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Author Topic: My Quilts  (Read 15206 times)

motomom

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My Quilts
« on: March 30, 2010, 01:06:33 am »

Ok, I'm getting tired of talking constantly about health care, the terrible economy, the nematode-in-charge, the lack of freedom, and all other problems.  I am swearing off all forums except this one and maybe one other, and I'm going to do my real favorite activity/hobby, quilting.

And I have been reading this thread, and decided to let you know what I really do, other than run my own business and gripe about the economy.

Here are some pics of the quilt I made for my 2nd oldest son who is a Navy Pilot.
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2010, 01:07:12 am »

a detail
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2010, 01:08:04 am »

another detail
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2010, 01:08:43 am »

and one more detail.
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2010, 01:13:19 am »

A little bit of info on the quilt, if anybody is interested.  It is 100% cotton, all pieces, backing, binding, and batting.  It is pieced on my sewing machine, and quilted by hand on the quilting frame that my aunt gave me when she got me started quilting.

I did use a pattern to create the quilt, it is not my own design, although it is modified a tiny bit here and there.  This was the most difficult design I have ever made.  The airplane blocks are pieced.  I did use a couple of pieces of "cheater fabric" on the quilt, 3 actually, one is of some printed Navy ships, one is red and is an old barnstorming scene, and the 3rd is a Texas A&M block, that is a bow to where he got his degree.

I'm kinda proud of it.
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2010, 01:27:28 am »

Here is a pic of the first quilt I ever made, the one my aunt showed me how to quilt on.  All cotton, my own pattern from a very old pamphlet I had called "How to Make Your Own Quilt."  Far from perfect, but a good first start.  Pieced on the sewing machine, hand quilted.

One thing you should know about hand quilting.  It is addicting.  My aunt told me that when she was a teenager, my grandma (Big Mama, she was 5ft tall) would have the girls cook supper, and go quilt.  They would have to make her stop to eat, she wouldn't want to stop at all.

I think it is the tranquility of the action, you don't really have to devote your entire attention to it, and yet you can't watch tv while doing it.  My normal activity is listening to audiobooks while quilting.  I find the quilting to take me quite over, and I clearly forget to look at the clock, frequently surprising myself to find it is 4 am.

I highly recommend quilting for a hobby or calming activity for anyone who wants to learn.  As a matter of fact, I am such a quilting fanatic that I would probably be willing to travel to teach you, as long as you were in the states.
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2010, 01:28:59 am »

a detail of the rocket ship quilt.  This one I made for my oldest daughter, who is an aeronautical engineer.  Or, as we like to tease her, a rocket scientist.  And very much a libertarian. :mellow:
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2010, 01:37:03 am »

This is a quilt that I am presently working on, getting ready to put it on the frame.  My pattern, all cotton.  It will have a pink/fuchsia backing.  It is for my daughter-in-law.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2010, 01:57:48 am by motomom »
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2010, 01:38:58 am »

And here is a detail of it, the center block.  Of course, this one hasn't been quilted yet.
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2010, 01:45:23 am »

After I finish my daughter-in-law's quilt, I am going to make a "redwork" quilt.  Normally a redwork quilt has pictures embroidered on a plain white or unbleached muslin background, then worked into a quilt with red fabric accents.  Redwork quilts were popular in the 1800's when a special colorfast red dye was invented.  If you know this it can help you date an old quilt.....quilts made before that will look brown, normally that is the color that red faded to before the colorfast dye was created.  It can trick you sometimes, though, as many women would never throw away a scrap of fabric even if it was the old non-colorfast red.

Here are the little embroidered squares for the quilt.  Pattern is one of the little iron-on patterns you used to get at the 5 and dime store. 
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2010, 01:46:55 am »

another sunbonnet
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2010, 01:48:25 am »

and another sunbonnet
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2010, 01:55:26 am »

Remember my daughter-in-law's quilt?  Well, she is expecting a little babe any day now, and here is the little doll I made to go with her quilt.  I made the pattern for the doll, face features, I stole the shape from an old Raggedy Ann doll I had.
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2010, 02:13:12 am »

I have a special quilt that I am working on whenever I need a more portable project to take with me when traveling.  I can take it because I am a lunatic and I am hand-piecing it.

