This is the title of a book by Thomas Knauer. It is also an intriguing question to ask quilters. That is exactly what he did and the answers were profound, moving and very personal. If you have the chance check out the book, you will be glad you did.
I often come across the same question when I examine old quilts. This lovely log cabin I have in the shoppe is for sale, but I have truly enjoyed having it around to look at and study. I have another that was most likely made by the same maker
How do we know?? Well we don’t for sure but the odds are good. These two were found together, and the pink and yellow fabrics from the diamond in a square are present in the log cabin. The stitching appears to be the same too, quilting stitches can be like handwriting and a trained eye can often tell when two things were done by the same hand. By the way, this one is for sale too.
So when I have quilts like these my thoughts do wander to questions like, why did she make this quilt? Who got to use the pink green and yellow very planned project, and how long after did she make the log cabin? Who used all the quilts that all those scraps represent? Why did she use the patterns she did, did the recipients help choose the colors and patterns like often happens today?? And perhaps the biggest question, when ready made blankets were cheaply available what compelled her to make quilts, Over and over she must have quilted to have the collection of fabric scraps for that log cabin. Every piece of fabric could tell a story of its own, and together they stitch together the memoir of a lifetime. Perhaps this is the thing that draws me to scrappy utility type quilts again and again.
Perhaps that is why I quilt. Why do you?