Saturday, April 19, 2014

Great Grandmother’s Quilt

I have been staying at my Mom’s the last few days and I decided to finally take some pictures of the quilt her Grandmother made. I took close ups of my favourite fabrics. Pictures are mine… words are my Mom’s.

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I have fond memories of my grandmother making quilts like the one in the picture which she made for me in the early ‘60s. 

The patches, with the exception of the blue broadcloth ones which were “store bought”, are all reminiscent of clothing made for me, my sisters and brother, cousins, aunts, and everyone else my grandma sewed something special for.

I have memories of visiting her and finding that her living room had been transformed into a quilting salon – the furniture had been pushed back to the walls and an enormous frame took up the centre space. 

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She and her sisters and friends were seated around this huge frame, sewing and gossiping and thoroughly enjoying one another’s company. Everyone they knew or had known was discussed, dissected, and dissed. They gossiped, conspired, and generally had an all-round great time.

The quilting was sustained by tea and “dainties” (squares, cookies, cakes, etc.) at regular intervals and reminiscences of previous “bees” and departed quilters.

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I was absolutely fascinated, particularly because I was the klutz and disappointment of the family. Both of my grandmothers were pioneer women. They cooked and cleaned and baked and sheared sheep and carded wool and sewed all of the family garments from underwear to coats. They made the quilts and sheets and pillows and protected their chesterfields with doilies they had crocheted.

For the lovelier things – tablecloths, pillow cases, wedding dresses – they employed their “fancy stitches” and embroidered and cross-stitched and tatted.

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I could not thread a needle nor darn a sock. I couldn’t remember the difference between knit and purl and dropped stitches with alarming frequency. In short, I was a great disappointment to my grandmothers.

My father’s mother, the quilter, was disappointed in me because I always had my nose stuck in a book. I remember her looking at my bookshelves and the library books I had stacked beside my bed and declaring that I would never get married if I read so many books. Thank heavens my mother’s mother was not of the same mind – she had been a teacher and was my major supplier of books!

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Later in life I learned a few of the arts my grandmothers practised – I became a fairly good knitter, could decorate my house and clothe my children and myself with my sewing exploits – but that was it and it is now history. My products were acceptable but not outstanding.

I’m so pleased that Katy has taken up quilting and is so proficient. Her grandmothers would be so proud of her. And, the fact that she also reads a lot would not be lost on one of them.

11 comments:

  1. What a treasure it is for your mom to have that quilt and the memories to share with you. Happy Easter!

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  2. Awww, what a sweet story! It seems your mom turned out okay despite your great grandmother's worries. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Amazing quilt, bloggie, grandmothers, mom and daughter! Thanks for sharing your quilt heritage with me! My mom and grandmother were amazing seamtresses. This was not my mom's mom that sewes though... She did not sew OR read books much (except the Bible, I am sure) because she had TEN children! Most were boys so that is mostly what ahe did, LOL! My grandmother made me dresses with matching coats and such (she was fancy pants) but Mama made curtains, slipcovers and pillows as well as clothing. We didn't have a lot but you wouldn't have known it looking around! I grew up thinking everyone made their own lined draperies!

    I took after Dad and was more artsy than Mom, so I split my time with sewing and drawing/painting. I was blessed by their talents. Tad of trivia: in the southern US, grandmothers end being called Maw-maw (mine), Nanny or Granny. My mother had my kids call her Grandmother, like you mention ��

    Well, since I don't blog at my blog, I just did in your comments (I've been notorious for that in the past, lol!). Happy Easter! I am blessed that you are my friend! ❤️��������

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  4. PS-we needa scarf those calico designs and make a line of fabrics from them and call ourselves designers!! �� they are precious!

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  5. What a wonderful story Katy! I love hearing about older quilts and the history behind them . I love hearing old quilting stories too. Your mother has great memories and it is awesome that she has a beautiful keepsake too. Thank you for sharing it with us! Happy Easter!

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  6. The quilt is wonderful and so are your moms words. I love the history behind quilts!

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  7. How lovely to hear your mothers words :)
    You do a lot of fun quilts and other projects and I'm having a lot of fun 'following' you. It's a nice little surprise for me when I check my email and you have a new post for me to read.
    Looking forward to more :)

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  8. This post was the perfect Easter read! Thank you for sharing all the sweet fabrics & sentiment - Happy Easter :-)

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  9. it's just beautiful! thanks for sharing it with us.

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  10. What a beautiful quilt and story, thank you so much for sharing it.

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Thanks for your two cents!