Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Family of Quilts - Show and Tell Friday

It's Show and Tell Friday over at My Romantic Home come on over to Cindy's blog and join in!

 Summer vacations at Grandma's house always meant sleeping in the "oven" with all my cousins. Grandma had a big old range in the kitchen of course with lots of burners and little oven compartments that I never did understand, but the "oven" that the grandkids inhabited was the upstairs dormer room that heated up like an oven in the Kansas summer. Windows all around the room with window seats over bookcases. Lots of places to curl up or we slept on the floor.  The windows were permanently sealed shut to keep out the perpetual dust, but there were piles and piles of quilts and an old Victrola that we played non-stop until the temperature became bearable and we could finally get to sleep. Of all the recordings we could listen to my favorite was "Barney Google (With the Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes)"

We all loved Grandma's quilts and we also loved to listen in on all the stories the ladies would tell when the quilting frames were set up in the "front room" and the "Bee" would get into full swing.  It was a tiny little town of about 250 souls that Granddad and Grandma lived in, so I can't imagine that anything much was a secret for very long once the ladies began their buzzing. Those ladies could really make short work of finishing a quilt, although there was one "bad stitcher," whose work was quite often redone once the group dispersed. They loved her dearly and wouldn't have wanted her to leave the group.

My Grandma had 10 grandchildren the first of which was born in 1939, the last in 1956.  She had a plan to have a quilt made for each grandchild before she passed and she finished them by about 1960 with 20 years to spare. Other quilts were made during that same time frame, but the quilts for her grandchildren were always kept in the cupboard in the back hall. They lay neatly folded on the shelf above all the board games and checker sets that we all played with while the adults played Pinochle.

The quilts were pulled out from time to time to admire and each of us had a favorite or two.  As the years passed and we grew up, Grandma realized that she would need a way to choose who received which quilt and eventually she just drew names. None of us received our "favorite," but we loved them all so it didn't really matter. The two I remember that I loved were the State Birds and the State Flowers.  Of the ten quilts, most survive to this day, although one became a dog bed to the horror of the rest of us.  Every family has one of those don't they?

The Grandma quilt I received had won a prize in the county fair for being forward looking and innovative, and here it is almost 50 years later.

These two quilts were also made by my maternal Grandmother and have seen a lot of use over the years.  My children and grandchildren love them because they are "so soft." That's the sign of a well loved quilt.

 This quilt was made by my paternal Grandmother and is one of the few things I have of hers, other than wonderful memories.

The quilt blocks for this quilt were made by my maternal Great Grandmother when she was a very young woman.  After my Grandmother passed away they were among the things packed away in the "shed" for her to get to when she came back to her house once she could come home from the extended care facility.  She never did get to come home, the house had been sold long before she passed away.  The shed however was still on property held by the family and we all pitched in to retrieve and save memories of times past.
 When we opened the box containing these blocks, the three sisters just hooted and laughed.  No one would ever take on putting these together as a quilt because Great Grandma had been inexperienced and not a very talented quilter and none of the blocks were truly square.  They appealed to me and so they came to live with me, eventually becoming this quilt.

This is a fairly "new" quilt that I purchased at a show in Chicago in the early 70s when it was stitched.  Still a favorite of mine and sewn with precision and care.

And the last two are baby quilts also retrieved from the shed, that were used by my maternal Grandfather as an infant. Amazingly still in good shape after all these years and a bunch of those years living in the shed, which in the summer in Kansas must have reached over 180F at least.

Quilts were meant to last a lifetime and these have lasted longer than that.


  1. Wow, what a wonderful collection of quilts! My mom is a quilter so I know how much work goes into those! My favorite is that white one! That is GORGEOUS!!! I've never seen one like that before! Thanks for joining in on Show & Tell!

  2. The quilts are just amazing, you are so lucky to have them. The work that it takes to complete a quilt is quite an undertaking. Thanks for sharing them, they are beautiful..

