Memories of Homemade Quilts — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Memories of Homemade Quilts — Linda Knight Seccaspina

Memories of Homemade Quilts  Linda Knight Seccaspina

Last week I reposted a story I wrote about quilts and how much they mean to me. One, I lost in a fire, another is hanging on by a thread, and last year a Lanark County one made in 1902 was rescued at an auction.

Friday morning, my friend Julie Sadler called me up and said she had something for me. She had a precious quilt from her grandmother May Morphy. I didn’t know what to say, but I believe a bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars. I asked her to send me a story about the maker of the quilt and she did.

May Morphy ( Mrs. Warner Morphy) was her maternal grandmother. Born in Ottawa in 1895, she married her husband Warner in 1922. He was Edmond Morphy’s great-grandson and grandpa worked at the train station. May was a very private lady and her passion was quilting.

As long as Julie can remember, she was at the church hall every Wednesday afternoon quilting with the ladies rain or shine. Her mother was born in the house she lived in and the front room always had a quilt set up. She made dozens over the years and there wasn’t a sewing machine in sight! Every stitch was by hand with love and her quilts are prized possessions! Quilts are a link to our past and they each have a story.

Mae Morphy’s quilt – Julie Sadler

My second quilt was purchased at an auction and was a crazy quilt made in 1902 in Lanark County. It is signed by approximately 30 people who had a hand in making it. The quilt was made as a fundraiser–either church or community, and all the stitching looked to be very consistent. This would indicate that likely only one person would  have had a “hand” in quilting/making it. Usually the quilts made as part of a “quilting bee” had many people helping to make them, and you can usually notice differences in how the stitches are done.  Stitching is similar to everyone’s hand signature. Each one is slightly different from person to person. 

Have you ever asked yourself why everyone loves quilts? What drove families to gather in their communities and make quilts for their families?  Quilts connect everyone, and they speak about former lives of families, and their joys, their hardships, and their homes.

Seven days after my birth I was placed in a quilt my grandmother had made and brought immediately to her home as my mother was ill. I was tucked into my crib with the same quilt I came home from the hospital in. One night my father gathered me up in that same quilt and smuggled me into the Royal Victoria Hospital hoping my mother might remember me as she had postpartum depression. I can still see her looking down at the cards she was playing solitaire with while I was holding on to the edge of that dear quilt in fear. To this day I will never forget that image – my father says I was barely two,  but I still remember the greyness of the room. While my life was sterile and cold, the quilt held warmth and security. My grandmother always said that blankets wrap you in warmth but quilts wrap you in love.

At age 12 my mother died, and my grandmother sat with me on her veranda and wrapped that same quilt around me while I cried. Life was never the same after that, and the quilt was placed on my bed like an old friend when I stayed with her.  I would stare at the painting on the wall while I tried to sleep and thought that a lot of people understood art but not quilts. If I had a lot of money I would own a quilt and not a piece of art,  because in the end which gives you the most comfort?

When I got married at age 21, my Grandmother sat at the dining room table for weeks and worked on a quilt for my new home. As I travelled down the road of life the quilt was always there while people came and went. Although it was ageing gracefully it was still heavy and secure anytime I needed it. Through death and sickness it held comfort, and the promise that it would never desert me. This quilt held my life with all the bits and pieces, joys and sorrows, that had been stitched into it with love.

At age 47 the quilt died peacefully in my arms. A terrible house fire had destroyed it, and as I looked at the charred edges I realized the thread that held it together had bound the both of us forever. Now it was time to go down the final road by myself,  and remembering the words of Herman Hesse I began the journey.

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”

Buttons and Quilts by Sherri Iona (Lashley)

The Lanark County Quilt and its Families

The Ladies of St. Andrews

Clayton United Church Quilt Fran Cooper

From Dawn Jones

Hi Linda

Reading your posts and enjoying the beautiful quilts. A picture of one quilt I own made by my Aunt Betty James. She made quilts of different colours, patterns and themes for every one of her nieces and nephews. She is a retired teacher, and a former councillor of Portland Ontario, mother, aunt, grandmother, sister and friend. She made many quilts over the years for her church and various fundraisers close to her heart over the years. I wonder how she found time. But I’m grateful she did. I’m happy to use it on my bed. Who needs a weighted blanket when you have one of these.

Lisa Marie Gordon is with Sean Gordon.


As a little girl my mama made two quilts, one for me and one for my sister .. Time passes and the quilts were sold with our bedroom furniture.

The other day Sean had decided to treat my mom to a lunch date. He had her by the arm and together they were walking the Main Street in Almonte, my Mom glances up in the antique store window.. and says to Sean, there’s my quilt!!! Gulp!

Today I bought it back for her… Isn’t it crazy how life comes full circle? Thank you Mom.. FOR EVERYTHING!

❤️❤️ feeling so grateful❤️❤️

LOVE this from Stu Thompson

Hi Linda. I saw your posts today of quilt memories, and it reminded me of a photo that I have of a display of quilts that my mother had quilted over the years for her children and grandchildren. They were brought by the family members to the celebration of our parents’ 50th anniversary, Nov. 8, 1988, and put on display. Alan and Betty Thompson, with the family, and with the extended family.–Snippets of the Thompson Farm — Ramsay

Thanks to Lucy Connelly Poaps

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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