Quilting, Farming, Variety

Sunday, September 13, 2015

More Flower Gardens ~ A Top and Blocks

One of the first quilts I made and quilted was a flower garden quilt.  It wasn't the best in the world, but not tacky either.  The top below is one that I made a few years back, using brown instead of the typical green.  If green was to represent grass, I suppose brown represents dirt?  Anyway, it's a huge top; will it even go on my frames without the outside border being removed?  Someday I'll try it.  I sew rows of hexagons on the machine, then put them into blocks by hand, so it isn't too difficult.  I find English paper piecing to be too time consuming for me.

I don't think early quilters had access to many solids and prints so as to pair them up into matching colors.  The blocks I remember came later when we saved solids to go with prints left from making clothing.  Now it seems the more mismatched colors and prints can be, the better, making the blocks look like vintage ones.

These 30 blocks were given to me by the farmer's great aunt.  She had started piecing them on the machine and some seams were barely 1/8" wide, too small to hold securely, so I took them apart and sewed them back together by hand.  The white/beige fabric is unbleached domestic (what we call today, unbleached muslin) and somewhat stiff to work with; I sorta dread quilting it by hand.  I hope to get the blocks set together into a top this winter.

The blocks are joined with a rose colored broadcloth

I'm beginning to think that pressing these blocks, after being packed into a box for years, will be the most difficult thing about making the top.  I always try to press my blocks as I make each seam; things fit better and make for a neater top to put on the frames.  I sincerely believe a neat top, stretched correctly on the frames, makes a finished quilt more pleasing to the eyes.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Flower Garden Quilt

"Listen in on any group of ardent quilt fans and you will hear frequent mention of this most popular pattern of the day and it is not hard to see why."  Romance of the Patchwork Quilt ~ 1935 ~ by Carrie A. Hall and Rose G Kretsinger.

After Mama retired from her town job, she devoted her "spare" time to quilting.  Of course she had made bed quilts most of her life, but first farm work, then town work, took away time from her quilting projects.  Her work was nicely done and soon there were women who wanted one of her quilts.  She began keeping a little notebook,  telling where the quilts went and how much they sold for.
The records started in 1980 and ended in 1987, a short time before her death.  By reading this page, you can see how little money she received for her work.  For instance, the quilt called Joseph's Coat, was sold for $250.00; it's one of the most difficult patterns to piece, and she did it all by hand.  Baby quilts were sold for $35-$50.  The total for this page is $1360.00; one would do well to buy one large quilt for this amount today.

At the time of her death, there were enough quilts in the closet for Daddy, my sister and me, and the six grandchildren to each have a finished quilt.  We numbered the quilts, then drew for them.  The Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt was chosen by Daddy before we drew.

 Now for the story of how the flower garden quilt came to be with me:

Daddy lived alone for about nine years before he remarried.  She was only four years older than me and four years younger than my sister, very outspoken and opinionated, so totally different than Mama.  We came to the conclusion that he married her because she told him she would take care of him so he would never have to go into a nursing home, and she thought he had money to take care of her.  (As it turned out, they both had to go into the nursing home, so the money soon was gone, and she passed away before he did.) Money issues did come up and he demanded that we bring the keys to his safe deposit box back to him.  We begged and pleaded for him not to do anything foolish, and that what money he had was there to take care of him later, but through her influence, he refused to listen.  Finally I gave in and let him have the key I had, but I told him there was one thing I wanted: the flower garden quilt.  He said "no I might need it".  Of course, the wife was in a huff by now too, so we left.  We talked a while outside, and then I said, "I'm going back in to get the quilt."  She hadn't locked the door yet, so we went in and I told her I had come back for the quilt.  She asked Daddy, and he said o.k. so she went to the closet and got it for me.  I've told my sister, she or one of her children,  can have the quilt; I don't need it, I just didn't want it to go to one of the "wife's" children and let who knows what happen to it.  So, it's still here; I don't use it, but it's a part of my mama with me.

For the most part, I'm not confrontational, but now and then I won't be stepped on. lol