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  • Writer's pictureGail Abbey

Rosalie's Legacy

A friend told me, when I began quilting in my twenties, "You're too young to quilt!" There's a stereotype out there that quilters are old ladies who have nothing better to do. Nothing could be further from the truth. Case in point, Rosalie Ferruccio, grandmother, quilter, Navy Wave, Nantucket basket weaver, Naragansett Beer taster, world traveler, organ and accordion player, and inspiration. Rosalie passed just a few years ago at the age of 100, but I got to know her through the quilt she made for her grandaughter, Julia.

Julia asked me to repair the quilt Rosalie had made 40 years ago. The quilt was hand pieced and quilted, so I repaired it by hand, attempting to match Rosalie's perfect tiny stitches. The number of fabrics used were too many to count, and as I worked row by row there was always a new one. Some of the pieces were beyond repair, so I used vintage fabrics, left to me by my mother-in-law, to replace them. It was amazing to see the original colors in the seam allowances and realize how the quilt had softened and mellowed over time.

It was a priviledge to work on this quilt, and to hear Julia talk about her grandmother with such love and admiration. Rosalie grew up on a farm, and was the oldest of twelve siblings. Julia is lucky to be part of a very large extended and loving family, and each of them has a basket, a quilt, something to remember Roslie by. In spite of our best efforts, quilts don't last forever, but I expect Rosalie's rich and full life will live on for generations in the stories told by those who were inspired by her, including me.

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