December 27, 2013

Sewing with the Ancestors

For the last few months I have been spending a lot of time with musty old photos and ancestry websites creating family trees and memories. 
TIP: To help out all future generations put names on your photos, both digital and print. I have piles of unidentified people and at my advanced age I have no elder around to give me any hint about them. I didn't even know the pictures existed until quite recently. 

 This is a quilt made by my great-grandmother, probably around 1900. It was said that she purchased the fabric especially for the quilt instead of using the usual fabric scraps and old clothing that was a common source at the time. This was her masterpiece.
Although I would have to say that the color choices would never have been mine, it is quite effective.

This is my great-grandmother on my mother's side of the family. They seemed to be the quilters in my ancestry although since I didn't know my Dad's side so well, they too were probably wielding the needle, too. It was pretty much expected that girls would sew. My grandmother on my Dad's side is the source of my favorite heirloom. See it in this previous post.

Great- Granny must have made a small error in calculation when buying her fabric because there are a few pieces that are not the same shade of green. I wonder if she agonized over it or subscribed to the Amish theory that only God could create perfection and so they always left something amiss. She was German-Catholic so I suspect her attitude was a bit stricter. But, I never knew her and it is only approaching my seventh decade that I have become curious about these people that preceded me.

Years ago I was really into quilting when I did it all by hand like this quilt. However, I never completed a full size quilt. ADHD, I suspect.

My hand quilting was never the quality of this. My grandmother could stitch with the best. Her mother must have taught her. Her quilts were all kit quilts, however and I don't have a single one of them. They were used and washed and worn out and not kept as well as this one.

Grandma Lizzie

This quilt has never been washed as far as I know. It has a few dark spots on it, but in great shape for being over 100 years old. In all of the books on quilting and patterns I have seen over the years I have never encountered this same motif. I guess you would call it a pineapple. I tried to duplicate it once and it was a complete failure.

Has anyone ever seen this design  before? Please comment and let me know.

Just for fun, I am adding a few of these great old photos I found. These are well-dressed unidentified ladies.

1 comment:

  1. You know -- I can see the resemblance to you -- physically I mean, not just the quilting. I think her design is dynamic and very folk arty. I also am impresesed with the amount of stitching and how tiny each stitch is. This is quite a treasure.