Friday, April 15, 2011

Old Squares, New Quilts

Last week when I got out my old fabrics to cut the charm squares for the giveaway, I remembered the other items I inherited from my grandma along with the fabric scraps. My grandma Ruth died in the early summer of 2000. Later that summer, my mother, her two sisters and some of my cousins and I gathered at the house that has been in our family
for over 100 years to parcel out mementos and memories of several lifetimes. In dark, scary closets in deteriorating boxes and bags, we found not only scraps of fabrics, but also quilt squares. Lots and lots of quilt squares. As the only quilter in the family, I got all of them.


These squares sat as they were for 6 more years (and why not-- they had been waiting for 40+ years already!) until spring of 2006 when I decided the time had come!


I remember that spring well! Not only had I decided to create a series of small wall hangings for family members with the squares, but I was also getting my certification for teaching gifted students, and assisting with girls' camp for our church. As busy as I was, it was a great joy to work with squares that either my grandma or great-grandma had made, in hopes of creating a quilt one day.

Some of the fabric was from flour sacks. Others were faded. Some just didn't seem to go together.
I sorted all of the squares, and resorted them. Most of them were a nine patch shoofly pattern. Others were Indian Hatchet. (I had to scour quilting books to find this out!)

After I grouped similar color schemes in workable numbers to create a quilt, I then decided on what border color to use. I had to remake a few of the squares in order to make my new pattern work. >
In one instance, I had to purchase some new fabric to complete a block. I had to use tea dye to make the fabric appear aged.


Finally I made about 16 small wall hangings. I had to machine quilt most of them so that I could get finished in time for our family reunion.

I was very excited to share them with my family, but I didn't really think that it would mean as much to them.
After all, I am a quilter-- I love fabric and patterns and stitching. But when I laid them all out on the tables, the family just loved them. It made me feel so happy to be able to share this legacy.

So maybe you have inherited some block you don't know how to use. Consider making small groups and sharing them with your family!

Side Notes:
The biggest bonus in all of my haul was 2 nearly finished quilts. One, Grandmother's Fan has the directions, the templates, the pencil she used!, needle (very rusty), and 54 finished hand-sewn blocks ready to be made into a quilt.



The other is a box of 132 half rings for a Double Wedding Ring Quilt with this note. I will use them!

Some of the quilts. As you may notice, MawMaw's favorite color was red.





















3 comments :

Mary said...

Wow look at all the quilts, I'd like to learn more I've googled but I need to really sit w/someone to have 1 on 1 :)

They call me grandma said...

Part of the fun of an adventure like this is the walk down your own perceived memory lane. Imagining how grandma lived her day, thinking of her joys and sorrows. Pondering the heritage she left that we, as new grandmothers, have the responsibility, and opportunity to pass on the the new generations. The quilts are beautiful.

KrissyClarkMcKee said...

Wow! What beautiful family heirlooms you created! How could your family NOT love them!

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