Thursday, September 17, 2009

Moving From Collector to Creator

I have always loved quilts. For my high school graduation gift, I asked my mother to give me money to buy quilts from my Uncle Don.  Dearest Sister had gotten contact lenses for her graduation two years earlier, which were quite expensive in those days, so I got $250 to buy family treasures!

Uncle Don and Aunt Ruth lived in the house my Great Grandfather built and all the family linen treasures were still in bureau drawers, storage closets and the attic of the huge, three story house. Aunt Ruth was in a nursing home after a debilitating stroke and Uncle Don’s health was failing. I knew that he could use the money and even though he tried to refuse it and just give me the things I asked for, I made him accept the check. Also, so no one could say I took advantage of the soft spot that I knew Uncle Don always had for me.

The following spring, the house and the entire contents were sold at auction while I was studying abroad, so I have always been glad that I took the opportunity to ask for the quilts when I did.

This is one of the quilts that I got.

It is my understanding that it was made by my Aunt Ruth, from new yard goods. It was a project that she worked on while she was with my grandmother in the hospital during my grandmother’s final illness in the late 40's. It is the one of the few family quilts that I recall seeing that was not made predominately from scraps or feedsacks.

The finish of the fabric is a polished sateen.

The quilting is done in a small grid with the applique pieces outlined.
This is not one of the quilts that we pulled out of the cabinet in the winter to sleep under!

This one was!

I always refer to this one as a ‘postage stamp’ quilt because of the small pieces, but I am not sure if that is what other people would call it.

When I was taking the photos, I thought that I should put something in for size reference, so I took off my ring and put it on the blue plaid square. The ring is about 3/4" diameter, so the pieces are about an inch square.  This quilt shows the years of wear and laundry, but it is still impressive, I think.

In 1978, I signed up for a quilt class, but was not able to continue beyond the first lesson or two. A week ago, I signed up for a basic piecing class at a local quilt shop. It starts in November, so I have a couple of months of anticipation.

I hope this time next year, I can call myself a quilter, instead of just a wannabe!


Iron Needles said...

I didn't know until a few years ago that was what you did for graduation. I missed alot all caught up in 'college life', as it were.

I am glad you have those quilts.

Allie said...

Those are beautiful! What treasures! I'm so glad you got them too. I can't imagine making one with all those tiny pieces....but it's lovely.
Good for you for signing up for a class, I can't wait to see what you make! I've never taken one, and it took me 20 years to complete my first quilt - made every mistake in the book, but once it was done I was hooked. Now I can't stop. *G*

Martha said...

I'm impressed that you asked for old family quilts for your graduation present -- and they are so beautiful. If there had been quilts in our family, I probably would have wanted them, but I never would have wanted to give up my graduation present (a 3 piece set of American Tourister luggage).

Just some day a young girl in your family is going to feel the same way about your quilts. I can't wait to see what you're going to make.

Tish said...

That quilt that Aunt Ruth made is so beautiful!
And the onesies you embrodery on are so cute! It's so nice that you sent Terri some for Kale. I didn't know it, but she told me the other day that he has to wear onesies because of his iliostomy!
I'm so glad that I get to keep in touch with you and Becky nowadays!