My Quilt Story: Jackie White

‘Bye Gram, I Love You

“Made in memory of my grandmother who died in May 2009, this quilt was exhibited at the AQS Quilt Show & Contest in Des Moines last month. Every week for ten years I would go over to my grandparents’ farm and see them, do some housework, or just visit. I did this by myself, and then as I had my two sons, they would come with me. And every single time, just as I was leaving, I would kiss her cheek and say, ‘Bye Gram, I love you.’

She was the most remarkable woman I have ever known. A farmer’s wife, a fabulous cook, a loving grandmother, and of course a quilter. Her grandchildren and then great grandchildren were her greatest joy. She was always so excited to see us. Everything about her was fun, and whether you were in her kitchen doing dishes or peeling apples or playing euchre, you were smiling.

This quilt was made from her blouse and also a sleeper that both my boys wore when she held them. The clothing is stuffed to give it more of a three-dimensional appearance. The yarns couched into the background were from a sweater that she was unraveling near the end of her life. She was so thrifty and environmentally friendly, decades beyond her time.

And all the buttons…there is a story. The yellow buttons, quite a few of them, represent how sunny and happy life was when she was alive. The orange ones, not so many, show the time of her dying and how painful that was for us all. And all the red buttons represent the love she left behind for us.

She witnessed my birth, watched me grow up, celebrated my marriage, cherished my children, and I held her hand when she died. Bye Gram, I love you.”

Posted by Christine N. Brown, American Quilter magazine editor-in-chief

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I am in the same guild as Jackie and we are very proud of her. It’s amazing how creative she is – she tries everything!


Wonderful and touching story. Just what quilts are all about. Beautiful quilt – as much talent there as in story telling. Thank you.

theresa Johnson

The quilt and the sentiments are touching. Your story reminded me of my dear grandmother. I am also trying to make a quilt in honor of her.