Nine-Patch Togetherness

Wooden Rocker

Last year, we began a new tradition… making quilt squares on the days we’re together for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Each family member, even the kids 8 and up made a nine-patch square, then embroidered his/her name or initials and the date on the square.

It was amazing how much talk this activity inspired. Both serious and hilarious. Also, the weaving of stories and dreams. And of course we won’t forget how one family member accidentally fooled another by calling “applique” by the term “applecakes.” Soon the other member was asking how he should do his “applecakes.” Enduring family joke now.

We figure the quilt might be ready by the time we have grandchildren. But more than that we figure this is a way to come together that completely rivals going shopping or watching TV. Besides, as Richard Restak points out in Mozart's Brain and the Figher Pilot, handwork is extremely good for the brain.

So we're getting set to pursue a little good-for-the-heart-and-brain-nine-patch togetherness again for the holidays this year. Maybe I should make a real apple cake for the occasion.

Thanks for the tip on Make Something Day, from Random Acts of Poetry: Prepare Your Mind With Culture and Poetry

Make Something Day

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Blogger Jenn said...

You should--your grandmother's. Did you ever figure out how to make that?

10:34 AM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Jenn! At first I had no idea what you were talking about. Then I remembered the apple cake story from Stone Crossings. Ha. You remembered that. I'm amazed and quieted at the thought. Especially since she is gone now. So too the recipe, forever.

10:37 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

:( about the lost apple cake recipe.
:) about sewing as a family.

I'm halfway through the eldest child's bed quilt and it is looking so great (probably because I have still been in the land-of-what-I-understand. I'm about to cross the threshold into the part of quilting I've never done on such a large scale so we shall see if things continue to look so great.
As for enhancing my brain activity- yeah, I think handwork does. But you probably ought to ask one of my family members, who are more affected by my brain activity than me. ;)

11:32 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Erin... I'm with you on the faces. :) As for the quilting, I'm feeling the same. It was a stretch to figure out how to do the nine-patches... sewing the whole thing together someday... well... talk about enhancing our brains! I laughed at the end of your comment. Funny, funny Erin... I think your family is blessed with your sense of humor.

8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a creative and meaningful project! I might just have to try that out with my family (just a husband, no kids yet.
This is a great site and I'll be back for sure.

9:23 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

I keep meaning to tell you to read, Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression, by Mildred Armstrong Kalish.

Our grandmothers' generation had such a different and fascinating lifestyle. The book is perfect to read aloud on cold winter nights while the quilting circle bends over their work. And there are even a couple of recipes. Not apple cake, sadly. But if you're looking to make some headcheese I think she can hook you up.

Also, please do show us the results of your holiday quilting efforts. I promise to post photos of mine too.

5:57 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Lizabeth... welcome, and let me know if you try this or some other project. :)

Erin... can't wait to see your photos! And I laughed about the head cheese. Yeah... not quite apple cake my dear! :) I'll have to get that book. Sounds good.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience said...

What a legacy, L.L....
Tell us more:
~do you precut the pieces?
~Does everyone handstitch their blocks?
~how many folks are involved -- do men work at it too?

Entirely intrigued.
My, how I appreciate you...

Every blessing, friend...

6:59 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

Ann, how nice to see you over here. :)

We cut the pieces together. Everyone hand stitches, which I think partly helps create the sense of ease and togetherness and promotes conversation. Men, yes! In fact, it was two men who had the "applecakes" exchange. :)

Someday I hope it grows into a real quilt. But in the meantime, it stitches us together in a lovely way.

11:13 AM  

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