Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Grandma's Quilt

A few years ago after my aunts had cleaned out my grandma's house I was gifted with a quilt top that was purple and brown.  It was a quilt my grandma had put together that I carefully put away for a day I'd have time to quilt it.  My aunt took this quilt top and had given it to me a few years ago asking me to do the same.  I procrastinated and forgot about it - but after seeing her at a shower a few months back I made a goal to make sure I had it done before I saw her again in July.

I put the quilt on the frames to get started and knew right away there were be issues with tucking as no squares are square and the fabric is polyester with so much stretch.  Still I could feel my grandma standing over my shoulder looking on as I began this journey.  The quilt smelled like her.

I wanted to do something fun and special for this quilt.  The big white squares were to big for an overall pattern.  I had wanted to do cross hatching through the chains, but felt with the tucks and the size of the squares that might not look the best, so I went with an overall stipple through the chain and a flower for the big white blocks.  How much fun was it that my Grandma sewed the top and I was making the back, quilting it and binding it.  A quilt we would both work on together.

In the borders I went with a flower in the inner border with a leaf vine on the outside borders.  I also decided I will never put three borders that are the same width on a quilt!

As I quilted I thought so much about my Grandma.  How she touched all of these squares with her hands.  How she cut each one out individually.  I can't even imagine how they must have loved to quilt back then to do such tedious work.

While working on this quilt (which may be the biggest quilt I've done to date) I wondered if my Grandma would love that I was into quilted.  She would love my stash of fabric, as she too stashed her fabric.  Much more of a stash then she actually sewed.  I wondered how she would have interacted with my kids and how much they would have loved her.  My Grandma was magical.  She told storied (often on repeat).  She was so kind and loving to all her grandkids, we were all certain we were her favorite.  We had sleepovers when I was younger and we would string beads for necklaces and bracelets while watching Falcon Crest.  After my grandpa died and I was a little older, I'd go over each November and we'd put her Christmas tree up.  I would usually stay the night and we would go get KFC chicken which she would put her chicken in a layer of a napkin to squeeze out the grease which would make it ok for her to eat. She was a funny little lady with a twinkle in her eye.

I felt so excited to complete the quilt.  Loved the memories I had while quilting it up.  An appreciation for quilters of old.  We went to a 24th of July party that we have every year my whole life growing up. My Grandpa's birthday was the 25th, so we always got together to celebrate the day before (because it is a holiday here and fireworks are a big deal).  This year my Grandpa would have been 100, so we were having a little celebration for him.  I thought it was a perfect time to present the quilt to my aunt.  Before she opened the bag, I started telling her how much fun this quilt was to quilt because I felt so close to Grandma.  She said "Grandma didn't make this... Aunt Lavien did"  ARE YOU KIDDING ME....this ruined my whole experience!  An aunt had made these for my grandma who had never hand quilted them.  So not the same thing I had imagine all this time in my head! I can't believe my whole experience with this quilt was a lie.  But it was fun to quilt, and fun to spend the day with thoughts of my grandma.  And coming from her house, it did smell just like her.  Needless to say, I won't be pulling out my brown and purple quilt anytime soon.

Linking up to WIP Wednesdays!


whit said...

oh my heck..i left right before you gave her the quilt and had no idea!!! Oh my sad and funny story. Glad you got it done though..oh my heck

Kim said...

Oh well you still spent some time thinking about your Grandma.
Now I am curious,why wouldn't you put three borders on the same size. when I saw this quilt over at WIP Wed. those borders are what drew my eye to the quilt.

Happy Sewing, your Grandma would be proud :0)

LynCC said...

What a neat project, to get to finish your grandmother's UFO. You did a lovely quilting job on it - the flowers in the white centers are perfect. :)