I spent every summer in Groton Connecticut with my grandmother, Minnie Olivia Lloyd. She lived in a small house, near the water, on a tree-lined street. I would hop a plane the day after school let out and come home a week before school started.
The humid summers were spent at the beach, the aquarium, helping in the garden, running the streets with the neighborhood kids and learning to sew!
It was every creative child’s dream! Anything I wanted, she would say, “go down to the basement and pick some fabric.” The basement was filled with bolts of every type of cloth one could want, my favorite being the fake, colored, fur. I would run up with an armful of whatever had caught my eye and later in the day I would have flannel pajamas, a wedding dress for my Barbie or a bib for my doll. There was nothing that she couldn’t make!
I can still remember her sitting in that ratty recliner chair, her silk nightgown shoved up under her boobs, sewing machine pulled up as far as it could go, her stories, aka soap operas, playing at an ear drum damaging level. And she would sew! That little table shaking as she hummed along to the tune of the motor. She loved it, I could tell, and she never hesitated to put me on it. She didn’t just want to make things for me, she wanted me to learn to make things!
Of course, at the time, I didn’t realize the gift that she was giving me, what she was passing on that I would then give to my daughter, a dying art.
I carried sewing with me into my teen years and into my adult years. Although I never felt as talented as my grandmother, I held that little piece dear to my heart. As soon as my daughter was able I would put her on a sewing machine, arming her with needle and thread.
But, as it often goes, life got busy, and complicated, sewing would fall to the wayside. The machine would be banished to the back of a closet only to be thought of once or twice a year when something needed mending.
A few years after my grandmother passed, my aunt called and asked if I could make quilts for her grandkids. My grandmother had made a quilt for every child and grandchild and now that she was no longer with us we were all feeling the loss, that our grandchildren may not have this piece of history to carry with them.
I was completely out of my element and I knew that quilting would never be my thing! But I wanted to do something. I wanted to step up and pass on my grandmother’s legacy. I talked to my daughter Courtney and before long she was on the internet finding an alternative to quilting: rag quilting! It was a great way to marry the old and the new. Three quilts later we had the bug. We had been reconnected with my grandmother.
After we had made quilts for every person that we knew, even sold a few, and we reached our quota of surfaces in our home that needed quilts, we began seeking our next project. One project led into another and there was no turning back.
Minnie O is dedicated to my grandmother. The one who made sure that her love of sewing lived on. Our creations are brought to you connected to three generations, my grandmother, myself, and my daughter. Everything we make is filled with love, passion and our creative expression. May our products bring you joy!
Courtney & Laurie