Heart Revolution
Published in

Heart Revolution


The Making of a Crazy Quilt

A family tradition stitched with wisdom

Image By IgorGolovniov @ shutterstock.com (standard license purchased)

Hands busily stitch patterns in and out
five sets on each side of a long board —

I, with the youngest hands, watch and listen
to the elder women of my family

Janie now has her last child; no boys to carry
the family line on to the next generation —

Tom, like his father’s father before him
has survived his first year of the Marines —

Ginny has divorced again, the third time
with the fourth child for Aunt Gladys to raise —

Their hands, experienced in fine stitchery
never skip a line, lightly sketched upon satin —

Their eyes rarely know what their hands do
like instincts of child-birthing, these women know

When to say this square has had all its stitches
and then move on the next one —

Their lives are like that
moving in and out, stitches among stitches —

Slowly building one link to another
holding their children to them with fine thread

© 2020 Lori Carlson. All Rights Reserved.

When I was a child, I delighted in sitting around that super long embroidery board that one of my uncles made and listening to two generations of women tell stories while hand stitching a quilt together. Each came with their own squares of materials from old clothing or burlap sacks with patterns lightly sketched upon them (hence why it was called a crazy quilt). Once all the squares were linked in miss-match patterns, they would begin the slow task of embroidery and needlepoint. And they would talk and laugh, sometimes even cry. I was the only girl of the third generation who came to these crazy quilt making sessions. This tradition died out when my paternal grandmother died in the mid-1980s. I owned the last quilt that was made, but it was destroyed in a flood. I still don’t know where that long embroidery board went, if it was even passed on to the next generation. The wisdom I gathered from these nine women in my family was immeasurable.

This poem and these words were sparked by FILZA CHAUDHRY’s poem about the wisdom of elders

Lori Carlson writes Poetry, Fiction, Articles, Creative Non-Fiction and Personal Essays. Most of her topics are centered around Love, Relationships, Spirituality, Life Lessons, Mental Health, Nature, Loss, Death, and the LGBTQ+ community. Check out her personal Medium blog — Ravyne’s Nest.



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Ravyne Hawke

Ravyne Hawke

Writing Coach, Poet, Fiction Writer, Essayist, Artist, Dreamer | “Enlightenment is when a wave realizes it is the Ocean” ~Thich Nhat Hanh