Monday, June 2, 2008

"I Remember Laura" - Quilts


"Laura brought her Dove-in-the-Window quilt that she had pieced as a little girl while Mary pieced a nine-patch. It had been kept carefully all the years since then." --These Happy Golden Years

I grew up with quilts. Not necessarily the lovely works of art that you see at fairs and exhibits these days, but practical, made-from-leftover-fabric-scraps, use-every-day quilts. Since the theme this week for the "I Remember Laura" blog-a-thon is quilts, I wanted to show you some of the quilts I have that have special memories for me.

This first quilt was made for me by one of my great-grandmothers. "Mother Shumaker" was my mother's maternal grandmother. She loved to make things for all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and sent us little hand-made Christmas gifts every year... perhaps an apron or a pot-holder or a handkerchief. Then one year she made quilt tops for my siblings and me. This was in the 1970s when double-knit polyester was the fabric of choice... so my quilt is "nice" and heavy. Not exactly what you're looking for in a "vintage" quilt, but at least the pattern and colors are pretty, and I treasure it because Mother Shumaker made it for me.

This is a picture of my bedroom, circa 1979, right after my quilt was finished. Here is a picture of the same quilt that I just took this week. It has been retired from use, as the seams are coming apart. (I am persuaded that the fabric will last forever!) I do intend to repair it, but haven't gotten around to it yet.
Does anyone know what the name of this pattern is? As far as I know, it's just a Six Point Star.

I have another special polyester double-knit quilt, too! This one makes no claims whatsoever to being pretty. When I was in high school my mother's paternal grandmother came and stayed with us for several weeks. "Granny" was in her 90s by then and blind. She could still piece quilts, but only simple squares and someone else had to cut the blocks and arrange the colors for her. Oh, and thread her needles! She also worked best with heavy fabrics, so even though polyester was on it's way out by this time (early 1980s), Mother decided this would be the perfect use for her leftover sewing scraps. So we cut squares for Granny and thread needles by the dozen, and she stitched happily away while my siblings and I were in school. She made each of us a quilt top during that visit.
No. It's not beautiful. However, I have always enjoyed and appreciated it because of the memories and love stitched into it. I do still have it, and it has proved to be very warm and serviceable over the years, but I'll spare you having to look at it again by not posting a current picture! LOL!

Mother Shumaker passed away at age 90 when I was 16. It was the year before I graduated from high school and she was in the process of making a Friendship quilt for my graduation when she got sick. She had finished the blocks but hadn't set them together yet. Several years later my grandmother (Mother Shumaker's daughter) finished it. Rather than putting the names of my classmates on it, since it was several years after my graduation, we put the names of Grandmother's grandchildren on it. I've haven't stayed in touch with my classmates, but I do stay in touch with my cousins, so that makes it more meaningful to me. I had been married several years by the time I finally got this quilt, so it hasn't been used as much as some of the others.My favorite quilt pattern is the Wedding Ring, so that's what Grandmother made me for graduation. I loved this quilt and used it for a bedspread when I went away to college. It has been well-used over the years, and the fabric hasn't held up as well as the never-wear-out polyester, so this one has also been retired from use. I usually just keep it on my quilt rack to look at.Each of the quilts I've shown you so far were made for me. But the prettiest quilt I have actually doesn't have quite as much sentimental value as my other quilts. It's older and is made of the old flour sack vintage fabrics, which I love looking at. I "inherited" it after Lyle's grandpa died, but no one seems to know who made it. I thought perhaps Grandpa's wife (Lyle's step-grandma) made it, but no, they say she didn't make quilts. So my theory is that probably someone made it for her, or passed it on to her, when she was young. Maybe her mother, or a sister, or aunt?In any case, I think it's beautiful. Such exquisite stitching and in the Wedding Ring pattern that I love.

I have other quilts... even some I've made myself, but these are the ones I treasure the most.

20 comments:

Dori said...

That was fun! I have the quilt that Mother Shoemaker gave me but don't know where mine is that Granny made. By the time I graduated from high school (2 years after you did) I guess Grandmother was behind because I didn't get one from her. She did quilt the one that Mother Shoemaker made me though. I haven't dug it out in years...mine is the fan patern and is set in red (yes, double-knit!)

Ivory Spring said...

Such treasures they are, Karla! Thanks for sharing! :)

my little corner said...

I do like your friendship quilt Karla. Mine has butterflies or roses in the middle of the squares. Thank for sharing your quilts.

neleh

zetor said...

Your quilts are lovely. I do like double wedding ring.

pse said...

That was interesting. I hope someone can tell us the name of the six-point star. I haven't found it in any of my books. Dori's quilt that Granny made is in my basement still not quilted.
I finished Allen's last summer at his house. Maybe I should take Dori's to her house this summer. Think I would get it done then?

pse said...

That was interesting. I hope someone can tell us the name of the six-point star. I haven't found it in any of my books. Dori's quilt that Granny made is in my basement still not quilted.
I finished Allen's last summer at his house. Maybe I should take Dori's to her house this summer. Think I would get it done then?

Barbara H. said...

What a sweet collection!

I do remember the polyester knit days!! I am not surprised that some of that fabric made it into quilts -- and I agree, the fabric itself will probably last forever!

This blogathon is so fun! I had thought of taking up quilting years ago but never did -- this is making me think about it again!!

Adeline's Shabby Cottage said...

Karla I love your quilts!! I happen to LOVE the one with polyester. How sweet that you have that memory with your grandmother!!

:)Brittany

Muum said...

these are wonderful, with such great memories for you and your family. thanks for visiting my blog.

Carrie said...

Thank you for your interesting post. It was nice to read about your quilts and to know the pattern names.

Toots said...

very pretty, enjoyed the post!

ceekay said...

Karla, thank you for you sweet comments about our bedroom. Boy you have some beautiful quilts. I want to get in on the blog-a-thon...hoping this afternoon...Talk to you soon...

Counting Your Blessings said...

OH they're just lovely! How wonderful that you still have your first quilt. Blessings... Polly

Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

I so love quilts! My Mom was a quilter and belonged to the local quilt guild. I can't sew worht beans, but my mosaics to resemble china quilts....
Penny

Rose said...

Karla~I am so amazed at the detail you put into those quilts. They are really beautiful.What a precious memory you have with your grandmother.They must all be warm and cozy to get under in winter time.Blessings, Rose

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Of course I like your great grandmother's quilt the best. It is a precious story.

Farrah said...

Very enjoyable post, Karla! I don't have a single quilt -- not one! No one in my family makes them, so far as I know, but I can appreciate and understand their value to others. :-)

Denise said...

I would agree that the quilt you inherited is the most beautiful. Love the many tiny stitches in the quilting and the choice of pretty colors. Thank you for taking the time to share and have a blessed weekend!

Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

So much fun to see all of your quilts and to think that you have more! I always appreciate knowing the pattern so I'm learning more with every visit to those who have participated in "I Remember Laura."

My great-grandmother was the queen of truly hideous quilts. Most were made from old wool coats and they were so heavy that, as a child beneath them, I was quite certain I'd be discovered flattened like a pancake by morning. Oh well, I never froze to death!

Miss Sandy said...

Oh how I loved waling down memory lane with you as I watched your quilts taking shape under the loving hands of your ancestors. Your quilts are beautiful. I too am partial to those old polyester things as I own two of them myself and they were crafted by a beloved family member. Thank you for sharing your treasures.

Blessings,
Miss Sandy