Thursday, April 19, 2012

A to Z April Challenge: Q is for Quilters

This is day 17 of the A to Z April Challenge.

is for Quilters.  The creativity and artistry among members of my family are evident in the quilts they sewed.

My great aunt Velma Davis Woodring made several quilts, which are now mine.  The Dresden Plate pattern was very popular in the 1920s and 1930s.  The elaborate center suggests this is a variation on the typical Dresden Plate which had just a simple circle.  Judging by all the floral prints in this lovingly worn quilt, this one was probably made in the 1930s. I like to look at all the prints and imagine they were once dresses Velma and her sister Violetta might have worn as children. 

The edge of the quilt echoes the "petals" of the main design.
In this photo you can see just how worn out the quilt is.

I like how the design dictates the overall shape of the quilt.
The hexagon pattern is thought by quilt historians to be one of the oldest pieced patterns. This hexagon quilt in violet and yellow with coordinating floral print is Velma’s masterpiece, if you ask me.  She was the quintessential purple girl long before it was fashionable.  The pattern is very precise forming diamond-shaped groupings.  I KNOW this pattern has a name, but I can’t find it.  It is probably some variation on Grandmother’s Flower Garden. 

You can see how worn the violet fabric is.

Ervin and Helen Mathias
Wayne and Donald
about 1941 or 1942
My mother-in-law Helen Virginia Kohne Mathias made a quilt for each of her 7 children.  Upon her death, we each took one.  Apparently she made many more because somehow we ended up with 2.   This is my favorite.  I love the bright green and orange fabric arranged in the Greek Square pattern.  She machine stitched the top but tied instead of quilted. 

This gold patchwork of squares and triangles amuses me because the fabric is so unlike Helen.  It looks like an animal print in a way, but certainly a smaller scale and more subtle than something obvious like leopard or giraffe.  I’m not sure what it is.  Like the previous one, the top is machine stitched and the quilt is knotted. 

Mary Eleanor Davis Slade

My mother appliquéd and quilted this sampler quilt around 1977.  It was her first one.  She set two challenges for herself:  make no 2 squares alike and use only 2 shades of pink.  She used a pattern from a magazine but then had to design more center motifs herself. The beauty of this quilt is the balance of the two colors. 

This quilt is partly my own creation.  I was in my black and brown phase of decorating in 1977.  The maple leaves are hand appliquéd.  I machine stitched the squares and strips, but I gave up on quilting.  I ended up paying a Mennonite church quilting group to finish it for me.  They charged by the number of spools of thread used.  What a bargain!  Sadly, the quilt is badly faded on one side. 

Don’t be in a Quandry.  Don’t Quit now.  If you’re Quick, you’ll enjoy some Quirky and Quotable Quips at the A to Z April Challenge.

©2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Those are some lovely quilts. Nothing like a big ol' quilt on a cold night.

    Places I Remember
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

  2. You have a collection girl! I love the pink one Mom made.

  3. The best part of your posts for me is your inclusion of the pictures of the people. And their names - like Violetta. What a wonderful name!


  4. Beautiful quilts! I love the idea of all that history sewn together. :)

  5. Lucky you to have these family heirlooms and they stories that go with them. I am a quilter and have a quilt story for my Letter 'Q'. Thanks for sharing yours.

  6. All lovely in their own way I think, especially the pink and green. I've never quilted but I have a friend who does and she and a friend have organized a quilt to be made for every team competing in the Olympics. On top of that they've produced a book of the quilts to raise money for charity - that's dedication. If you're interested Wendy here's a link .

    1. EVERY team???? That goes beyond dedication! I'm going to check the link now.

  7. Hi Wendy ... your family quilts are very beautiful and so are your Mom and Aunt. Thanks do much for sharing all of this with us. I have 4 special quilts hanging on our walls ... three old and a Mary Eng. that my friend made for our wedding ... Quilts are def a work of art.

  8. Oh my I am so jealous of all of your quilts! I have one that was made by my Grandmother but was just pieces randomly put together for warmth not looks. I have made a baby quilts for my nieces and nephews but have never had the time to tackle a large quilt. I have always wanted to make a doulbe wedding ring quilt....perhaps when I retire.
    Happy A-Z April!

  9. Well, I usually enjoy reading your blog but today I just loved it!
    You have a beautiful collection of great quilts! My favorite is the variation of the Grandmother's Flower Garden. What a great color combination! I've been working on a GFG for YEARS! ALL by HAND!
    Is your quilt hand pieced? Some of the old Grandmother's Flower Garden quilts still have the paper hexies in them that were used to do the piecing.

    1. Yes, the GFG is hand pieced. I don't see any signs of paper hexies though. I was hoping you'd stop by and correct me on the names of the quilts -- especially the Dresden Plate. I wondered if the 4 pointed petals and fancy center disqualified it as Dresden.