Last weekend was the perfect time for a little spring cleaning. The air was dry and the weather was warm. As part of the cleaning ritual, I aired several old quilts, draping them over the porch fence. Quilts are fascinating to me. With thousands of stitches, each handcrafted quilt is a work of art given to our present generation by those who came before us. In a time when there was not much time outside the daily ritual of farm work, women from across the rolling hills of Itawamba County, Mississippi stitched beautiful quilts - unique works of art that also served a utilitarian purpose. It's nice to be warmed on a cold winter's night by one of these unique works of art lovingly crafted by those who came before us.
The photo above includes a late 19th century bow-tie quilt crafted by Amelia Rankin Riley, a pair of Whittemore Patented Number 10 cotton cards and an Itawamba County split white oak basket crafted years ago by the late basket-maker John Johnson - all such items once common in households throughout Itawamba County. Farm families in the olden days would save a portion of their cotton crop for household use, including the production of quilt batting, with the help of such cotton cards. The quilt shown to the left is a simple patchwork quilt crafted by my grandmother during The Great Depression here in Itawamba County. It is amazing that quilts crafted generations ago are still serving their intended purpose today in the 21st century. They are definitely a testament to the craftsmanship of our ancestors from times gone by.