13 January 2015

My quilting heritage

While visiting my mom last month she gave me a quilt that my grandma wanted her to finish. It is a beautiful pattern and we looked online for it together since grandma is now gone. My mother didn't learn quilting for whatever reason. I think she wanted to do other things in life, but she finished up the pieces and fashioned a baby quilt for me. She didn't do any more quilting until we worked on a twin quilt when i was in high school. (I still have that quilt and I love it!)

These are the things that mean the world to me. Spending time with loved ones or doing the same patterns they once did makes me feel closer to them in a way. Mom told me stories about her mother(furthermore referred to as Grandma.) and her sisters. Grandma and her sisters had a quilting circle where they worked on quilts for each other and each others family members. Mostly using scraps and what ever they could find. 
I wish i had one of those quilts as well but they did not get to me for various reasons that I will not go into here. 

We found the pattern online and we did a practice square using cotton sheets from a local thrift store. Well, it looked so nice that we started working on another. We have now made 3 squares, all by hand as it is much easier to do this pattern by hand.  I am going to begin working on the rest of the squares when i get back to MN to make a complete quilt. It is called cathedral windows and it is lovely. Here is the modified quilt that my Mother made from what Grandma gave her to finish. These fabrics are all old flour sacks. They are soft and equally beautiful.

 This is the baby quilt. Mom added pieces inside the circle because she didn't like how they looked. I think it makes it look original. You can still see the circle if you look real closely.
I also like the one square of the yellow and flowers. It's the only one like it for some reason and makes it look unique among the rest.  Mom said that she didn't know about how to make the pattern by alternating colors so it'a random. I like it still. It means a lot to me that Grandma and Mom made a quilt together (as much as possible) and it ended up being for me. Even though Mom said Grandma gave her the stuff to finish it when she was 16, way before I was born.

So we got together and decided to work on seeing if we could make the pattern that Grandma had made.
Here is our result. I think it turned out looking good. I still have a lot of work to do on it, but for now I am pleased with it. The time I spent with Mom working on it means all the more to me. Years from now when I look at the finished quilt I will think about my heritage of quilting that Grandma passed on to Mom and then to me.

Here is us ironing the squares down. They all have to be ironed 1/4 on each side and then from one corner to another and then the others so it is a triangle shape. do I look like my Mom?

 Here you can see our work space. Mom doesn't sew a lot so we used the dining room table for cutting and ironing and since we were hand sewing we just sat there and visited as we stitched.

This is what I mean when I say from one corner to the other. Longways fold so you have a triangle.         Then you do the other corners so that when you unfold it you have an X on the square.  

 Then you fold them into each other.  The picture on the right is one completed square before it is attached to another completed square. I put the pink square there and pinned it to give you an idea of how this goes together. The trick with the points in the middle is to get the folded square stitched to each corner and tacked down loosely enough to fold for the next step, but tight enough to hold it down. It took us a few squares of doing it before we got it right so don't worry if you struggle with this part.

 You start with 9" squares and get a 4" square. You sew 4 of them together and then you can add the color to it. We used pink. I've seen some that have pattern on the part we made white, but white is traditional. Plus, it's easier to find at a thrift shop. The pink squares are 4" squares inside the white parts.
There are better tutorials online. I'm doing a quick overview because this is about family heritage. Not necessarily the quilt pattern.

Here is my Mom sewing the smaller white squares together.

Can you see how it is coming together? This was our first one. Mom said she always wanted to do this pattern the way it was intended and this helped answer some questions she had about it. How amazing this is going to look on a bed as a whole quilt when it is finished!

 This is 1/4 of a finished square. It's looking good! The right top part you can see the circle starting to emerge. This will be all around the square or diamond (depending on how you look at it.) and make it look like a cathedral window popping out. After 4 of these squares are finished, they will also be sewn together and another empty space like where the pink is will emerge. I am going to put gray inside those squares. So it will be a square of pink and then a square of gray over and over. I'm hoping that the pattern will look good this way. Or do you think I should use all pink?

Our First 'Cathedral Windows' Block

One completed square measures 8" and this is our first one. Many more to go until it is finished. I'm thinking about putting a border of pink or gray around the outside and then bind it in the other color or maybe white. We'll see. I'm also contemplating doing the whole thing by hand. I'm already sticking by hand, the quilting I haven't decided on a pattern yet, but a had quilted top will take a lot of time to do. Maybe I'll update this in another year or 2. 

What is your family's heritage? 

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