The quilt has an interesting quilting story, for anyone who is interested or likes history.  The quilt is called a "Dear Jane" quilt, named for Jane Stickle who made it.  The original quilt was finished in 1863, during the Civil War.  Jane lived in Vermont, and probably all the men in her family were gone to war.

The quilt is incredibly intricate and very geometric.  Jane in all likelihood created every block on that quilt using simple tools.  No block is repeated in the entire quilt, and every block is a different fabric. 

You can read more about Jane's quilt here

http://www.dearjane.com/

It is a very interesting story.  Well, I think so anyway.

You can read more about redwork quilts here

http://www.redwork.info/

Whenever I hear about someone who thinks we should go to war now, either a new revolutionary war, or a civil war, I think about these quilts and the women who made them.  Having to sit at home and wait for word from the men in their families, hoping against hope that they would survive.  It must have been incredibly hard.  And, I know in both wars food was very hard come by, and money was even harder to get.  I don't think folks realize what they would be suffering when they are letting their fingers mouth off on the internet.  Not that I don't think freedom is worth fighting for, because I do.  But I don't think we should be stupid.

Anyway, here is one of my "Dear Jane" blocks.  The block measures 5 inches square.  All those little pieces of fabric are hand-sewn together.  I must be crazy.  But, maybe I'll finish it before I kick off.

If you look carefully, you will notice that all the points are "pointed."  In other words, none of the points have been shaved off by the stitching.  That's one of the ways you can judge a really good quality quilt.

This block is A9, which means it is on the first row (A), 9th block over from the left to the right.
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motomom

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Re: My Quilts
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2010, 02:35:26 am »

Ok, so now I know all of you will think I am a complete lunatic.  I might as well tell you the whole story, so you will KNOW I am an idiot.

Here's the beginning of the reason why I wanted to learn to quilt.  Warning, it is kinda sad.  And then I promise I won't post any more about quilts unless asked, at least until I finish another one.

My Mama’s Quilt
By motomom

When I was a young girl growing up in Podunk, my Mama made a quilt. I was perhaps 10 or 11 years old, and I had tried sewing enough to appreciate the months of work she put in on the lovely creation. It was a tulip quilt, not made in blocks but appliquéd with embroidered accents.

When it was finished, I was allowed to have the beautiful quilt on my bed. It always looked wonderful there, with its graceful red tulips, long flowing green leaves and green scalloped edging.

The real beauty of the quilt was not in the pattern, although it was a good pattern, but in the execution of the stitching. I remain convinced that no one could have sewn the quilt like my Mama. Her stitching of the appliqué onto the white bleached fabric was flawless. Only if you looked very close could you see the tiny stitches around the edge. The embroidery and quilting stitches looked as though she counted the very threads of the muslin to measure the stitches, and nowhere was a knot or loose thread to be seen.

The quilting surrounding the tulips was very fine, and the lines of stitches were very close together. The quilting stitches were fascinating to me, surrounding the delicate tulips and stems at perfect intervals, white on white. When you looked closer to the edge of the quilt, the intervals became crossed lines, which blended into the beautiful thin scalloped green edging.

In the 40-plus years since, I have constantly been comparing every quilt I see to this exacting standard set by my Mama, and I have never seen anything like it. Some may say that my memory is exaggerated by her absence, but I disagree. Sadly, I no longer have the quilt, but I have many other pieces of her fine stitchery that attest to her skill. Even the small pieces from her youth show her high standards. Her sisters and her mother (Big Mama) could all sew, but all knew that my Mama was the best.

We had other things in the house that my Mama had made. We had a set of huge pictures, one of a chicken and one of a rooster, completely made of different kinds of beans glued onto a board. I had many examples of my Mama’s fine sewing skills; as a matter of fact most of my clothing was carefully sewn on her machine. I still have a table on which she had attached pieces of tile into a mosaic and then grouted.  Making beautiful things were second nature to her.

