Saturday, October 20, 2012

A year behind

The traditional two year anniversary gift is cotton, three year is leather. Colin and I received this quilt top for our three year anniversary last month. Either my mom has had a bout of amnesia during our marriage, or she's just not trying to stick to the traditional timeline.

It was pieced, by hand, by my grandmother and great grandmother the year that my mom was born. Most of the flowers are scraps of other fabrics and although in this photo it looks like all of the fabrics of a similar color are the same, they aren't. The quilt is an odd size and when laid down flat it becomes clear that it isn't finished. 
At first I was tempted to just square it up, quilt it, bind it and enjoy without messing with the heritage of the top. But then Hexa-Go-Go started popping up all over the blogosphere and I figured that it was fate telling me to jump into the deep end and figure out how to do some paper pieced hexagons to add to the two sides of this that aren't done. So that's the plan, to try and find some vintagy looking scraps to make a few more full or half flowers to finish it up. I want to hand quilt it anyways since it's too big to do on my machine and I like the idea of doing it how my grandmothers would have. 
Just one more thing to do, in a very large growing pile.

Friday, October 12, 2012


When going to visit my parents I know to leave room in my suitcase for goodies to bring home. It's possible to find almost anything at my parents house, most of which I have never seen before. They have lived in the same home my whole life which leaves lots of memories, and also allows for lots of stuff to get hidden. Both of my parents are savers (although some would perhaps use the term horders), which at times can be a bit wearisome it can also be wonderful for treasure hunting.

First I visited my mom's fabric drawer. She mostly sews clothing, and doesn't sew as much as she did when we were growing up so there are some dusty layers in her stash drawer. When we went through it together the pile she wanted me to take began to over take the pile that was going back in the drawer. In the end we compromised on these lovelies.

I don't know what any of them are, I dare say none of them were purchased in the last twenty years. Only the elephants and top floral are cotton. The blue dots are linen, tulips are a volile and the green and black is something heavy - it was actually my grandmothers.

Next to the fabric drawer is the craft closet. I don't think that I have ever seen the carpet or the shelf liners in this closet. I managed to find two packages of pom-poms and chunky wooden beads that had never been opened for a project with the babies. I also came across these -

Two grain/feed bags. I have no idea what I am going to do with them or even if my sewing machine can handle this heavy of material but I love them. Particularly the farm illustration.

Then my mom pulled out the big guns. The thing that both my sister and I had not seen before but should have. A family crazy quilt - 

It was done by my great-great-grandmother over a century ago. All of the patches are velvet and the thing is heavy! But the hand embroidery is amazing. I am sure that a lot of the symbols are simply things that they liked, but some of them have more meaning (like what's with the weird arm holding a hat by the year?) however the real story of the quilt has been lost over the generations. It looks like someone used it at one time as a quilt for a bed but I think that over time it has been holed up in a linen closet never to see the light of day. I'm not sure that I can justify putting it on a bed either, at least not while there is a little sticky fingered critter running around the house. Perhaps it will take up residence on a wall at some point, it's just too much work to be sitting in a closet.