Thursday, May 19, 2011

Grandmother's Flower Garden - Literally!

In the past, quilters gathered in churches accross this nation to raise support those on the mission field.
I was fortunate enough to grow up in such a church. In fact, the above photo was taken for an article which appeared in our county newspaper back in the 1960's. The lady in the center was my great-grandmother.
She had a loving personality and devoted herself to caring for her family and those around her. If you look closely, you can see a white handkerchief laying on her lap under the quilt. I cannot ever remember seeing her without one of those handkerchiefs. However, I'm not sure what is up with that large white collar on her Being the thrifty person that she was, she was probably covering a hole or a stain on her dress.

The lady on the far right is her daughter, my grandmother. It is hard for me to express how deeply I love this woman, for she is in many ways my inspiration. She was smiling in this photo which was characteristic of her personality, and always looked at the drinking glass as being half-full. She was also my neighbor and I credit much of my early skills in sewing to the patience she extended toward teaching me. You may be interested to know that I was also present when the above photo was taken. I was pretty young at the time and spending the day with my grandmother. When the photo was taken I was on the floor under the quilt!

Recently, I had the opportunity at auction to purchase several quilts from my great-grandparents estate.
This Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt top was among the collection. I'm not certain when it was made, but my guess is that my grandmother and her sisters pieced it together during the 1930's when they were young girls. I can picture the three girls toting around these blocks to local sewing bees and proudly adding their blocks to the quilt. Some of the fabrics are most certainly original 1930's fabrics and my mother believes feed sack fabrics were used as well.

Here is a close up a few of the blocks.

Some are nicely pieced...

...and others not.

Sadly, at one time this top was washed and the edges are frayed.
It looks as if muslin was used for the pathway and it is pretty thin.
I guess I should fill in one more piece of information and tell you that this is one of 13 quilts I was able to acquire from my great-grandmother's collection.
The the awesome thing is...I didn't pay much for them, but that is a story in itself for another day.

So given the condition of this quilt top and the sentimental value to me personally, what would you do? Would you quilt it? Would you open up some of those ugly seams and correct them?
I'd love to gain some insight from others! 

                         Oh and I almost forgot! Here are my flowers for One Flower Wednesday.

I was able to finish two this week.

May you always Sew in Peace:)


  1. Wow....that's a tough call. I have my grandmother's GFG top too and I am in the process of quilting it. Like yours, it is not perfect, but I did not "fix" it. Mine wasn't as bad as that one flower I see, but I thought it added to the character of the quilt. Those were days before GOs and good stencils!!!! It will be fun to read the comments.

  2. Hum, I would have to think long and hard before I did anything to any of those quilts. I would say for me I would want to leave them alone for the sake antiquity. It all adds to the story and the charm of the quilts. And they are beautiful and charming. I would preserve them well. Maybe have a nice place to hang one of them and then switch them out every now and then. But I lean toward not fixing them, they would loose their value as well. Not that you care about that. I am so glad that you got those quilts and have the photo to go along with the quilts. What treasures you have there!

  3. What an absolute treasure! I know nothing about the monetary value of quilts, but if it were from my family, I'd want to fix it and quilt it and USE it -- and think of my heritage every time I did.

  4. What a touching story! I too grew up around church quilting bees and remember watching the ladies all gathered around the large frames. What a great quilt you were able to get and thanks for sharing it here! Totally awesome! Oh and I always love your flowers!!

  5. A wonderful post Sandra! I wonder what the ladies are laughing about? Maybe at your great-grandmothers large collar! LOL. The quilt is a treasure and I think I would leave it as is. And, look at your two beautifully hand pieced flowers!

  6. If you can put yourself in the thoughts of those who made the "works of art", maybe think about how you would feel "looking down" at your posterity...what would the maker's want you to to with the quilt? It's so-sew awesome that you have something like this!


  7. What a wonderful story! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I am not even going to attempt to give you advice on such a precious quilt. I will leave that to much wiser and more experienced quilters than myself.

  8. Wow--what a wonderful story with great memories! The quilt is beautiful! I'm not sure what advise to give you on the quilt. It's a real treasure!

  9. I was wondering if you were under the table!! That's where I would have been. Beautiful flowers you have made. And your grandmother's quilt is such a beauty. I wouldn't straighten the crooked ones - it adds to the charm.

  10. My first thought was, yes, fix those flowers .... but then, there was a reason why they were sewn in crooked and should be left as is. It will make those viewing your quilt to stop, think and ponder 'why did ...'. Those flowers will let our imagination fly as to the reasons why.

    Lovely top and what a sweet story. I look forward to seeing the other quilts you bought.

  11. What a lovely treasure! How lucky you are to have such a special quilt and photo too :-)

  12. If I was lucky enough to get a quilt like this with so many memories for me
    I would leave it like it is.
    You could just fix the outside edges and make it into a summer coverlet to protect it from further deterioration. I would never use it. It would be for display purposes only.
    just my 2 cents!

  13. what a wonderful treasure and that YOU have it...thanks for posting for us to share...enjoyed reading you blog!!


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