I say my rather loosely here because most of these quilts are mine either as gifts or purchases. However they are all meaningful to me, and have a story. I’ll start with the most recent one first then skip around as my story dictates.This quilt was given to me as a retirement gift by my friend, and colleague, and master quilter – in my opinion, though she is more modest that I allow her to be, Carmen Friesen. She rekindled my passion for quilts and quilting 11 years ago when I started working as a consultant with her. It seems that all the consultants at that time were into quilting, and if I was going to be in the “in” group, I needed to polish up my quilting skills.
For a while I really tried to polish, but one thing I’m not that Carmen is is polished. I started out small for several reasons. First and foremost is that I tend NOT to finish. In my defense it was almost finished!!! I got discouraged because I made a mistake, and I didn’t discover it until I was sewing the trim. Secondly, it had been
20 years ok about 20 since I had done any quilting.
Things had changed drastically since the days of tracing your cardboard patterns, adding 1/4 inch seam allowance using a see-through ruler, and cutting each piece painstakingly by hand.This is my 20 or so years ago sampler quilt, that I started when Kathy Pardun took a quilting class by Sue Lawson, and then taught several of us those of us, who couldn’t afford to take the class at the time, what she was learning. I never finished the quilt. I don’t know if Kathy did. I was so careful with the patterns. I guess I thought I would make another quilt!!!
I had several
GOOD reasons NOT to finish, of course. First of all the colors were all wrong after the 70s. Secondly, in 1979 I had a king-sized bed when I started the Sampler, and then I didn’t have one that large. Because the bed was so large, I had about 5 more 12 in squares to finish before I had enough to cover the top of it, and at the time I had to go back to work. This much had taken me 9 months to piece by hand, and I was tired of it. Very importantly, I wanted to quilt my prize by hand.
My mother-in-law wanted to support me in this project, had commissioned one of her neighbors to build me a quilting frame. It was huge. I couldn’t set it up in any of our homes over the years which were mostly single-wide mobile homes. And I really didn’t like sewing outside in either Oregon or Colorado. Plus I had no idea how to use it!!! I carted it around from place to place as then my pastor-husband moved us from Oregon to Colorado to California. Somewhere in our moves in California, it got lost. So then I COULDN’T quilt my masterpiece! I didn’t want to ruin my hand-piecing with machine quilting, so I just mourned the quilt. UNTIL Carmen and Connie, another quilter-consultant, came into my life. They motivated me to improvise on the top by adding the large strips (my idea not theirs, but I wanted to get it done.) Then Carmen referred me to a quilter. Voilá, a quilt I could now use. I now have a king-sized bed again, and the colors aren’t quite so off-putting as they were in the 80s when my house was all blue.
The next quilt is a VERY old quilt. My great-grandmother, my maternal grandfather’s mother, made it for my grandmother when SHE was young. Grandma complained that she didn’t like the colors. Mom reminder her, “MOTHER, you ASKED for orange! Everybody told you NOT to choose orange, but you insisted.” There must be some family resemblance there!!So my great-grandmother chose all the wild colors she could find, but she used plenty of orange and green. I think it was made in the late 20s or early 30s. Mom had another quilt that was made for her, a blue one. I LOVE this one because I LIKE orange. I like the blue one, too, but fortunately I didn’t have to fight anyone for them. My brother is not into quilts.
My great-grandmother made this quilt especially for my mother, who loved blue. My grandmother must have wanted to trade, and Mom wouldn’t budge – she hated orange! I don’t know how old this quilt is, but my guess is 40s. My great-grandmother died in 1956. I didn’t get a “specially-made-for-me” quilt, so my guess is that she had stopped quilting by the time I was born in 1951.
I’ve thought about writing about these quilts since Such-the-Like posted her finished purse. When Russell Ray also posted about quilts, it was a SIGN!! Then I knew I HAD to write this article. I apologize for the blue cast to some of the photos. After I put the quilts away and moved the furniture back, I noticed that I had shot them with a portrait setting instead of my normal point and shoot. You can see the difference in the last three pictures.
My husband commented that I should specialize in my blogging since my expertise is in education. Maybe I will eventually, but right now, I’m going to continue streaming thoughts. I hope you don’t mind, since my natural family includes no children, I am using you as my family, and recording my history for all of you. -Just because I exist.-