A Stitch in Time

Vibrant warm colors, soft velvets, and intricate details. It felt delicate in my hands as I unwrapped it from the safe plastic box in which it was lovingly housed. Unfurling it, I tentatively held in front of me the unfinished quilt started by my fourth great grandmother, Sophia (née McBride) Murphy.

It had passed to a relative after Sophia’s death and had made its way back to a cousin on Whidbey Island a few decades ago. Now, as we settled in, we had the opportunity to become stewards of this piece of history.

This was Grandma Murphy’s quilt, created out of dresses from her lifetime, intricately pieced together as if a jigsaw puzzle. Strips of fabric were laid out in a geometric mosaic of textures and prints.

It felt light in my hands, almost as if it would break with the slightest movement. The deep maroons and burgundies still felt of regal velvet. I could almost picture the ornate dresses of the early twentieth century.

Plaids and color blocking drew my eye across the creation, which showed its age at over a century old. Some of the delicate pieces have begun to fray and the backing peaked through in some areas. Even with this, the brilliant gold fabric that lined the underside of the quilt shone brightly; time hadn’t faded its glory.

So, as I stood there, scanning the beautiful creation that is my history, I couldn’t help but feel the connection to the quilt. Much like this work of art, my own existence is a patchwork of the lives that came before me. Staring at this textile reminder of the past, I’m proud of the history that brought me here, and I’m even more determined to preserve this tangible memory for the future.