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Sewing Sweetness


Photo by Jennifer Dow

Photo by Jennifer Dow

Such jokes come a mile a minute in a conversation with this great-grandmother, whose house also provides living quarters for three generations, her daughter and granddaughter living in their own apartments on the top and basement floors. You can see why it must be hard to live away from this woman with a big generous heart. In one morning’s visit, she presses jars of just-put-up jelly and soft hand-knit scarves in the colors of your choice into your hands. When you try to protest and pay for such gifts, she won’t hear of it.

Joyce does sell her quilts at local craft fairs and festivals. Each one—from vintage cotton patchwork designs in country colors, to more abstract patterns with embroidered details fashioned with silk, or satin—costs $35. When she is told that she could sell these works of art for a LOT more, Joyce waves such an idea away with her expressive hands.

She is happy to custom-design quilts to each customer’s specifications, digging through her piles of fabrics, ribbons, old-fashioned bedspreads, and more to fulfill each wish. She scours local sales for vintage lace doilies, coasters, and table runners. “I wash everything so the fabrics are clean and bright,” she says. For added warmth, cotton batting is sewn between the quilt and given a soft backing, usually made from sheets.

The only constant with a Joyce Harvey quilt is it’s size; every one is a three to four foot rectangle or square, just the right size for wrapping your legs in while watching TV, or for covering a baby in a crib . . .or hanging on your wall as a unique work of art. She also knits fabulous baby blankets—the day we were there she was working on a “Noah’s Ark” quilt for one excited grandmother, knitting tiny animals and an ark out of bright colors on a sunny yellow background.

Joyce’s granddaughter finally convinced her to come up with a name, “Remembrance Quilts” for this uniquely Cape Cod cottage industry. If you want to meet Joyce and order your own special remembrance, call her at 508-385-4252. She will be happy to meet you and design a quilt you will cherish.

Making connections with people and keeping those around her focused and happy is something this gregarious, cheerful lady has always been good at. For years, she worked for Scudder-Taylor’s Cape Cod Custom Tours as a guide. She traveled all around the world. “I’ve been to China, Africa, South America, and all over Europe,” Joyce says. She has lots of stories to tell about her travels.

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