A Gift to Warm You

Gator Fleece Quilt

Gator Fleece Quilt

I made a couple of fleece quilts to give some friends. The only thing I bought was some fleece binding; I had plenty of fleece remnants on hand.

These friends are very special to us. They believe in thrift and using what you have. They have two boys who are out of high school, and the biggest part of their Christmas fun is to search for gifts for the boys. Whatever the boys name on their list each year, even if it happens to be misspelled, which frequently happens, the parents diligently search until they find just the right thing. For instance, one of the boys asked for a book about the history of guns. Except that he typed “nuns.” It was a deep search, but the parents eventually found a book about the history of nuns. Little fella had a laugh about it eventually.

Every year they give us greens from their garden, and various other marvelous food gifts. This year they brought my DH a little bag of coal, because they’ve been experimenting with a forge to do some welding, and had to drive to Georgia to buy a lot of coal to power the forge. At least, they say that is the reason they gave him some coal. For what other reason does a person get coal for Christmas? 😉 Actually, he was impressed. They had a very long conversation about anthracite versus other types of coal.

I realize that I’ve slipped into another post about blankets again! But apparently blog-surfers want to read about blankets and quilts, because 2 of my blanket posts are in the top 10 of my posts people have hit on since I’ve been blogging. My favorite blanket/quilt pattern is McCall’s 4185, a fleece quilt. It’s a Sewing With Nancy pattern, and I’ve always gotten a lot of use and understanding from Nancy Zieman’s offerings, whether in books, patterns, TV or blog posts. The beauty of her fleece quilt is that you can piece together small remnants and make a good size blanket. Using small remnants=less textile waste in the landfills. Fleece is a modern fabric; you see it everywhere. Fleece can pinch-hit for a household central heating unit. I once owned a house that had a hit-or-miss furnace. In the middle of the night I’d wake up freezing and have to re-light the pilot light that kept going out. After awhile, I bundled up in fleece and I didn’t feel the cold. That was nothing short of a miracle. At the request of my old boss, I once made a fleece blanket out of licensed collegiate gator fabric, for her to give to an aged relative in a nursing home up in Rhode Island. A couple of years later, the old lady passed away and she’d asked to be buried with her gator blanket tucked into the casket with her.

I remember one of my most interesting Christmases. I guess I had run my mouth to someone about being short on cash, because a family came over and brought my kids not just one present each, but quite a few each, so much that the space under my little Christmas tree was full of wrapped packages with bows. Then they invited us to dinner. I made up my mind I would never again mention to anyone that I might be low on money around Christmas so that I wouldn’t be taken in as “the poor family of the congregation” that year: someone’s charity project. Then they took us riding around in their pickup across a hilly and bumpy pasture while the guys in the family looked for dead tree branches they gathered and sold to a company that made silk flowers and attached them to the branches to make fancy floral decorations. They might have thought my boys would have fun doing that, and could help them in the wild, crazy search. During the bumpy ride I realized I wasn’t just a charity case to them. They cared about me and my kids enough to spend time with us, not just throw some money at “the problem.”

Jesus said in Matthew 26:11 “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.” This time of year, it helps to ponder the presents (presence) of both…


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Naomi Baltuck
    Dec 20, 2012 @ 23:44:01

    What a great story!


  2. christinelaennec
    Jan 05, 2013 @ 17:22:14

    The story about the gator blanket is amazing, and I found your reflections about the family helping you out very interesting. Wishing you a very happy new year!


  3. merindyandjason
    Jan 08, 2013 @ 15:49:53

    Great blog! Enjoyed reading about your blankets and your family’s Christmas. I think those “acts of charity” we receive when we’re having a down moment in our lives are a chance for us to refresh our belief in the kindness of others. There are so many times in life that we see the less kind side, that it is a relief to see the good as well.


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