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"Piece" of family history

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nitchals posted on Sat, Apr 30 2011 5:44 PM

I am going to be an Auntie!  My sister and I have been talking about quilt options for the baby and she pulled out the baby quilt our mother made for her when she was born.  It is rather tattered but still a very important piece of her life (we joke that she may be buried with it).  I hadn't gazed upon it for years, and now that I have been quilting for a while I thought it would be interesting to see the techniques used.  Immediately I noticed that it was part mom and part something else... couldn't put my finger on it but the grandmothers garden blocks didn't match the baby quilt fabric backround.  So I asked mom about it on Easter and found out that my Great-Grandmother had pieced the "Grandmother's Garden" and "Star" fabric (in the 1930's or early 40's).  After Great Grandma passed, my mom was given the blocks.  Then my mother had appliqued them onto the baby fabric for my sister.  And then mom dropped the bomb... there were several more of these pieced blocks in storage somewhere.  My jaw dropped. 

So, mom found the blocks and gave them to me.  I feel the urge to clean them (they are musty and a little stained).  I'd love to put some of them in quilt in an appliqued fashion for my new neice or nephew.  There are several blocks - enough to make the baby a quilt and plenty more.  What is the "right" thing to do here? 

 

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Verified by nitchals

Hi Nitchals,

Welcome!  OMG, I love the Grandmother's garden block and the Grandmother's Stars.  You can get the gentle quilt soaps at your local quilt shop. They also have the products that keep them from fading.  If the fabric and stitching is still strong, buy a qualtiy batting like Quilter's Dream and high quality fabrics for the backing and the setting of the blocks.  Look on the package that the batting comes in and there is a "maximum stitching width listed". You really want to quilt in a small pattern so that it will reinforce the older fabrics to the new ones.  They have a lot of reproduction prints from the '30s and '40s, you should be be able to match your blocks.

I recently had the honor to complete and quilt a Grandmother's Garden quilt that was started in 1937. It's history was similar to yours. It was a thrill to be working on something that was so important to my client!

Judylee

 

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UPDATE: Exciting News - my nephew was born on December 25, 2012.  It was such a miracle to have him born after losing his brother way to early.  I used the blocks from my great-grandmother into a quilt for my new nephew.  Quite the generational quilt as my Great Grandmother made the blocks, my Grandmother inspired me to create the pinwheel blocks (she would buy us grandkids pinwheels for a fun day playing in her backyard).  My mother stored the blocks for many years and had used some to make my sister's baby quilt.  My sister loved on her special quilt made by my mom and vow's to be buried with it.  And now little Landon gets to start his story with his piece of this family history.  Such a labor of love.

Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement on this journey.

Here is the quilt for my nephew.  The original blocks are in the center with reproduction prints used in the pinwheel border.  I hand embroidered his name and birth date and then heavily quilted (free motion on my domestic machine) to give it lots of texture.

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Verified by nitchals

Hi Nitchals,

Welcome!  OMG, I love the Grandmother's garden block and the Grandmother's Stars.  You can get the gentle quilt soaps at your local quilt shop. They also have the products that keep them from fading.  If the fabric and stitching is still strong, buy a qualtiy batting like Quilter's Dream and high quality fabrics for the backing and the setting of the blocks.  Look on the package that the batting comes in and there is a "maximum stitching width listed". You really want to quilt in a small pattern so that it will reinforce the older fabrics to the new ones.  They have a lot of reproduction prints from the '30s and '40s, you should be be able to match your blocks.

I recently had the honor to complete and quilt a Grandmother's Garden quilt that was started in 1937. It's history was similar to yours. It was a thrill to be working on something that was so important to my client!

Judylee

 

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nitchals:

I am going to be an Auntie!  My sister and I have been talking about quilt options for the baby and she pulled out the baby quilt our mother made for her when she was born.  It is rather tattered but still a very important piece of her life (we joke that she may be buried with it).  I hadn't gazed upon it for years, and now that I have been quilting for a while I thought it would be interesting to see the techniques used.  Immediately I noticed that it was part mom and part something else... couldn't put my finger on it but the grandmothers garden blocks didn't match the baby quilt fabric backround.  So I asked mom about it on Easter and found out that my Great-Grandmother had pieced the "Grandmother's Garden" and "Star" fabric (in the 1930's or early 40's).  After Great Grandma passed, my mom was given the blocks.  Then my mother had appliqued them onto the baby fabric for my sister.  And then mom dropped the bomb... there were several more of these pieced blocks in storage somewhere.  My jaw dropped. 

