Apr 18, 2012

Old Family Quilts

I just love old quilts. Wouldn't it be wonderful to snuggle up under an old quilt with a cup of tea and listen to all the great stories it could tell you? When I see a quilt in a museum or antique shop I wonder so many things about it. Who made you? Where did your fabrics come from? Were they left-over scraps from dresses and shirts or where they purchased just for you? Where have you traveled? How did you get to this place in your life?

I am fortunate enough to have several old family quilts. When I was growing up my brother and I each had a quilt that my paternal grandmother had made. Years later, after she died, I was lucky enough to be the recipient of 4 more of her quilts. They were all made in the 1930s and 40's-making them about 70 or 80 years old now.

Now, I know that lots of people would take these quilts and pack them in acid free tissue paper and store them away from light in a box in a closet. But, I want them to be seen, and loved, and appreciated. 

Three of these quilts adorn beds in our home. I have three twin beds in one of our bedrooms and I have decorated this room for our granddaughters. (We have two daughters  who have each given us three granddaughters-for a grand total of 6 girls, 0 boys!) When our granddaughters stay with us they are sleeping and dreaming under quilts that their great-great grandmother made! I think she would be so happy to know that.

The three beds adorned with quilts.

A close up of the quilt on the far left-the 
flowers and leaves are applique and the stems
are embroidered. You can also see the feather 
wreaths that are quilted in the alternating blocks.

A Dresden plate on the middle quilt. All of the
applique and quilting is done by hand.

Butterfly detail on the right quilt. The butterfly
bodies and wing details are hand embroidered.

The scallop border

I would love to know why my grandmother bought so much of this yellow fabric. All three quilts have the same yellow and muslin scalloped border. The flower quilt also uses it in the alternating blocks and two of the quilts are backed in the yellow fabric. I am glad that the three quilts are so different, yet go so well together in this room.

I have two more quilts that my grandmother made and five other old quilts that I have purchased, or have been given to me. There is just something about these quilts, and their untold stories, that intrigues me. I am adding labels to all of them, with all the information that I have about them. I also talk to my family about them, so long after I am gone, these quilt stories will live on. 


  1. I just love your quilts. I think it is great that you have them on the beds for your grand-daughters. Much better than having them packed away; where no one could see them and appreciate them. I know that I would want to peek into the room often to enjoy seeing them and to touch them and feel all the love put into all those stitches!

    1. Thank you, PPQ. I do love peeking into the room! I am hoping to give my granddaughters an appreciation of quilting and of genealogy.