I am not sure if she became sick before or after she finished the quilt, my memory is a little fuzzy after so many years. But Hodgkin’s Disease soon took my Mama’s life. Many folks in Podunk may remember her death in 1969, just 20 months after the birth of my little sister. I am not sure that very many people outside of our family ever saw the quilt. To my knowledge, it was never entered into the County Fair, but it would have won a blue ribbon handily.

Five months after my Mama died, my Daddy married the woman whose ways were so foreign to me. She didn’t cook like my Mama, or sew, or garden, or put up any black-eyed peas or pear preserves. Her idea of cleaning house was to hire someone to do it. She did weird things like raking all of the stuff on the bathroom counter into one of the drawers, and never cleaning the kitchen cabinets. She used odd-smelling perfume, which made me sneeze. She had three daughters, who had grown up in California. There were wild and crazy, and so different.

She treated my little sister like a doll, dressing her up for church with ringlets in her hair, and baby doll shoes with ruffled anklets. But she made no quilts. In my world, that meant she was not a real woman like my Mama.

We soon moved from the house where I had spent most of my growing up time, into a bigger house with gold-brown carpet and a fancy bay window in the kitchen. There was no room for my Mama’s quilt; everything in the new house was gold to match. None of my Mama’s things were quite good enough, and they disappeared. I vaguely remember being shipped off to Big Mama’s house for a visit, and when I came home they were all gone. I never saw the quilt again.

A few other things slowly disappeared, too, like all of the silver dollars my Granddad had purchased for me because I had been born on his birthday. They were probably spent by one of my older siblings for cigarette money. But nothing has haunted me as much as the disappearance of my Mama’s quilt.

I have for over 40 years now cruised every antique and craft show, flea market, and quilt bazaar that time would allow. I have looked, hoping against hope that I would see the quilt. I have even looked for the pattern everywhere, so that I could at least have a picture. I have been horrified at the thought of my Mama’s quilt being cut up by some stupid person to make a purse or vest.

I have scoffed at the poor quality of quilts made by others, obviously amateur. There was one quilt shop in Fredericksburg, TX where the owner proudly announced that hers were the finest quilts made anywhere, silly woman. Her crude efforts couldn’t hold a candle to my Mama’s beautiful quilt.

My Aunt Sis, bless her heart, still asks the dreaded question of me. “I wonder what ever happened to your Mama’s quilt?” I have no answer, just as I had no answer when she asked me 40 years ago. She is the last remaining member of the clan, and my Mama was the first to go. Mama’s death had been so hard on everyone, and now that she is in her eighties, Aunt Sis still can’t let go of her baby sister, or the lovely quilt she made. Since losing my little beautiful baby sister, I can understand.

For in the quilt was stitched the grace and beauty of my Mama. The stunning red flowers against a white background, bright contrast, bold colors, were so brave for a time when the popular hues were muted gold and copper. She was proud of her work, and she cared that it was perfect in every way possible. My sister had the same sense of style and color, even though she arranged flowers instead of making quilts.

One of my sons is now married. According to some newfangled technology, they know they are expecting a little baby girl. I am about to become a grandma. If I could give this little girl one gift in this world, I wish I could give her my Mama’s quilt. Nothing would represent the hours my Mama would give to her family better than each painstaking stitch of the quilt. Even though anyone can go to Wal-Mart and buy a quilt made overseas, those cheap copies with their big gaudy stitches cannot compare to the real heirloom that she wanted to leave to me.

So, I write this letter to the women of Podunk. I write in the hopes that some lady, somewhere, had the intelligence to know quality and rarity when they saw it. I describe the quilt in detail, in the hopes that some girl may have noticed my Mama’s quilt in their family things, and might perchance be willing to return it to me. I write in the hopes that my Mama’s quilt didn’t end up in someone’s trash or doghouse, but instead is carefully hidden away in a closet, or hanging on display in some loving person’s home. I would gladly pay any amount of money for it. My Aunt Wanda still lives in Podunk, perhaps some sweet girl will leave it on her doorstep. She will see that I get it. And, thanks.
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