So, mom found the blocks and gave them to me.  I feel the urge to clean them (they are musty and a little stained).  I'd love to put some of them in quilt in an appliqued fashion for my new neice or nephew.  There are several blocks - enough to make the baby a quilt and plenty more.  What is the "right" thing to do here? 

 

 

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Hello Auntie nitchais......

What a heart warming post ! Love the blocks and choice of fabrics, more importantly the history behind them. Lucky sisters.....lucky baby!

All the best...GloryB I(formerly Gloriosky)

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How lucky you are , to find these blocks .... I'll be happy to see your baby quilt !!!

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Thanks Judy Lee!  I went to a LQS today and they knew the quilt soap to use but they didn't have any on hand today - so they took my info and they will call soon when it's in.  Also found some great fabrics there to compliment the blocks.  I really appreciate the help and suggestions, felt a bit lost on this one.  Thank you for your very helpful suggestions - feel like I have a plan now.

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Dawn replied on Sun, May 1 2011 4:43 PM

Congrats on being an Aunt!  The blocks look awesome!  Such a treasure!  Can't wait to see the quilt!

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Answered (Not Verified) gini replied on Sun, May 1 2011 5:34 PM
Suggested by Johnya

make sure you gently hand wash them, if you wash them before putting them in a quilt.  their edges might ravel a lot.   these quilts traditionally had a light weight batt.   you can make your own by separating the layers of a regular batt.  only the  bonded side will be useable, but you can use the left over side for stuffing.   if you want to help support the blocks you could stitch them to a muslin foundation first and let the muslin bear the wear of the quilt    gini

gini in north idaho

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nitchals replied on Thu, May 12 2011 12:29 PM

The blocks are clean!  The special soak arrived and I used a bathtub to soak them all and then dried them by rolling them in a towel and laying them out flat to finish drying.  They look and smell so much better.  Now for the design task...

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Eileen replied on Thu, May 12 2011 12:45 PM

What a wonderful find and gift! You have one lucky niece or nephew on the way :-) 

Have you thought about the design for the quilt?  If you want the found blocks to be the "star of the show," you could simply applique them as-is to slightly larger squares or rectangles of a solid colored fabric & then sew those blocks together.  Just my two cents - I bet whatever you decide on will be wonderful and cherished.

One special thing you can do is to write up a history on the blocks (and their maker) and the quilt you make so the quilt's history is always with it.

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Funny you should suggest that - that is exactly what my mom did for my sister's baby quilt.  She appliqued them onto baby pink and blue fabric in a 3 x 4 square pattern.  I am still playing with them on my design wall but I am toying with the idea of a tight applique placement of 5 stars in the center flanked by 4 grandmother’s garden in the corners on rectangles.  I would still have a number of pieces left... maybe a second quilt top.  It certainly would be easiest to do what mom did - hummmm.

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mars92 replied on Thu, May 12 2011 5:22 PM

Nitchals,

Congrats on becoming an Auntie!  And what beautiful pieces of quilt blocks to have discovered from your family.  Lucky you to get to work with them to create a quilt.  Now another piece of "family history" for the newest addition to the family tree.  Whatever you decide to do I know it will be beautiful! I can't wait to see your baby quilt.  Have fun!

Marlene

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Robin replied on Thu, May 12 2011 8:48 PM

What an amazing piece of family heritage, what a blessing for this unborn child.   I agree with whoever said to include the history on the quilt on the label.  Children need to understand the relationships they have with pass family members.

Robin

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This is so exciting. If it is difficult to put all the pieces into one quilt, you might put some in one quilt and some in another. Perhaps there will be more nephews or nieces or children of your own in the future and you could spread the treasure. I can't get a strong idea of the size of these blocks.

Janice 

 

Bible Quilts, www.biblequilts.com

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