The Quilt My Grandmother Made For Me

#WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 3 - The Quilt My Grandmother Made For Me - Doodlewash

Today’s prompt is “pattern” and that made me think back to the first quilt my grandmother made for me when I was a kid. I wasn’t even sure where it was in the house, but finally found it sitting in the corner of a closet. It’s pretty tattered and worn now, with frayed edges and bits of fabric dangling precariously in certain sections. As I sketched, I found myself gently restoring it to its original state square by square, as my mind took me back to that wonderful moment when I first received it. It’s not that I didn’t take good care of it, of course. It’s simply a natural side effect that happens to childhood things when they are well and truly loved. The quilt is a delightful cacophony of blaring shapes and colors, assembled in a perfectly random fashion that somehow begins to form back into a pattern. It was crafted from bits of recycled fabric, some from old dresses my mother used to wear and others from items that had simply outworn their original use. And it was my constant companion throughout my school years, guarding me through the flu and chicken pox while cuddling me through restful naps.

As I grew older, and taller, the quilt grew much smaller. Where once I could completely cocoon inside it, I now had to settle for something to drape across my legs. But it always managed to provide the same comfort. It was, after all, still like I was getting a hug from my grandmother. She lived miles away, but I could always study those patterns and they would take me right back to her. She’s gone now, and the blanket has become too fragile to use. Taking it back out again, all those memories came flooding back to me. Both the wonderful thoughts of her, but also moments of no real importance at all. Just the feeling of being cuddling up under on the couch watching some silly show on television. I draped it around me first like a cape for a moment before folding it back into place for this sketch. It’s funny how the first memories the quilt brings back to me are only the simplest. Nothing dramatic or indeed eventful at all. Just a warm feeling of comfort that blankets me with memories of love.

I gently put the blanket back in its place in the closet, but the memories are still spinning through my mind. Looking back, I now realize that each time I was with my grandmother, she also gave me something more than my young brain could ever process at the time. She taught me everything from how to pick gooseberries to how to milk a goat, the latter of which I was rubbish at, by the way. But as she was teaching me these skills I would end up never requiring again, she was also teaching me much more. A steady approach to life that comes with an earnest heart and a positive attitude that never falters, no matter what may come my way. Each moment with her, she added a piece of knowledge that connected with the last to create a tapestry of wisdom that I still hold close to me today. And though objects might bring back memories, I now suddenly realize that, in the end, those wise and wonderful moments themselves were actually the quilt my grandmother made for me.

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Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Manganese Blue, and Cobalt Blue.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
 #WorldWatercolorGroup - Day 3 - The Quilt My Grandmother Made For Me - Doodlewash


Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on, contact me!

Recommended5 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
  1. Sandra Strait 4 months ago

    I love your quilt and I love your story. Families spread out these days, often living States or as in the case of my family, countries away. At least, we have the phone and internet to stay in touch. How terrible it must have been to move away knowing you’d probably never see your family again. Many couldn’t even write and communicate that way. Communication with family-another simple thing that we should take time to appreciate because it isn’t available to everyone.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕I totally agree! Of all the new fangled technologies we have, the ability to communicate with those we love most if the best thing about it ever!

  2. Mary Roff 4 months ago

    What a beautiful memory and painting! I had a favorite grandmother that taught me so much as well as bringing music and laughter into all of our lives…wonderful, wonderful memories.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks so much, Mary! 😃💕 Such great memories aren’t they? Grandmothers are the best!

  3. Lisa 4 months ago

    I love your quilt! I had a grandma quilt too. I have often said that children who grow up without grandparents are missing so much.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s a wonderful thing indeed to have grandparents. I can’t imagine not having mine!

  4. TextileRanger 4 months ago

    This is the kind of story that all of us quilters are hoping for when we give someone a quilt! We want it to be something that provides warmth when you’re cold, entertainment when you are sick, ideas when you are bored, and comfort if you are down. She would be so happy to know how much you treasure it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Aww this comment makes me so happy!! Yay! Quilting is such an amazing thing and so rich with memories! So happy you enjoyed this post and so thrilled you’re making people smile with your quilts! 😃💕

      • TextileRanger 4 months ago

        I enjoy the positive attitude of your posts. They always seem to have a fresh insight or an original expression that gives me something to think about, so thanks! 🙂

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

          That’s such an amazing compliment! Thank you so much! I’m thrilled you enjoy them! 😃💕

  5. Laura Hale 4 months ago

    What a wonderful story and artwork. Both are very comforting.

  6. Sharon Nolfi 4 months ago

    One of your most beautiful posts yet. The love between your grandmother and you shines through. I like your painting of the quilt, too!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Aww thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 She was indeed a special and wonderful woman. Always in my heart!

  7. Babychaser 4 months ago

    Fun! Family quilts are wonderful!

  8. Karen Howard 4 months ago

    I love your quilt and your story. You are as good a storyteller as you are an artist!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Aww thanks so much, Karen! 😃💕 That’s such a wonderful compliment! 😊

  9. Susan Cuss 4 months ago

    Beautiful story, Charlie, and what a wonderful quilt of memories and comfort your grandmother created for you! No wonder you feel/felt warm and safe beneath it– it was stitched with much love.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Susan! 😃💕 Quilts stitched with love are the most amazing things in the world!

  10. smzang 4 months ago


  11. Jill Kuhn 4 months ago

    My grandmother made a flannel quilt that I loved to pieces… literally. It was the softest blanket around as a kid and I remember many naps cuddling underneath it. Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories and delightful painting, Charlie! 💕😍 Takes me back in time. ❤️

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Yes, I totally loved my to pieces as well! 😃💕 But it’s still here… tattered and severing up wonderful memories! I bet your flannel quilt was amazing!

  12. Bill Jackson 4 months ago

    Nice story. I have a few quilts from my grandmother as well. Using one IS like getting a hug!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Isn’t it!? Thanks so much, Bill! 😃💕 I adore those quilts. They’re so special to me!

  13. Rod Fletcher 4 months ago

    This is a lovely piece of writing Charlie.

  14. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 4 months ago

    What a wonderful story about your grandmother, and that’s the best thing about painting the beautiful quilt she made you. The relationship between the two of you is what she really sewed and you’ll have it forever, and now we have it also, because you’ve shared it with us.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Sharon! 😃💕 I miss her so much, yet having these wonderful memories makes me so happy. There’s much to be loved from a well-loved quilt.

  15. Lovely 🙂

  16. memadtwo 4 months ago

    Quilts are really like time capsules, at least the ones made by our grandmother’s generation, using the fabrics of their lives. And the love is still in each stitch. Beautiful, Charlie.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Thanks, Kerfe! 😃💕 They totally are! That’s the perfect way to describe them!

  17. Steve Minor 4 months ago

    Quilts made by family are always special!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 4 months ago

      Yes to that, Steve! Quilts are definitely one the best family memories! 😃💕

  18. Hania 4 months ago

    Such a lovely story.

  19. June Hadaway 3 months ago

    Really a nice memory and a beautiful painting of the quilt your grandmother made so lovingly for you. These kind of treasures aee the best.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 months ago

      These are definitely the best treasures ever! So happy you enjoyed this one, June! 😃💕

  20. Jeanne McBrayer 3 weeks ago

    As a quilter who has made many quilts for family members upon weddings, graduations, and new babies, it was delightful to read about a “Grandma” quilt that is still cherished and loved. Thanks for sharing.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 3 weeks ago

      Thanks, Jeanne! 😃💕I love that you quilt!! That’s such an amazing gift to receive. No other gift can provide that many hugs after it’s given. Love quilts!

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