Sewing The Seeds of Time - Quilting Art Passed Down
With every stitch she makes, Delores Mount sews a piece of her heart into quilts that will keep a family member warm for years to come. Mostly, it's therapy for her, but for the recipients, those quilts are a gift of love that money just can't buy.
|Delores Mount, seated, displays a new quilt with her granddaughters Megan, left, and Katelyn.|
Earlier this year, Mrs. Mount began to share her knowledge and love of quilting, with a group of pint-sized seamstresses that includes her two granddaughters, Katelyn, 10, and Megan, 6. and a handful of other young girls who live near Mrs. Mount's hometown of Brantley in southern Crenshaw County. Usually they meet at the County Farmers Federation office in Luverne once a week where Mrs. Mount gives instructions to the eager beginners.
The young girls probably aren't aware that their teacher is a two-time state quilting contest winner. They just know she can stitch fast, her quilts are beautiful, and she loves to share her craft.
Mrs. Mount, a retired textile worker, said she took up quilting when she worked at Vanity Fair in Luverne in the 1970s.
"There was an older lady who lived down the road from us, and I went to visit her one afternoon," Mrs. Mount said. "She was working on a quilt - a baby doll quilt I think it was -- and that's where I really got started. I liked quilting so well I just couldn't stop doing it. I did five of them."
In all, she's been quilting nearly 40 years, but Mrs. Mount admits there were some long breaks where she didn't pick up a needle and thread. Other months, it was all she did in her spare time.
"I get sort of obsessed with it, I guess," she said. "I get started, and I can't quit. It just takes my mind off everything else, and I love having the quilts to give my family."
Her family loves getting them, too. Katelyn and Megan enjoy talking about which quilt their grandmother gave them and which is their favorite.
"I only make quilts for family," Mrs. Mount said. "I couldn't afford to charge for the time it takes to make one. Besides, it wouldn't be worth it to make one for someone that I didn't know and love."
Mrs. Mount said she feels God blessed her with the ability to quilt, and that's one reason she wanted to share it with young girls in her community.
"Quilting is a dying art," she said. "There are not too many people who do this any more because you can just go to the store and buy one. But you can't buy one that's homemade by someone who loves you. And I'm especially pleased that the girls are interested in coming to learn about it, particularly with all the other distractions and activities they have to choose from."
Mrs. Mount is a member of the Crenshaw County Farmers Federation Women's Committee, and in 2004, entered the county quilting contest. After winning her county contest, she went on to capture the state prize. She duplicated that success in 2006, again winning her county and the state quilting contest sponsored by the Federation's State Women's Committee.
"I was so honored to have won, both times," she said. "There were so many beautiful quilts."
The winning quilt from 2004 now belongs to her step granddaughter, Charlsi Sport. The 2006 winning quilt belongs to Mrs. Mount's daughter, Kay Sport.
Quilting, Mrs. Mount said, is simply about family.
"My mother sewed some, but mostly my grandmother did," Mrs. Mount said. "She sewed clothes and quilts when we were young. Back then, most people I knew made their clothes.
"The first thing I ever remember sewing was an apron that my twin sister, Doris, and I made in a 4-H contest. We were maybe 9 or 10 years old.
"I'm 64 now, and I hope 100 years from now, some of my grandchildren or great grandchildren will be wrapped up in something I made. That gives me a good feeling inside."
While her granddaughters enjoy learning how to quilt, they also enjoy spending time with their "NaNoo" as they love to call her.
"I love starting a new quilt because you get to pick out the colors and patterns you're going to use," Katelyn said. "I also like the end, because when you get finished it's a relief to finally be done with it. It can take a long time."
While Megan is a little young to master the finer stitching required for most quilts, she practices by pasting or taping together pieces of fabric.
That's fine with Mrs. Mount. There's no better time spent than that passed with her grandchildren, she said.