Nine Patch Quilt
Nine Patch Quilt

My grandmother had crates and crates of quilts, some she made, some made by her mother, some by her sisters. She made this quilt in the 1970s as a gift for my mother when she graduated from high school. I have slept under it every night since I was five years old. It has travelled with me from Missouri to New York City and will hopefully accompany me wherever I go next. 

It is hard not to imagine it serving a similar function for my grandmother, a security blanket as she crisscrossed the United States. Born the 4th daughter of a tenant farmer couple in Southern Georgia, she slept under similar handmade quilts with her 8 sisters and 1 brother every night of her childhood as they migrated through Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina. As a young woman in Savannah, newly married, she made quilts for her daughter and husband, after leaving work at the shrimp packing factory each night. When she divorced in 1941 and drove to San Diego for a job in a munitions factory, among the few things she brought with her were her mother’s quilts. When she met my grandfather and settled on a 40 acre farm in central Missouri she hung quilts on the walls in the living room and laid them across the beds of her children. 

My quilt connects me to my grandmother’s rich life, full of movement, and to the generations of women before her, who I know nearly nothing about, other than that as they moved and resettled and built new lives here and there they always carried with them a tradition of creation. 

Place(s): Savannah, Georgia; Missouri; San Diego, California

– Mikayla

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant