Friday, November 21, 2008

used up quilt

I've been thinking about how I use the quilts I have made. Yesterday I was at a little gathering of quilters and someone held up a beautiful queensize quilt and remarked that they wouldn't think of sleeping under it - that it was just for show. I thought of this old quilt - made by my grandmother in the 1940's.
This was the quilt on my bed when I was a very small child (in the 1970's) it was old and used already then. When I was 5 years old I decided I wanted a comforter and so (horrifying confession) my little sister and I found spots in the quilt top that were worn through - small holes I guess you would call them - and we used a coat hanger end to rip (I can hardly bear to type this) the patches through thinking that if the old quilt was ruined then my mom would buy us a new comforter. Well I was wrong. My grandmother came to visit, bought a new, patterned sheet and sewed it over the now ruined top of the quilt and tied it through the layers. I slept under this quilt until I got married (1997). By now it was the back and the edges that were in tatters. I put it away - it was an old friend and I wasn't going to part with it.
Last year my parents came to visit and we got talking about Grandma's quilts. I have 3 other quilts made by her but I could not recall the pattern on this quilt so I removed the sheet and revealed this old, used up, worn out, faded "Nancy's Nosegay" quilt. Handpieced, hand quilted, made from scraps of my aunt's skirts and Grandma's dresses and some new bits. My dad remembered her making this quilt when he was young. What do I do with it now? Around the edges are blocks with no damage - I could salvage them and do something with them...
This next quilt is one I made for daughter #2. She's been using it for 5 years now. Every night when I tuck her in - I look at the quilt and appreciate the fabric, the pinwheels ect... I love that I can tuck her in under a quilt I made for her myself. The other day I discovered she had colored one of the flowers in the fabric with a purple marker. (serves me right after what I did to my grandmother's quilt!)
To sum up. I make quilts to be used. In my home, we all sleep under the quilts I have sewn. One day they may look like the tattered old quilt at the top. But I'm okay with that - It just gives me the excuse to make another new quilt. :0)
Happy Quilting!!


Marilyn R said...

I love the story behind your Grandmother's quilt. Maybe you could put some of the better blocks in a frame and put them up on your wall so that they could be enjoyed every day. Just a thought!

Mary-Kay said...

Your grandmother made a beautiful quilt. That is the first quilt pattern that I wanted to make once I had started quilting. I still haven't made it yet but I have the pattern and still have the desire.We use all our quilts in this house. My youngest son sleeps under 3 quilts and loves them all. I like your daughters quilt too.

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Both are beautiful quilts...I really like the pinwheel quilt...the colours work so well together.

I slept under a similar type quilt to your nosegay one when I was younger (hexagons) and I have just put in the request with my stepmother to have it when she is ready to part with it...I had visions of it being thrown out so I put my two cents in before it was too late.
I'm not sure what to suggest with the nosegay quilt...If you can save the blocks then certainly re-setting them would be the way to go and then in keeping I would hand quilt it. Interesting project...I hope you will keep us posted :o)

MARCIE said...

That is the sweetest story, you naughty little girl! I have a similar horror story that I can't bare to talk about. Your grandmother's quilt is a treasure. How wonderful to have those quilts of hers. And you pinwheel quilt is darling also. My granddaughter got drops of nailpolish on hers. Oh well.

JohnR said...

You know, I still sleep under one of my Grandmother's quilts..

Marit said...

Your Grandmothers quilt is beautiful. And you have a long history together with that quilt. It would be hard to know what to do, and how to perserve it.
I love the quilt you made for your daugther, love both the colors and the pattern. Somehow those old quilts are very special. I guess the amount of time and work and the pieces of old cloth makes them very valuble in our modern times. It is just facinating to me how the quilt has stayed in your family.

janet said...

Oh what lovely quilts you've shown and I loved reading the story, Great post.
I couldn't agree more about the using of them, I think that's one of the pleasures of making them.

Evelyn in Canada said...

I've just been reading some of your old posts. I doubt I'll ever catch up, but it's good to hear your voice in the writing.

My mom made two quilts for Beth and Laura. She showed them to me once and then put them away, saying that she'd give them to the girls when they were old enough not to paint on them (they never actually paint on their beds!). Anyway, after reading a novel about quilts, she decided that even if the girls weren't old enough to take great care of them, the quilts were meant to be used and loved. The girls have slept under them nightly for two years or so now, and Beth even makes her bed every day now to show off the quilt.

I don't think they'll ever have a quilt made by their own mother. Never say never though. :-)