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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Crafty Quilter's closet...Great grandmother's quilt...

Look at this amazing quilt Kristen from The Crafty Quilter's Closet sent to us?  It was made by her great Grandmother. How lucky she was to end up with it. I am always amazed with the beautiful time consuming quilts our Grandmother's made. Such detail and patience, I don't think I could have been a quilter back then! Thanks Kristen. Check out Kristen's cute blog, and she has a fun tutorial link here.

When someone finds out I quilt, I am always amazed at the shocked look that cross their face.  It is as if a quilter can be nothing more than a wrinkled old grandmother who sits wrapped in her shawl quilting...when she is not napping in front of re-runds of Matlock.  Their responses, while slightly delayed, are predictable, and I have heard them many, many times.  I get the, "Oh, I wish I could do that!" or "I've always wanted to learn."  My favorite has to be the "How nice for you",  which implies it's not nice for them.  What I love to hear is "My Grandmother used to quilt" which is quickly followed by "BUT she did it all by hand."  As if somehow I am cheating by using a machine.  I have done my share of hand quilting, a very small share.  I'll admit hand quilting is an art form, not one for the faint of heart or those afraid of a little blood.

Truthfully, many quilters are fortunate and do learn to quilt at their mother or Grandmother's knee.  I was not one of these fortunate quilters.  As far as I knew, no one genetically linked to me quilted at all.  And then I received this.

This quilt was Quilted by my Great-Grandmother. Inez Irick Huber.  Sadly there is no label stating when or where. (Label Your Quilts Ladies!)

I find this quilt an amazing work of art and patience.  Inez was the mother of 5 boys.  As the mother of 3 children, only 2 of whom are boys, I can see why she might have needed an outlet.  I never had the opportunity to meet her since she passed away before I was born.  When people speak of Inez it is always with strong words.  She was a small person with a defiant personality who was the driving force of her family.  (Perhaps we have more in common than just our quilting.)

Inez age 16

As I admired this hand quilted beauty with it's perfectly spaced quilting, something I assure you I never will aspire to, I realized not only was it hand quilted by it was also hand pieced!  I can only imagine the number of hours put into this quilt.  These were hours away from husband and boys, peaceful hours perhaps with friends or family, hours doing something you enjoyed with people you love.  These too are things Inez and I have in common.

Although, I have not been able to put a name to this pattern, it contains elements of Irish Crosses, Ocean Waves and Tree of Life.  In case you wondered, I know I did, this quilt contains 7,128 triangles or 3,564 hand pieced 1/2 square triangles, just over 3,560 more than I care to ever hand piece.  I have no idea when it was constructed and can only assume that since Inez was born in 1884 is was sometime after that. (and of course before she died.)

This quilt is in remarkably good condition and has only two small tears.  Before being passed down to me it hung in my Aunts farm house for years.  Now that it is down it seems to be saying, "Just let me rest awhile."  And I plan to let it do just that, AFTER a nice relaxing bath, for the quilt not for me.

Despite the fact that I am saddened by the lack of information about this quilt, I am quite happy it has found its way into my home.   I feel grateful that through this beautiful family heirloom I have found a connection to quilting and family I never new existed.  Perhaps with luck, I will be able to pass this quilt down to my daughter someday and continue the legacy of quilting that Inez started.  



Thearica said...

Isn't it awesome to receive such a treasure!!

Lovely quilt and story!

free indeed said...

Oh that is a lovely quilt! I too have one from my grandmother whom I really never knew. Great post!

the gathering girls said...

That is a wonderful story and quilt!

pamela said...

How uber cool is that!!! Love, love that this quilt got given to you...and the quilt is pretty darn special too..

Karee said...

What a treasure! So it IS in your genes. Thank you for sharing your legacy. Perhaps we are creating our grandchildren's legacy right now?

Jennifer said...

What an amazing quilt! I'm so glad that it has made it's way to you, a quilter, where it will be treasured. Your great grandmother sounds like she was a special person for sure!

Jennifer :)

Belinda said...

What a beautiful quilt and story! You are so blessed to have it.

Javorkowo Aga Jaw said...

beautiful !!!!!

Charity said...

So glad that this quilt made it to you vs. all the other places that quilts end up. May it now be treasured for many years to follow.

Karen said...

What a beautiful piece of history! Now you know where your quilting gene comes from. Thanks for sharing. :>)

Tatkis said...

Such an interesting story and beautiful quilt, it should be a family treasure! Thank you for sharing!

Best wishes,

Laurie in Maine said...

I have my grandmother's wedding quilt - handmade for her by her Aunt Izzy. My aunt had possession of it and I jokingly told her I was going fight her daughter for it. Aunt Vena gave to me shortly before a sudden heart attack took her from us.
As to the "except she made it all by hand" remark... I love the story of how my grandparents moved down from Canada to Maine with her treadle sewing machine strapped to the roof of the car. Many grandmas couldn't go modern fast enough once by-hand was not the only option!