Friday, March 11, 2011

Furnishing Friday: Wedding Quilts

I referenced this topic last week, when I discovered Thursday evening that my grandmother H. would need to see pictures of the quilts she gave me to be able to talk about them.  I sent pictures of both the Wedding Quilt and the No-Wedding Quilt to my parents, along with a list of questions.  I'll do my best to match the answers to the format we've established for Furnishing Fridays!

Item: No-Wedding Quilt
Who Purchased: Grandmother H. pieced this quilt and was machine quilted by a woman in the county.
Year Purchased/Received: The quilt was made sometime around 2000.

Description: Grandma pieced this quilt based on the pattern of a quilt used to dress her cousin Hettie’s casket. The pattern has two parts—the first is a pieced butterfly that she then appliqu├ęd onto the squares; the second is a hand embroidered piece of flowers and butterflies. The primary colors in the quilt are white, black, and yellow. The embroidered flowers are purple.

How it came to the MP: This is sort of a funny story. My grandmother quilted a lot, and I used the quilt she made when I was a little girl for years. At some point, she started stock-piling quilts to give to her grandchildren when they married (there are eleven of us total, so she was wise to stock up). Most of my cousins (and my siblings) married right after college (or earlier), but I bucked that trend. One year in grad school, with no serious prospects on the horizon, I asked Grandma if I really had to be married to receive my wedding quilt. Of course, she said yes. Then, that Christmas, I received a big box from her. The card on top indicated that perhaps I would appreciate a ‘no wedding’ quilt, instead. Aside from the public declaration of my being an old-maid (I was nearly 24 at the time), I was thrilled that I wouldn’t have to wait to appreciate this special gift from my grandmother.

Item: Wedding Quilt
Who Purchased: My great-grandmother C. pieced this quilt; my grandmother H. hand quilted it.
Year Purchased/Received: The quilt top was piece in 1945; my grandmother told me that she thought she quilted it soon after she retired (so 1984 or 1985), but my dad reports that it was quilted in 1995. I’m still sorting that out.

Description: The quilt top has a lavender background with what my grandmother called a pinwheel pattern. I think it looks a little more like a flower, and would love for the quilters out there to comment on that.
Markings: This quilt has the best markings—on the back side of the quilt, my grandmother sewed on a fabric swatch with my great-grandmother’s name and the year she pieced the top. Grandma also added a tag with her own name to indicate that she had hand-quilted the quilt.

How it came to the MP: Well, I was fairly certain that I had received my only quilt when I received my no-wedding quilt. Then, the night before my wedding (maybe two nights before…I’m not certain anymore), my grandmother came down to my parents’ house with a package. Inside was this quilt, which became my wedding quilt.

I also wanted to share this additional part of the story that my dad shared:

“In general, I might add that your grandmother learned to quilt from her mother, in the 1930s, and she did some when I was little (early 50s), but pretty much quit, after she went to work full-time, teaching. Even though she was working full-time, she pieced one for every grandkid ("kids's quilts", she says, a little disparagingly, as if they hadn't meant much to all of y'all!). Then, after she retired, she really got back into it and pieced and quilted many quilts. As you know, every grandkid who got married got one, and I suspect she still has enough put away to take care of the rest. She won't say, one way or the other.

BTW: I have a quilt top that was pieced by MY great-grandmother as a baby gift to me; That's the grandmother of your grandmother. One suspects it ran in the family, huh?”

As long as I'm not supposed to pick up this hobby, too, right?


Kris Pickard said...

I will share this with Grandma Mary as well:

The "kids' quilts" meant more than she knows. When I married Josh, he was still sleeping with his! When we received Alex's, it was the same pattern as Josh's - which made it even more special (cowboys). Both Matt and Alex have their quilts on their beds right now, and our wedding quilt is also on our bed.

Quilting has fallen out of tradition in modern generations - which is very sad to me. It is something so special that can be handed down and cherished for generations to come. I'm so thankful for your family's tradition: it has been used not only as a way to "gift", but a symbol of a sort of acceptance to the family. I love these quilts.

JE Melton said...

Oh Kris, that is SO cool! Mine was little girls with sunbonnets. I don't remember what Ty and CL had, but I know that CL's was still on his bed until mom turned it into a full-size bed a few years ago. I love that Josh's and Alex's are the same pattern--such a happy coincidence, I'm sure!

Candace said...

If you are intrigued by quilting and want to start learning, there are two roads together. What is considered 'traditional' and what is considered 'modern'. I float between the two quite frequently. I will warn you it is a bit addicting.

I'm willing to help you get started by pointing you in the right direction. Oh and if you are in western kentucky in the near future, my parent live in Murray and my mum would be more than happy to help you get started.

And if you are wondering how I learned -- my momma taught me. I'm pretty sure that her grandmother taught her. Go check out my blog, I have a pretty cool picture of quilts from most of the quilters in my family.