Friday, January 25, 2013

I ♥ quilts

I did not grow up with quilts. There were no quilts in a cedar chest, no threadbare pieced treasures on the beds. I had a chenille bedspread. Yes, I was a deprived child.

Don't get me wrong, there was lots of sewing going on. My mom sewed all the time, mostly clothes for herself or for me or as a side job making clothes for other people. This memory makes me smile, remembering the ladies would bring the fabric and pattern they had picked out, and the pattern would always be way too small - vanity - and mom would fuss about having to enlarge it. She had one of those dressmaker forms that was adjustable, she would make it the size of the lady and go from there.

She could make almost anything, any kind of clothes, of course curtains and dressing table skirts, dust ruffles, throw pillows, anything on the sewing machine. But I guess she never got into quilts.  There was a lot of sewing at my house and knitting and crocheting, but no quilting.

The only one quilt I remember growing up is the one with the Dutch doll squares - where I learned to applique and embroider. Each little Dutch Doll had 5 pieces - hat, dress, arm, hand, and foot. On each little piece the edges had to be turned under and basted then embroidered using the blanket stitch all around. There were 18 squares, so I got a lot of practice, then my mom sewed the squares together with pink sashing and cotton batting, quilted it on the machine.  The batting got all clumped up when washed, that is the quilt where my cat had kittens on my bed… yes, it definitely got washed!

Susan's Dutch Dolls circa 1963

The first real quilt I remember seeing (real quilt = hand pieced and quilted) was in Missouri when we went for my cousin's wedding. My grandmother {Mother Hanie} was going to drive from Georgia to Missouri to the wedding and she asked me to go along, I was 18 and helped her with the driving. Anyway, we stayed there for a week or so and I remember seeing this beautiful quilt on a bed, all hand pieced and hand quilted, with hundreds of tiny hexagons (I discovered later it was a Grandmother's Flower Garden). I was amazed at the little pieces and could not imagine sewing them all together. I remember the edge of the quilt was not a straight line, but followed the hexagon shape, like this one:

For years I couldn't get the image of that quilt out of my mind, I wanted to make something like that, the fact that you could use everyday fabrics and put them together into a design was fascinating to me, it still is!

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