Quilted Memories

One of the stories shared on our CoatsandClark200years website was a beautiful poem titled “Quilted Memories. We asked the author Kelline Collet to share a little more about the poem with us and here is her story:

” I have been sewing since the age of three when I first learned to thread a needle. I made my first quilt when I was 15. I not only quilt; I have also made clothing, sleeping bags, tailored suits, wedding dresses, and almost everything else that can be hand stitched or sewed on a sewing machine. Quilting, though holds a special place in my heart because of the connection to family. I have made well over 300 quilts. Many were the quick and fast kind that were drug around and loved to pieces by children and grandchildren. I retired last year from teaching elementary school so am free now to pursue my passion for quilting and writing. My oldest granddaughter came to visit last summer (when she was 15) and made her first quilt.

“Quilted Memories” was written about 20 years ago for a college poetry class and has spent all these years in a notebook. The assignment was to write a poem about what made us who we are. Any girl blessed to learn sewing from her mother and grandmother also learns about life. Through “women’s talk” young girls are inducted into womanhood. I am blessed to have learned sewing from two past generations as well as aunts and family friends. I have written poetry since the age of 12, but I’ve never published anything outside of a college class anthology. I have always been too busy with family, work, quilting, and teaching quilting to send anything in for publication. “

We are so very glad that we could be the first to expose Kelline’s poem with the world!

Quilted Memories

Cotton calico soft against the skin
Dyed in blue and toast burnt brown
Wait patiently for tiny stitches
To blend and draw them together
In a pieced design that is exclusively mine.

In the quiet space of this old house
I can stitch far into the night
And like the weaving of the threads
Fragmented images flex and surge:

In and out the needle jumps
With entwining threads that weave
Like memories through a life time…
Grandma and Mother taught me to piece
from an old bag of scraps.

Up and down the needle sews
To the soft treadle hum…
Grandma used to rock and hum as she tied her quilts
in the soft glow of lamp light.

Over and under the thread locks
Tying us to the past, sustaining us in the present…
When Mother lost the baby, Grandma said
piecing in peace would mend a broken heart.

Back and forth the shuttle swings
Like the pendulum on a clock…
This time there is only Mother and I
to stitch, and tie, and rock.

Loop and twirl the spool spins bare
The past is the present and the cycle repeats
With that slender thread
That loops and glides
Slipping me one day at a time into the future
Where some call me Mother
And others with smaller hands and childish voices ask,
“Grandma, can I tie a memory quilt?”

3 thoughts on “Quilted Memories

  1. Txcatgirl Reply

    Loved this poem about surviving loss and passing on something of comfort and value…goes very well with the antique card picturing the little girl petting a cat. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Sharon Reply

    What a gift of words. It evokes a familiar emotion, a little melancholy, a little memory, & a little contentment. Thank you so much.

  3. Susan Carnes Reply

    I have remembered this poem since I first heard it from Kelline when we taught together in Sweet Home Oregon-maybe 11 years ago-its that special. Finding Kelline on Facebook was sweet-and now to know others love this poem! Its got the rhythm of passing years, turning gears, stitches creating an heirloom. I believe there is a pattern to everything, piecing together our experiences. And beneath the warming quilt made of scraps-it is possible, as John McCutcheon wrote in his song “Water From Another Time” to “waltz with grandma in my dreams.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *