Friday, March 14, 2014

Grandma Mc's Quilts

At our guild meeting the other night, Laura Pedge spoke about Antique Quilts and shared several examples that she has collected over the years.  Besides being a designer of wool appliqué patterns, Laura also does quilt restoration and is a certified quilt appraiser.  She is very knowledgable when it comes to dating quilts and fabric.  Her lecture was fascinating.
With the theme of the program in mind, I decided to bring two quilts of mine, that were made by my Grandma Mc, for show and tell.  I choose to not call these "antique" quilts because they are only about as old as me!
 My Grandma Mc (her last name was McPherson, but we all called her Grandma Mc) was my mother's, mother's mother.  We have a four generation picture of me, with all of them and we are all the oldest daughters and in their case, the oldest child in the family.  We almost got a five generation picture of oldest daughters. Grandma Mc passed away three weeks to the day after my oldest child/daughter was born.  We were living four states away at the time so did not make it in time for a visit before she passed.  My husband's friend had encouraged us earlier to "take any baby there for the 5-generation picture because babies all look the same anyway!"  But I would have known that it wasn't my baby :)

These two quilts were hand-pieced by Grandma Mc and this one was machine quilted - yes machine quilted on some type of long arm machine clear back in the 70's!  These quilting stitches are a good 1/4 inch in length - they're huge!
My Mom says she remembers her mother and grandmother "raking" the cotton with some type of brush to make the batting.  How lucky are we today that we can just go buy nice batting at the fabric store!

This is mighty fine hand piecing in my opinion.
Here is the second quilt.  My mother used to sew her own clothes and most of my clothes too. She would give her grandma the scraps and Grandma Mc would piece them into quilts.  Grandma Mc had six children and multitudes of grandchildren and great grandchildren and even some great greats.  I don't know how many received quilts from her.  I feel lucky to own two of them and that is due in part to the fact that my Mom gave her much of the fabric she used to make them.  This quilt has polyester, corduroy, and flannel as well as cotton.  My Mom recognizes scraps from her dresses and clothes she made for my brother and I.

This quilt was hand quilted by my Grandma Dickerson - my mother's mother.  I think it is beautifully hand pieced and hand quilted and I treasure them both and the history they share.

I also have a four generation picture with my oldest daughter, myself, my Mom and my Grandma Dickerson :)

Today on The Quilt Show website I watched five short videos about Ernest B. Haight, an engineer from Nebraska who was born about the same time as my Grandma Mc (she was 1898 and I believe he was 1899).  His story is fascinating and I encourage you to go to The Quilt Show website and watch these short videos. Ernest took up quilting as a hobby and became one of Nebraska's most prolific quilters.  He made over 300 quilts.  The videos said at first other family members such as his father, mother and wife would hand quilt them for him, then he began machine quilting them himself.

He even self published a book called "Practical Machine Quilting for the Homemaker" that sold for $1.50.  He won many ribbons in the county fairs for his quilts and found that his machine quilted quilts won as many ribbons as his hand quilted quilts.
The Quilt Study Center in Lincoln Nebraska put together the videos and story and had an exhibit of his quilts.  The Quilt Study Center is on my list of places I want to go someday!

So, treasure your "old" quilts as well as your new ones.  Label and mark your new quilts so they will continue to tell your story.  And be sure to head on over to TQS website and learn more about Ernest B. Haight - he was definitely a quilter ahead of his time!

Have a super day :)

Happy Pi Day!

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