April 17, 2012 Remembering Mom

My family has a long history of quiltmaking. My mother made quilts as a young woman to use as bedding. Her sister, Louise, also started young, but continued quilting throughout her life. Both my maternal and paternal grandmothers made quilts to be used on the beds. I have some quilts from each of them, some tattered, but I’m thrilled to have them. My great maternal grandmother made beautiful quilts. She and other family members contributed crazy quilt blocks to a quilt given to my grandmother as a wedding gift in 1905.

I began quilting in 1976. I saw a set of cross stitch blocks and I enjoyed embroidery. Of course, once those were stitched, I wanted to make a quilt. It was very hard to find an instruction book at that time. I found one and followed those instructions. Of course there were no mats, rotary cutters or plastic rulers. Pieces were cut using hand made templates, so my work was less than perfect to say the least. But the best part of making this first quilt was that my mother and Aunt Louise came to my house one weekend to help put it in the frame and begin hand quilting it.

That weekend got my mother interested in quilting again. She made quilts for all of her children and grandchildren, and she kept quilting beyond that. She and Aunt Louise attended the same church and both belonged to the quilting bee there. The ladies hand quilted tops and donated the money to the church. They were very good quilters.

When mom got older, she wasn’t so interested in piecing tops. So she would buy the fabric and ask me to piece for her. What she enjoyed was  the quilting. And, she loved listening to the Kansas City Royals baseball games on the radio. Her best times were when she could combine the two. She would also work on my quilts when she visited. I always had something in the frame. And I would go to the church with her and quilt when I was visiting her.

Quilting gave my mother, me and my Aunt Louise a common interest that made us grow closer. It was a very special tie between us that gave us all a lot of enjoyment. Both women have been gone for many years now. I have moved to doing all my quilts by machine. But the memories are so sweet.

Grandma James quilt pattern






















This quilt was made from Aunt Louise’s templates taken from a quilt made by my great grandmother, probably in the 19th century. It has long since disappeared. But this copy uses my hand dyed fabric in colors matching the original. The sashing was an element I added. It’s one of my favorite quilts because it is so bright and cheery.

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One response to “April 17, 2012 Remembering Mom”

  1. Ann E. Ruthsdottir

    This is sooo very lovely. Hard to belive those bright colors were used in the 19th century. I envy your quilting relationships. It sounds so lovely. I just started quilting in 2007. My maternal grandmother made a quilt as a wedding present for my parents. It was all hand pieced and hand quilted Dresden Plate pattern with curved edges to match the pieces. After that long hard work for her first quilt, she never made another.

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