would take a wooden egg case that held 15 dozen eggs to the grocery store every week and Adolph Olson (Olson’s Grocery) would buy them from her and she in turn bought groceries and saved a little. She always managed to stash some in her jar. I still have the jar. It’s a Folgers coffee jar and it stood in the back of the kitchen cabinet behind jars of noodles and macaroni.”
Ardella remembers that her mother started saving money in the jar for a bedroom set when Ardella was 9, “and she bought it when I was 13,” Ardella said. “Sometimes only 50 cents went into the jar. Patience?”
I’d say so!
Besides the bed, cloaked by the quilt in the photo, the set includes a beautiful dresser and what Ardella calls a highboy.
“I don’t know what my mom paid for this set,” Ardella said, “probably not as much as she would have if she bought it today. She always said it had a rich mahogany finish and she would polish it every week. I think that bedroom set was really the only new piece of furniture my mom ever acquired. She was so proud of it.”
So it is that Ardella’s mother instilled in her the value of a stash, whether it be money or scraps of fabric, plus the virtue of the patient endurance – which it took to make such a stunning quilt.
Ardella has an heirloom of memories in that old bedroom set and now she’s crafted a keepsake for Jyl in this “Astounding Technicolor Comforter,” – one with 1,020 unplanned HST’s and a story all its own.