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Do You Have an Heirloom Quilt From a Long-Gone Family Member?   Quilting Swaps - Unsewn

Started 3/23/21 by judyinohio; 3297 views.

Just love the applique quilt you showed! I am the first in my family to quilt. My parents immigrated to America in 1959 and all their relatives did other needlework which was stunning but I never got any. I do have a quilt top from DH aunt made of double knit and all sorts of other fabrics. I was given her stash after she passed because none of the cousins were quilters.

In reply toRe: msg 20

Here is one view of a quilt I inherited from my Mom after she inherited it from her Mom.  I have not looked up the name of the block yet.  It is roughly twin-sized, 8 blocks tall and 7 blocks wide, with an extra strip of about 6 inches of muslin added at the bottom.  Backing and background fabric is muslin, and the binding was done by wrapping the backing to the top side, and hand-stitching in place.  It's an autograph quilt, and the autographs have been embroidered - I presume over the original signatures.  There is a lot of fading, bleeding in some spots, and stains, and one or two blocks have serious damage to a certain fabric, which obviously did not wear as well as all the others.  The binding is in bad shape - the muslin is a bit coarse by modern standards.  I know that the quilt dates from 1938, but the only way I know that is because a couple of blocks have that year embroidered next to the autographs.  There are many names I do not recognize, but also many names of relatives I knew and a few ancestors I never met.  More research is called for!  I have photographed all of the blocks close-up, and I will post a few of them here in a little while. 

I have a few other quilts from each of my grandmothers, but I have no dates for them.   

In reply toRe: msg 33

Here are a few other photos of parts of the autograph quilt.  I'm still working on the photos of the autograph blocks.  These will show the overall condition of the quilt as it is currently.  I'm contemplating doing some minor repairs and then a label documenting its history.  I thought that my grandmother had a block in this quilt, but after photographing all of the autographs, I don't see her name in any of them.  That's likely because the quilt was made FOR her, but I have no idea if it was for any special occasion, or maybe the ladies just routinely made autograph quilts for each other.  

Of course, most of the individuals whose names are embroidered on the quilt have long since gone to Heaven, but there are the names of two cousins who are still living - Janice and Harley Mathews, brother and sister, who are both in their 80s now.  More on other family members later.

In reply toRe: msg 37

This is the only block without a signature.  


From: judyinohio


I love this quilt!!!!!!  There is so much sentiment stitched into it!!

May I venture a guess that the colored pieces represent hearts and so perhaps this quilt is meant to suggest that it is a going away gift for someone who is getting married and moving away? 

(Did my imagination just run away with me?)

Well, she never did "go away" from where she lived for many years, in southwestern Oklahoma.  She was born in North Texas in 1890, and I'm not sure when they moved to Oklahoma, but it was before 1930, because that is when my grandfather died at the age of about 38.  She was 2 years older than he was.  She was 22 when they married, and then after 18 years of marriage, she was widowed at about age 39, and became the sole support of 6 surviving children, the oldest born in 1913, and the youngest born in 1928.  She never remarried, and died in 1982 at age 92.  One baby boy born in December 1916 died in January 1917 - never named.  She refused to ever speak about it for the rest of her life, even to her other children.  Then another son was killed in an auto accident in 1935, when he was about 13.  She lived in the same house in Carter, Oklahoma for a LONG time.   

I don't know what the occasion was that they made this quilt for her in 1938 - by that time she had been a widow for several years, and her youngest child was 10 years old.  I would love to know more about it.  I sometimes ask my older cousin, but she knows less about it than I do.  However, she will probably know a lot of the other people whose names are on the quilt, as she lived in that same little town too for several years, and back then, in such a small town, everybody knew everybody.  I have a message in to her right now to see how many she remembers.