Thursday, April 19, 2018

A to Z April Challenge: Q is for Quilt


When my sister and I cleaned out our parents’ home, we had to make many decisions about what to do with all the stuff. Which things are truly “valuable” and which have only sentiment in their favor? Should we sell it, keep it, or throw it away? To help ensure a future for our family’s heirlooms, I plan to leave a booklet for my daughters telling the stories of what they will inherit one day. (Not TOO soon, I hope!) With this challenge I begin my book of Heirlooms.



is for Quilt. Well, of course. You weren't expecting anything else, I'm sure. The creativity and artistry among members of my family are evident in the quilts they sewed.
Dresden Plate by Velma Davis Woodring https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Dresden Plate

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.
Dresden Plate by Velma Davis Woodring https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
This quilt is really worn. So many parts of the "plate" are gone.
I like to look at all the prints and imagine they were once dresses Velma and her sister Violetta might have worn as children.

Hexagon by Velma Davis Woodring https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Hexagon - Variation on Grandmother's Flower Garden
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 the color 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. 

Hexagon Variation on Grandmother's Flower Garden by Velma Davis Woodring https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
The purple fabric has not held up as well as the floral and yellow.

Greek Square by Helen Kohne Mathias https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Greek Square
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 knotted instead of quilted. 

Squares and Triangles by Helen Kohne Mathias https://jollettetc.blogspot.com
Squares and triangles


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. 


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. 

Appliqued quilt by Mary Eleanor Davis Slade https://jollettetc.blogspot.com

Wendy
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.

24 comments:

  1. Wendy, you are talking about one of my favorite topics. I have bee quilting longer than I have been doing genealogy. The 'squares & triangles' block is called Variable Star. The Greek Square looks like Churn Dash. I have made many quilts for family members. I put a fabric label on each one with the year, the name of the quilt pattern & my name. Hopefully they are family treasures that will be passed down in the future.

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    1. Ahh - thank you for identifying the block. It was so basic that I thought it really had no name. I also looked up Churn Dash, and sure enough, it looks like that too. Are they 2 names for the same pattern or is there a slight difference I have failed to notice?

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  2. I'm a quilter too, longer than a genealogy fan! The center of the Dresden Plate block looks like a "cathedral window" block, which requires great skill. You are really lucky to have these wonderful quilts to enjoy now and share with next generation.

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    1. Look at all these experts coming to my aid. Thanks for the info about the cathedral window.

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  3. I had a wonderful quilt done by my great grandmother that disappeared in one of my many moves. I do have one basic patch quilt by my grandmother. These are beautiful. I only seem to be able to finish crib size quilts for my grands. Adult size never get done.

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    1. A hand-made quilt of any size is well-loved, I'm sure. No reason to feel bad about not making a big one.

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  4. You have some beautiful quilts, I love the purple one also. None of my ancestors made quilts but my Mother made quilts for each of us and the grand kids, and one with boats on it for our sailboat. On my bachelor brother's she embroidered all his nieces and nephews names and birth dates hahaha!
    My mother-in-law had 3 or 4 catalognes made by her grandmother and great grandmother. A Catalogne is a woven blanket or cover, almost like a rug traditionally made by early French Canadians. They were great to throw on the bed or wrap yourself up in front of the fire during our cold Canadian winters. Unfortunately I didn't get one, she gave them all to my sister-in-law.

    My A to Z Genealogy Challenges

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    1. I had to look up "catalognes." I bet they are lovely. They look like they are heavy, probably a good thing in cold weather.

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  5. The quilts look great for the "age" that they are. I do like the pink one that your mom made. My mom was a quilter too in the 1970s. She did a lot of her quilting on the sewing machine. Hubby had an aunt who made lots of quilts and passed them on to family members. I wonder if it will be a dying art or if "young" people are interested in making them.

    betty

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    1. I read a blog today by a woman whose 2 young daughters are making quilts, so I think there will still be quilters in the future.

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  6. I've been saving articles of clothing and things to make quilts for my kids but haven't gotten around to it yet. Maybe someday! Thanks for sharing these.

    Janet’s Smiles

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    1. No time like the present. I'm sure Michaels has quilting supplies.

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  7. Those quilts are lovely! I have a few special quilts tucked away that my grandma made just for me. It's hard to see the fabric wear on them because they are truly irreplaceable. Maybe not valuable in the monetary sense, but more priceless than any sum of money I could get for it.

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    1. I know what you mean. Even if these were rags, I wouldn't part with the memories.

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  8. Wendy, there is sometimes more than one name for quilt blocks. Traditional names have sometimes been replaced in more recent years. Be sure to store them carefully. Use no paper between layers or plastic bags on the outside. Best to fold them with the back on the outside of the folds & place in a big cotton pillowcase. Keep out of the sun. They will last for a long time. Enjoy!

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    1. They've been either on a bed, in a drawer, or hanging in a closet, no plastic bag. I like the pillowcase idea.

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  9. Somehow, I knew we would both have some kind of Quilt post for 'Q'. Your commenters have covered the basic naming and other important information on owning vintage quilts. Ditto on Colleen's storage comments. Loved your Mom's pink quilt and her skillful use of blocks and color.

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    1. Momma struggled coming up with new ideas for the blocks but she did great. It is fun studying each one to see how she selected colors and added French knots.

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  10. So colorful and beautiful patterns. This post made me happy :) I love it!
    Jui Positive Cookies

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    1. Thanks - glad to add to your positive thoughts for the day.

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  11. I'm glad you used Quilt for Q because I love seeing these. I have some quilts from my 2x great grandmother but the one that is the most special to me is the one from my great grandmother because I knew her and see her face every time I look at it.

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    1. Wow, the quilt from the 2x grandmother must be fragile. To my knowledge the only thing we have that old is a chair that belonged to my 2x grandfather.

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  12. I've seen the purple pattern referred to as 'The Diamond Field'. There was a pattern in a 1932 Kansas City Star (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/8866530491179210)
    and in 1933 in the Lansing State Journal. (http://vintagecottagehome.blogspot.com/2009/01/3-1930s-quilt-block-diamond-field.html)
    I only know because I have a quilt top of the same pattern hanging over my desk and tried discovering the name of the pattern.
    I LOVE your 'Q' post!!

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    1. Thanks for naming that pattern. I knew it had to have one.

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