Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Mamaw's Quilt

Mamaw was my husband's paternal grandmother. She was quite a lady, born and raised in the hills of Kentucky, hardly any education, but tough as can be and extremely hard working. She passed away in 1988, two weeks before our second child was born.

Someone in the family saved her last quilt project. They thought they'd finish it, and after a while realized they wouldn't, and eventually I ended up with it. It's been sitting in my quilting room for a couple years now, out of sight, and low on my priority list. I've decided this year is the year I'd like to finish those UFO's that were not mine, so out this project came. Finishing old projects reminds me how blessed we are to be modern quilters.

I never use fabric foundation squares, but I have a couple projects from older people who did use them, and this is one of those. The fabric square feels like a really thick cotton muslin, and check out the flat felled seam! No waste here! most of the edges of the squares are ripped, but some were cut with scissors.

Here are some of the strips included with the project. They are poly/cotton blends, and I'm pretty certain both of these fabrics were curtains, as there were hems attached. Again, these were ripped into strips, which was really a problem with the floral, since after ripping the fabric wouldn't lie flat. I don't know how Mamaw dealt with that, but I ended up using a rotary cutter to cut the ripped edge off.

Here are a couple of Mamaw's blocks before I trimmed them. If you look along the bottom edge, you can see how different the sizes were. I had everything from scant 10.5" blocks to 11.5" blocks. I found a few spots where she had traced something with an ink pen, and attempted to cut on the line. I'll stick to my rotary cutter and quilting rulers!

She had trimmed her blocks up with scissors, but scissors aren't as accurate as what we have available today. I lined the corners of this block up with a ruler, so you can see how much easier we've got it. Hold the ruler, and with one slice of a rotary cutter we've got a straight cut in seconds. I wonder what Mamaw would have thought of today's tools. Mamaw had made 17 blocks, and I made an additional 31, for a total of 48. I set them 6x8. I trimmed all the blocks to 10.5", so the top finishes at 60x80 inches. I'm thinking she used stuff around the house to determine her strip sizes, because they were really odd measurements. Her seam allowance was variable, but not a 1/4" seam to be found. I am not used to piecing blocks with a foundation fabric, and when I make string blocks, most of my strips are about an inch wide, not wide like these. Between my being a little lost, and her measurements being creative, the design doesn't meet up quite right, but I think the end result is probably close to her intention. I don't intend to add a border, just quilt it and bind it as is.

When I was given the project, I was also given fabric for the backing. If you guessed it is a poly/cotton too, you'd be right! My goal is to get the quilt finished before the family reunion in June. I'll be giving it back to the person who sent it to me, and what they do with it is up to them.

So, that's what I've been working on. I wouldn't have chosen poly/cottons to use, I wouldn't have constructed the quilt that way, but that's not really the point. This is Mamaw's quilt, and even if I'm finishing it, it will always be her quilt.

Completely off topic, we bought a new play set for the twins, and they are loving it!


Looks like fun, doesn't it?

1 comment:

Katie M. said...

How very special that you're able to complete a quilt from a special person. Not to mention when you think about it, the quilt was started in another century! And, yes, I think the twins are having a blast - oh to be young again....