Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Heirloom Quilts

Well, I've been working on the baby's quilt, I was going to machine quilt it but decided at the last minute to hand quilt it. I sent DH up to the attic crawl space to find my quilting hoop and he came back with treasure! Oh, and my hoop! About 17 years ago, my ex's great aunt had died (of old age, she lived well into her 90's, she was a wonderful human being!) When the family was going through her condo to take things, clean it out and give stuff away or throw it out, the ex and I had gone to help and to pick out what we wanted (what was left, anyway--the rest of the family got the best stuff and as usual, we got the pickings---but personally, that was the best stuff to me!) Among the stuff to go to the trash was a big box, so I lifted it up and got stuck by a sewing needle. So, I opened it up and there inside was tons of sewing stuff, most of it very, very old! In the big box was a smaller box and when I opened it up inside was a treasure trove! His great aunt was a quilter, she had started a grandmothers flower garden back in the 30's and worked on it here and there throughout the years but never finished it. When I found it, it had a large completed panel, some completed rows and some completed flowers---along with many cut hex's and all the fabric that she used for the hex's AND a homemade template made by her husband. I was SO excited, I wasn't a quilter yet---in fact I knew nothing about quilting but I knew that this was special. I took the whole box to my ex's mother and asked her if she was sure she wanted to throw it out. She said yes, no one in the family wanted it. I asked if I could have it and she said yes. So I took it home with the intention of finishing it, but I soon found that I needed much more quilting experience before tackling a job of this magnitude! So I packed it up and put it away until I would be ready to finish it and from that day on, I've been a quilter ever since! When my ex and I were splitting up, he told me he took it and destroyed it, and I was heartbroken, I never expected to see it again. But Lo and behold, DH found it in the attic---along with long forgotten quilting books and templates and patterns and cross stitch patterns---lots of stuff I thought was gone forever! Needless to say I am tickled to have this quilt back, after I get some of my UFO's done, I am going to finish this quilt! There is a lot of scrap fabrics (original 30's fabrics!!) left and tons of cut pieces, but there isn't much of the yellow solid used in the center of the flowers. I am hoping that I can find a fabric to match!

About 10 years ago when I was really going full steam ahead with my quilting, my Aunt had given me a quilt for Christmas. She had inherited it from her grandmother and it was made by her great grandmother, my great, great grandma, sometime in the late 1800's---they say it was made in the 1880's. I know she died in the early 1920's and it was finished way before she died so it was most certainly started at least in the 1800's! It is a log cabin, I believe it's a barn raising pattern.

It is made primarily of silks and velvets but there are many cottons and some woolens as well. Many of the silks are fraying, I'm not sure I want to fix them---well, I'm torn. I know if I repair it is takes away from the value of the quilt. I also know that since many of the silk strips are fraying that there probably isn't a whole lot of monetary value anyway---and even if there was I am not getting rid of this quilt for any money!! I would like to hang it eventually, but I worried that exposing it to light and air will speed up more deterioration of some of the fabrics---some are perfect, however. I can't put it out on my bed, with the baby, the boys, the dogs and the cats, it would be sure to be ruined very quickly. I hate keeping it hidden and folded up with acid free paper, looked at maybe 2 or 3 times a year. If anyone has any advice on how to handle this quilt, please leave it in the comments section!

For now, I am still working on the baby's quilt, stitching away---hopefully I'll have it done in a week!

Stitch on!!

6 comments:

Lori (A.K.A. Elkhoundmom) said...

How wonderful to have an heirloom like that! They baby quilt looks great, too.

Flippytale Quilter said...

Oh how I love Hexigons! I have a flower garden from my grandmother to finish too, but I need to finish my own first. What a great find and blessing!

Samantha said...

what a great attic find! Enjoy working on it!

Debra Spincic said...

Both pieces are really great! Love the log cabin setting--so vibrant. Clever template too! (precursor to our acrylic ones!)

Beth said...

I really like the baby quilt!

Julie said...

Oh wow! You got some real treasures!