A Quilt and a Kettle

“A Quilt and a Kettle” is the name of a song I wrote several years ago, based on a story in Mary Bywater Cross’ book:  Treasures in the Trunk: Quilts on the Oregon Trail. It’s the story of a young couple, Allan and Rachel Bond, who married and soon after headed out with a wagon train from Indiana to the Willamette Valley in Oregon.  It’s recorded on “A Quilter’s Embrace”, my second quilting CD.

Along the way, Rachel found a usable soup kettle that someone had thrown out of their wagon train when it got too heavy to keep.  She kept her sewing supplies in it as she walked, and she made a quilt as they travelled.  I love the story.

Two years ago, when we were last in this area, we stopped to visit the Bond family cemetery, near the Eugene airport.  We saw a wooden spoon that Rachel had used for years in the local museum.  We found out as much as we could.  But today I met Viki, the wife of one of Allan and Rachel’s relatives – a great-great (?) grandson. There is a family poem that was written about 50 years after the migration, detailing the entire journey.  Viki is going to copy the many-page poem as well as some other family information about the migration and send it to me. 

I LOVE ripples like this from songs I’ve written.  It has happened with many of my stories: the Rajah quilt, the Changi quilts,the Peshtigo fire quilt, and others. One day I must sit down and write it all up, maybe in book form. But when do I do that and stop researching?  I never know when I’ll find out something new. 

We stopped with Mary Bywater Cross on the way down to Eugene, and she was very helpful with another song I’m writing now, about the Panguitch quilt walk in Utah.  Mary has become a friend through my writing songs from her stories, and I value her opinion.  She has a wonderful way of spotting  a moment in a song lyric when I really don’t know what I’m talking about, and I’m making it up — and can tell me some history that will fill out the song in a constructive way.  Thanks, Mary!

Our performance at the Emerald Valley Quilters Guild was fun the other night.  A few firm fans (including two who drove up from Florence, on the coast), and a lot of new ones.  Today I taught a class in hand applique, using freezer paper in three different ways.  Viki told me at the beginning that she considered “hand” sewing a four letter word.  At the end she said I have almost made her into a hand appliquer.  I’m delighted.

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2 Responses to “A Quilt and a Kettle”

  1. Peggy Freeman Says:

    Parallels are so interesting. Two weeks ago I read a book, The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers which contained an Oregon Trail journal based loosely on a quilt and it got me thinking of your song. Yesterday I saw our Civic Theatre’s production of Quilters, The Musical, by Barbara Damashek and there were more similarities of pioneer tragedies and triumphs. Then today I click on your weblog and here is this entry. Almost eerie. If you have not seen the play, you must if you ever get the opportunity. It is just so remarkable the connections you have made to inspire you to write these songs and run into so many connections to people along the way.

  2. GINNY MAYER Says:

    I am one of those many QOR members that loved your program last week here on Whidbey Island. I loved all your songs and also your quilts. I quickly bought several of your CDs to give to my quilting daughters. One lives in O regon so she’ll get dthe one containing the “Quilt and a Kettle” One who enjoyed shop hopping with me and several of my friends will get one with that song and hopefully the other will get one with No Ugly Quilts on it. Im going to watch to see if you are going to be any where else in my area in the future. Thanks, Ginny

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