Crothersville woman shares story of 50 years of quilting

I figured my story and experiences would be interesting to others. I thank God for my talent, sewing interest and my home economics teacher, Vera J. Sterling.

Well, it probably all started way back. I would see my mother, Mary Derringer Moody, set up her quilting frames and also quilted a lot of quilts. One in particular I remember and still have is an appliqued butterfly. She made one for my sister and brother.

Even farther back, when I was about 10, my grandmother, Mabel Alzora Bryan Moody, and I would sit in the porch swing. There, she taught me how to sew on a button. Also, for a fourth-grade project, I made a corncob doll. My mother helped me with stitching the fabric, so that was my very first hands-on sewing experience.

I also remember Grandma having quilting frames set up in her little trailer. I also have a special quilt that she made for me with a matching pillowcase. Also, she made my dad and his brothers each a grandmother’s flower garden.

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Now back to my beginning: For my very first quilt, which I made 50 years ago, I used the leftover fabric from a home economics project — skirt and jacket. It’s just a small baby quilt pieced together squares, but I even quilted the year in the center of it.

I believe the first full-size quilt I made was an appliqued horse head tan with white. I quilted a saddle in the plain blocks with which it was set together. I also made my baby son, Andy Smith, a black horse head quilt.

So over the years, I couldn’t count how many baby quilt sets I made and gave for gifts. I would make little matching pillows.

As I flip through one of my little picture books, I see a top that I quilted for one of my friends — a cross pattern, and I also did a Star of David in the other blocks. I made quilts with patterns such as around the world, Greek cross, grandmother’s cross, pinwheel, merry-go-round, maple leaf and birds in flight.

When my son was about 8, I appliqued cutout animal shapes on squares, and he and I painted details on them. I think I made about three animal quilts that year.

A few years back, my daughter had a friend who wanted a circus theme, so I got busy and put together a circus cover, had animal blocks and I set together and appliqued the clown.

I love picking out colors and designing the blocks together. That’s one thing about quilt tops, though, you can mix and match. About any colors look good together. I usually have a square in a hoop. I try to make a quilted pillow every year and enter in the fair.

The last quilt tops I made were a wildlife quilt for my son and a cartoon animal character quilt for my grandson. I used a star pattern, as the larger block in the middle was perfect for the picture of woody or a deer, etc. Also, I made a pink star block with a paper cutout doll pattern for my first granddaughter before she was born.

In 1975, my dad, Joseph Moody, retired. He was a lineman for N.G. Gilbert. I took all of his denim work clothes and made a denim cover. I made several denim covers that year. Also, I made a striped set with matching throw pillows.

In 2003, I helped my mother finish up a yellow and green leaf top. We sat and quilted together.

I think the women in the old days had the right idea — sit together quilting, help each other out, share the news and pray together. That would be nice to get something going like that.

We have discussed starting a class at the Crothersville Library to teach younger girls or anyone wanting to learn to quilt or to finish unfinished projects, which I have a bunch. I have my fruit of the spirit quilt top needing to get quilted. I have squares for my grandson’s Boy Scouts quilt, a T-shirt top, ready to quilt. I have a Davy Crockett flannel backing that I want to make a top for.

The most recent sewing project was getting three tops ready to get in the frames to tie for my three kids for Christmas. That was material and blocks that my mother cut out and gave to me before she passed in May 2004, so that will be a nice keepsake cover for the kids.

That reminds me: I also made three covers for my cousin’s three grandsons after their mother passed made out of her clothes. They turned out really nice.

It’s hard to believe 50 years have passed since I made my very first quilt. I hope you all enjoy this story and it gets you interested in starting your own quilts.

Brenda K. Moody Bradley of Crothersville has been quilting for 50 years. Send comments to [email protected].

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