Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Aunt Martha's Quilts

My grandmother's sister, Martha Sanders, was old enough to be her mother, and died in childbirth in 1889. Grandma inherited a number of Martha's quilts, some of which she used until they were worn out, some she put back and gave her daughters, and two of which were passed on to me. I also have a box of the unused quilt blocks. I've looked at them over the years trying to decide what to do with them, but have decided they were not used for a reason. After piecing a number of blocks, I'm sure the housewife/artist selected the best for her finished quilt, and I can see from comparing the box of blocks with the quilts I have, that there is usually something wrong with the block--an angle not quite right, or a fabric pattern going the wrong way, or a mismatched color.

My own grandmother clipped many quilt patterns from newspapers and magazines, but I have no evidence that she ever quilted except the little learner's dolly quilt I blogged about. I used her quilt patterns (the verso) to track down her magazine subscriptions and used that information in an article about farm magazines. The patterns were traced onto cardboard, the pieces cut, and then neatly sewn together with tiny stitches and small seams. But I'm not sure how Martha got her patterns--perhaps by trading with other farm women in Lee County, Illinois, or perhaps she used some that her mother brought with her from Adams County, Pennsylvania.

Here are some pattern blocks from those saved by my grandmother.


Granny Fran said...

This blog is priceless! It's almost like looking back through my own life, at least a parallel life to mine. These quilt blocks make me think of the ones I have from my Granny. The prom dresses and wedding dresses are so similar to mine, and Granny made my wedding dress for me. I'll have to do a post of some of my old photos. The difference is, you're still slender, while I have become quite round.

Deborah said...

I'm salivating over these blocks.