Handmade with Love
By: Jennifer Yoder
Growing up in Holmes County, Ohio’s Amish Country, I never fully appreciated just how lucky I was. Looking back, one of my favorite things to do was go to my grandma’s house on Saturday afternoon. The afternoons that I loved the most were the ones when we got in her jeep and traveled the few miles from Farmerstown to Charm, getting excited and pointing out all the horses along the way.
We would end up at a quaint little country shop called Millers Dry Goods. As a kid, I thought the store was a magical place. There were fabric and quilts of all kinds in all colors of the rainbow, buttons and all of the sewing and quilting notions imaginable. The quilts were so beautiful and full of color that they almost took my breath away.
We were there to get supplies for Grandma’s own quilts. We would go through all of the fabrics; there were always calicos, plaids, solids, prints in all colors of the rainbow, as well as all of the threads and notions to go with them. As we were going through everything, we’d pick out the things she needed, and of course a few things that she didn’t, but that I thought I had to have. We then packed up and headed back to her house to sew or quilt whatever she had planned for the day.
My grandma was a quilter through and through; throughout my childhood and into my twenties, the best times of my life were spent with her. Visiting Miller’s Dry Goods and going back to her home and quilting on her quilts, or just watching her and learning as she sewed or quilted away, I had some of the best conversations of my life, as she passed down the ageless tradition of creating beautiful quilts.
Recently I was talking to a visitor to the area, and somehow we got on the subject of Miller’s Dry Goods. I shared with her how the store played such a important role in my favorite Saturday afternoons with my grandma and learning the art of quilting. She shared with me the special memories of her trips to Holmes County with her mother to visit and shop at Miller’s Dry Goods in the aptly named village of Charm, and how that shop also held some of the same memories of special times with her mother and helped build the same love for quilting for her as it did for my grandma and me. We ended up tearing up and hugging, exchanging our addresses and parting with an incredible sense of sisterhood because we shared treasured memories of the women we love and a quaint little shop in Charm.
That conversation also made me curious how many other grandmothers, mothers, daughters and granddaughters built priceless memories of spending time with someone special while shopping for fabrics and notions at Miller’s Dry Goods. How many women are continuing to pass along that the love and knowledge of quilting?
A little poem that my grandma embroidered on the quilt that she gave me for my high school graduation says it best: “The best kind of sleep under Heaven above/Is a Quilt Handmade with Love.”