Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Pit in Your Stomach

  Last Monday at our quilty group one of the women came in with these three pieces of very old quilts. We looked closely at the hexies and I found some of the 30's prints I have in my stash as reproductions so we determined this one was from that time period.
   This woman was asked by someone to "make these into three queen sized quilts, please."  No more than that.  Apparently there was a fourth and she already did make that into something.
    I was choking up with fear for the future of these strips because when finished they are to go to young people in their mid-twenties, great-grandchildren of the woman who pieced these thus far.We tried our best to talk her out of making bed sized, queen sized quilts that are going to be given to college kids.
 There are lots of the dresden plates and they are so very fragile.  The muslin they are attached to is very thin.
   The pile of plates is frayed around the edges, the middles are all different sizes and they are old. Old, old, old.  Could they be appliqued onto a background?  Yes.  SHOULD they be?  Maybe, to honor the woman who got them this far, but then gifted to 'children' who never met her?  No. I had a pit in my stomach thinking about it.
    These stars made me want to cry.  They were stored carelessly and mangled.  A gentle pressing will help them, but there is nothing near enough to making a queen sized quilt out of them.  A wall hanging, maybe.
     One of the other quilty friends and I were doing our darned best to talk the recipient of these pieces into NOT making them into queen sized quilts, into handling them with great respect and care, and NOT NOT NOT entrusting them to young people in their mid-twenties. But it's out of her hands, too, she was merely asked to do the work.
     Before you all descend on me with stories of your super conscientious worthy children, let me say that if they are, then they are the extreme exception.  I know of no college student who will care one whit about a quilt made from scraps from a great-grandmother they've never met.  Maybe someday, but not now.  These quilts are intended to be Christmas gifts this year and I can understand the desire to pass on some bit of family heritage, but oh, God, I weep for these. They are so fragile!
     The quilter who has them now to do the work asked if anyone could give her "some suggestions" on how to applique the dresden plates onto a muslin background because she doesn't know how to applique.  I said I would help, if only for the chance to work with something like these beauties, but the other half of my brain is just sick.


  1. Unfortunately you are right. Lovely time capsule of the past. I have several that were in my attic (as you saw) and just love them....they will have to be stored on the wall or put away safely. Just love these.

  2. Aaarrghhh! We lust after any and all snippets of vintage fabrics, those quilts are like gold dust here! I get your angst.....could you not kidnap them, send the great grandkids a photo and tell them you will release them when they are all grown up and understand about such items? Yeah I know, you can only take the photo and remember them but passing through your hands.....sigh!

  3. Such a tricky situation Denice... it would be a shame to miss out on the beauty of those blocks if they're tucked away safely...but you're right, the history of them won't be respected by College students, and it's also a bit worrying that the lady who has them is wanting to applique but doesn't even know how to... I don't envy you your feelings on this!!

  4. Oh My! maybe the young people wont like them so much and leave them in the cupboard at their parents house. Hopefully someone will tell them of their importance when they pass them on ... What a dilemma. They must be beautiful.