  3. Wow, Thats a beautiful collection of quilts. I love the white one! They are all beautiful and hold so many memories. Please stop by for a visit soon.

  4. Wow! They are all beautiful! Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. How wonderful to have quilts made by your grandmothers and in such great shape!
    It's difficult to pick which one I like best but........I think the second one pictured.

  6. Beautiful collection! I've made a few quilts and would love to make more some day. Blessings!

  7. Wow what a collection of quilts. Love them very much. They are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Beautiful...I think your favorite is MY favorite too.

    My Show n Tell is another craft project I just finished this week. You can find it here at this link

    Have a glorious weekend.

  9. Your quilts are all wonderful...I especially love the one with the green background. I have several quilts hanging up in my living room. One was done by hubby's Granny. Thank you for sharing!

  10. Oh, such a wonderful show & tell. I loved hearing the tell behind the show. You are so lucky to have these treasures. But especially the ones from the shed. When we were clearing out my parents' home & buildings after Daddy went home to be with Mama, we found many quilt tops in an old metal locker. We cried when we took them out because they crumbted in our hands. I'm sure, Mama never thought they would be damaged. She just didn't have room for them in the house. I'm happy you took the Bear Claw one and made a quilt from it.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Mama Bear

  11. These are so wonderful! I only have one of the quilts my grandmother made but it is special because she made it out of fabric from old dresses and housecoats she had. I had to laugh at your comment about the quilt being used as a dog bed and "every family having one of those" - it's so true! Your collection is really beautiful.

  12. Your quilts are beautiful!! Reminds me of my Mom and grandmother...they always quilted. It seems like a lost art today but I'm sure there are still lots of people that do it.

    Have a great day!!

  13. Quilts and their stories are such treasures! Thanks for sharing yours.

  14. What an amazing collection of quilts you have! They are all so unique, and beautiful. What wonderful family history is behind them too. Thank you for sharing them!

  15. Hi Candy...

    Ohhh my...what a lovely quilt collection that you have and so many priceless family heirlooms! What a blessing to have these beautiful quilts made by your grandmothers and great-grandmother!!! I love the quilt that you put together using the blocks that your great-grandmother made...that is so very special...and it's absolutely gorgeous!!! I must tell you...reading your stories sure brought back many fond memories of my grandma who just went to be with the Lord a couple of years ago. She was an expert seamstress and quilted too! She made each one of her grandchildren was the state birds and the other was the state I really smiled when I read about your grandma's quilts! My grandma had embroidered each block for the state flowers and state birds...they're fabulous!!!

    Well my friend, thank you so much for sharing your beautiful quilt collection with us today and for sharing a little of your family history...I really did enjoy it!!!

    Warmest wishes,
    Chari @Happy To Design

  16. I am pleased you all enjoyed my little quilt collection, they are receiving their Fall "airing out" and a couple will be washed and laid out to dry. Then back into the cupboard for the winter. I try to keep them away from the California sun, which can be very damaging to old linens.

  17. That is just amazingly beautiful! I love your quilts. I have wanted to learn quilting for quite a while now but have never had the opportunity. My sister owns many quilts, me..none. But I'm working on it. I love the yo-yo quilts also. Thank you so much for sharing your lovely collection. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  18. Be still my heart! I am one HUGE quilt lover! And as a woman who's made some myself, I will say that the squares do not have to be totally even. Some of my quilts, when folded, do not meet exactly. But then, that is being human, isn't it? Quilts are made with painstaking love and commitment. To heck with whether they are perfect! You have an AMAZING collection and I am positively green with envy.

  19. I love that your quilts have stories & memories to go along with them. Most of my quilts were bought from the store. I do have 2 special quilts that my Grandma made for me. One when I got married & the other was for my son when he was born. Too bad that quilting in my family ended with my Grandma.

  20. Thank you all! I think quilting would come back as a major hobby, if TV and the internet went away. LOL


Thank you for your lovely comments.

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