Sunday, September 7

Grandparents Day and Quilts.......

I promised pictures of four more quilts and here they are...........and actually they are "pieced tops" and not yet quilts. They are still pretty to see and one day they will grow up to be quilts.
In the photo below there's a whole array of quilts and quilted items but it's the quilt spread across the bed that is really special. That little old nine-patch was made most likely in the 1920's. I've been able to figure that out because the quilt was made by my great granny Blair. The story of how I figured that out is little complicated but it's interesting so .......... My mother was raised by her Aunt Bell Blair and Granny Blair was Aunt Bell's mother-in-law. Aunt Bell lived next door to us for as long as I can remember. My mother's parents passed long before she ever had children so to us Aunt Bell and her husband, Uncle John were our "grandparents" on my mother's side of the family. My mother came to live with them around 1933. Several years before that Granny Blair had lived with Aunt Bell and Uncle John but sometime in the 1920's she got sick and Aunt Bell and Uncle John took her home to Missouri to be with family. She died in the late 1920's so my mom said this quilt top was likely made in the early 1920's. It is one of two quilt tops given to me by my Aunt Bell.
Before I tell you more about that one I'll mention a couple of the other items in this photo. This is the room that my grandson, Jacob, sleeps in and he does not mind the quilt stuff at all. As time goes by, I'll tell you more about various quilts and items in this room but right now I'll just tell you about the dinosaur quilt. It was my son's quilt when he was little boy. It's just a dinosaur sheet that I sandwiched to batting and backing and then hand stitched around all the dinosaurs. It was actually on his bed until he was a freshman in high school and then I finally made a black and red quilt that looked a little more grown-up. I kept the dinosaur quilt and the suitcase full of rubber monsters he collected as a kid and now Jacob enjoys playing with the monsters and he loves the comfy bed and quilt. The old nine patch quilt made by Granny Blair was always in Devlin's room as a kid. I backed it with an old sheet and bound it with bits of fabric from my mother. I had to make repairs to some of the blocks and the fabric was so frayed that I used a buttonhole stitch to make my repairs. I would normally have used a more delicate way to repair it, but I remember that delicate didn't work. It's actually in pretty good condition for a much-used quilt.

This next one - "Trip Around the World" was made by my Aunt Bell. I called my mother tonight to get more information on this quilt. She said that Aunt Bell probably made it in the 1930's or even earlier as she does not recall her working on this quilt when she (my mother) was a child. However, she said that she can remember Aunt Bell ordering quilt scrap packets from the Spiegel catalog and stitching up quilts. This one looks well planned and could have been a kit for a "Trip Around the World" quilt. Sometime in the early 1960's, Aunt Bell had my sister and me come over and she let us pick which of her quilt tops we wanted. My mother can remember that I chose this one and my sister took a double-wedding ring quilt top. I mentioned some of this in my posts about the Lehigh Library Quilt Shows. My mother took the butterfly blocks for my brother, Doug, and sewed them into the Butterfly quilt. Click here to see the Butterfly quilt. She told me one more thing about the quilts - "Every spring Aunt Bell would have me take the quilts and tops out of the trunk where they were kept stored in mothballs and I would have to hang them on the line to air out. Even though most of them were just tops, many of the neighbor ladies did that, too, and I think it was just to show what they had made!" Isn't that fun? We go to quilt groups and share our quilts for our friends to see and they hung them on the line for "show and tell"!!

This being Grandparents Day, I am reminded to think of my grandparents. However, I don't need a day to remind me to think of them because, quite honestly, I think of them all the time even though they are no longer here. While Aunt Bell wasn't a true Grandma she surely did treat us as her grandchildren. There will be more stories to share about her from a piece of crazy quilting she did to how she inspired me to make my little Silver Dollar penny rug. Now to my dad's side of the family and to the only "real" grandparents I knew, Grandma Goldie and Grandpa Thurman. Grandma Goldie and the ladies of the United Brethren Church quilted almost weekly but few of their quilts remain as most were sent to missions or given away to family to use. My mother owns one triangle quilt pieced by my Grandma and another one, an autograph quilt pieced by the Ladies Aid members for my Grandma in the 1930's. Both of those were displayed at the Lehigh quilt show. Click here to see the autograph quilt made for my Grandma, plus a couple more autograph quilts.

The quilt above and the one below were made by my mother-in-law, Ora. I post them today in memory of her, the grandmother to our kids, Collette and Devlin, and also Cheryl and Ed, my husband's niece and nephew. Ora gave me the quilt tops sometime in the 1980's, I believe although I do not recall exactly when. She gave them to me as she said her daughter, Linda, wasn't really interested in quilts. I loved them. I would often take out her quilt tops and Aunt Bell's just to unfold them and look at all the lovely fabrics, then pack them away and say "someday I will hand-quilt these tops." I finally succeeded in stitching the smallest of the tops made by Ora. Click here to see the first quilt top she made in 1933 from blue and white shirting fabrics. Ora's mother-in-law, Christine Andersen, taught her how to quilt. Grandma Andersen was from Denmark and Ora married her son, Ed. Ora told me that Grandma taught her how to make the quilt tops before they were married but that she never actually stitched them into quilts. All three tops have been hemmed as Ora said she used to use them for "summer throws" on the beds. I hand-quilted the blue and white Jacob's Ladder and will do the same to the scrappy Jacob's Ladder shown above. If you've been following my blog, though, you know that I have ripped into a butterfly project and I have another vintage quilt I will be hand-quilting. I am going to practice my applique skills on the old butterfly quilt and my hand-quilting on the old vintage quilt and then I'll tackle the hand quilting on these quilts that are more than special because they belong to family!!

This one above is quite large and has an interesting story, too. The fabrics in this quilt are all from Clayton's Variety Store in Humboldt, Iowa. Ora's parents, William J. and Lulu owned the store in the 30's and 40's then sold it to Ora and Ed who partnered with Ora's sister, Norma, and husband. I posted about these quilts in August - click here - but I love them so much that I had to share them again.
These are the quilts I could touch and keep with me. They inspired me to make my own quilts. The memories of the Ladies Aid at the UB church quilting in that pink and white basement inspired me. I love to think of the conversations that may have occurred while the quilts were "in the making". How I wish I could go back in time and hear them!
This has been a long post but, oh, so necessary on my part. They are part of my "Legacy of Stitches" and I am so glad that I can share them with all of you!


Anonymous said...

I love the 3rd one - the placement of the 4-patches is so different. Love the colors in the first one, too.

Just Susan said...

I love your quilts and your stories.~Susan

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Those are beautiful quilt tops. The colors and designs are such a good illustration of quilts made in that era. I think that my love of quilts comes from those types of quilts from my childhood. There is a lot to be said for making quilts the old fashioned with with no rotary cutter and mat! Its lovely that you have those handed down to you.

Miri said...

I know its late to comment but I just found your blog. Love your quilts and your MIL's and the picture of her putting in the first quilting stitches was great.

"Peace can be found in the piecing of a quilt."
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