Stitch in time
De Soto grandmother explores love through quilting
A quilt maker for nearly half a century, Beverly Jones has little trouble selecting her favorite quilt.
It is, Jones said, one she made with other members of a quilting circle at the Texas mobile home park at which she and her husband, Leland, winter. When the finished quilt was won in a drawing by a woman from Canada, Jones decided she would try to buy it.
'"I told my husband, 'She's a lovely lady, but I really want that quilt,'" Jones remembered. "It was a friendship quilt. One of my best friends died of cancer. We worked on the quilt together. I helped her with her blocks.
"It had very special memories for me."
The Canadian woman was understanding.
"She said, 'No I won't sell it, but you can have it,'" Jones said. "She had a house burn down once in Canada, and her neighbors had gotten together and made a quilt for her. She said, 'I take that quilt everywhere; it means so much to me. I know what that quilt means to you.'"
Quilts, Jones said, were the products of a lot of time-consuming work and love. She suspects some of the 34 she's made have the same special meaning to those who now own them.
"I hope so," she said. "I know my farmer's quilt -- I made my two sons farmer's quilts -- mean a lot to my whole family," she said. "I was born and raised on a farm, and for the kids that was the best part of the whole year -- when we could go visit my parents at the farm. We have lots of good memories there."
The farmer's quilts, Jones explained, were quilts with farm scenes made from scraps of the material she had left after making clothes for her two sons and then given to the then-young boys. In the same vein, Jones made Sunbonnet Sue quilts for her two daughters.
The quilts were cherished hits, but Jones didn't become a serious quilter until some time later.
"I was busy running a family until the 1970s," she said. "I did more stitching then in the evenings."
As Jones' spare time increased, so did her family. That worked out well. Jones had enough love and time to make quilts for all her sons and daughters, grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. And, she said, she had a few extra for great-grandchildren not yet born.
"I just enjoy doing it," she said. "It's addictive. You go to a fabric shop and see the patterns, you just want to do it yourself."
Books, magazines and quilting stores provide inspiration, as does the quilting circle at the couple's Texas winter home. The group discovered the prairie flower pattern, she said, and even researched its history.
Her appreciation didn't lead to snobbery that preferred one pattern or type of pattern over others.
"They all look pretty good to me," Jones said. "It's just if I can decide I can put the work into them.
"There's a lot more to quilting than people realize," she said. "It takes a lot of stitching and a lot of time.
"But that's good when you're retired. You don't have anything but time."