Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Grandmother's Quilts Part 2

When I started taking photos of my Grandmother's quilts last weekend, my main intention was to photograph her older quilts, the ones worked on by her grandmothers and mother, and the generational quilts. But my grandmother also wanted to share her thoughts with me on some of the favorites she has made. First she brought out her Sunbonnet Sue quilt; Grandma loves Sunbonnet Sue, and I feel sort of guilty for giving her a hard time about them before I appreciated their charm! Who knows, I might even make a Sunbonnet Sue quilt one day in honor of my Grandmother!


The top left block in this collage has some cross-stitch flowers and my name stitched by me, but my grandmother actually applique'd the Sunbonnet Sue. These are some of my other favorites--my mom cross-stitched the chicken and milk jug on her Sue block...and I love the flowers embroidered by one of Grandma's friends.


This is the Christmas quilt that started my love of obsession with Christmas quilts...what I didn't realize until this weekend was that my grandmother hand pieced all of these blocks! One of Grandma's fond memories is deciding the layout of the blocks in this quilt with help from my Grandfather.

This next quilt is not only one of my grandmother's favorites, but one of mine as well. My family has a rich heritage of farming in Iowa that continues to this day, and this quilt is titled Down on the Farm in Iowa. My grandmother made it in 1996 for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Iowa's statehood. I know that my Great Aunt Joan also made this quilt--and that the two sisters had a good time working on this quilt at the same time, my grandmother quilting in Nevada and her sister quilting in Iowa.



My grandmother is very good at making labels for her quilts, and this one has an embroidered label as well as one with the logo from the 150th celebration year.


This last quilt has always been known as grandma's Bow Tie quilt. My grandfather always wore bow ties...I don't ever recall him wearing any other. He often wore brown as well. My grandmother made this quilt for and in honor of him, but sadly she didn't finish it before he passed away. But Grandma accomplished her purpose in making this quilt--I never walk in and see it on the wall without thinking of my Grandfather.

All of the quilts in this post were handquilted by my Grandmother. To my knowledge she has only had one quilt ever quilted by a long-arm quilter--and that was rather recently. In my next post I'll have some finishes to share! Have a wonderful day!

45 comments:

Sinta Renee said...

What a wonderful and rich family heritage you have. The quilts are beautiful! It is so amazing to have all of those memories at your fingertips! I especially love the bow tie quilt and the story of your grandfather.

Carol said...

What wonderful, wonderful treasures and the very best memories!

Robyn *Ü* said...

What pretty quilts. Thanks for sharing. I too have never liked Sunbonnet Sue and would never have considered making one but my little girl loves her and I'm now considering making one.

Cindy said...

What a wonderful family history you have! And how great you can share your love of quilting with your Grandmother!

Robyn *Ü* said...

I had to leave another comment. I really love the quilton your sidebar. It looks like stars and log cabin with an irish chain running through it. can you tell me the name of the pattern? It's beautiful.

Purple and Paisley said...

gosh, what wonderful quilts...i'm glad your grandma finished the bow tie one...how nice as a memory of your grandpa...♥

A Crafty Moment said...

What exceptional work done by your grandmother. Her quilts are awesome. Thanks for sharing her fabulous quilts and their history.

Material Mary said...

When we come from such rich heritage of quilters, it breeds an obsession for sure with this quilting thing.... Love the quilts. They speak to my heart.
Mary

CJ said...

WOW! What quilting talent you have in your family! I am blown away that she hand pieced that Christmas quilt. :0 The sunbonnet sue is adorable as is the quilt to remind you of your grandfather. Such sweet memories.

Lauren said...

Wow!!
Ok.. I love Sunbonnet Sue!
The Iowa quilt is amazing and what a wonderful story to the bow tie quilt!
Your Grandma must be pretty amazing :)

Happy Cottage Quilter said...

Your grandmothers quilts are amazing! Love the Sunbonnet Sue. Thanks so much for sharing about them.

Stephanie said...

All beauties. I love that some are collaborative. It's so wonderful for you to know the stories. The bow tie quilt is a special one for sure.

Quilt Nut said...

beautiful quilts. i love the Christmas one. thanx for sharing them

Tara said...

My grandmother, who passed away 2 years ago, also loved sunbonnet sue. I never understood the fascination myself, but like you, find some odd nostalgia there. I've got a quilt in the works with 30s repro fabric and a sunbonnet sue block in the mix! When I grow up--I want to be an old woman!

rachel griffith said...

oh there goes my heart being happy again.
i just love to hear stories behind quilts.
the bow tie quilt made me tear up.

Chookyblue...... said...

it is wonderful you know the history of the quilts........write it down.........hope you end up with them too.......

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Oh my goodness, they are amazing, I love the cute block of Sunbonnet Sue holding a quilt. Her Christmas quilt is stunning as is the Farm Quilt. Have no fear your grandfather sees his quilt all the time!

Joy said...

What absolutely wonderful treasures these quilts are!! The Christmas one is just exquisite, and all handpieced, wow, that's just incredible!!! Just love Sunbonnet Sue feeding the chooks on the farm quilt too ;o).
Thanks so much for these pics, I've really enjoyed seeing them!
Hugs,
Joy :o)

Ariane said...

Wow!! These are amazing quilts. These are real gems. The quilts are not only beautiful, but it's great that you have them and are able to share the stories that makes them even more precious. Thanks for sharing them and the stories with us.

Carrie P. said...

Oh they are all so fabulous. It has been great seeing them. Thanks for sharing your heritage.

w&v said...

V. here... It is great to see quilts from your grandmother. They are beautiful and you are a wonderful grandaughter to highlight them and tell us about her. Quilts and the dear ones who make them never go out of style. v

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

Once again Sherri what a fantastic display of your Grand Mothers treasures...

call me crazy said...

What treasures! And to have the stories that go with the quilts is truly priceless. I love the Christmas quilt!

Zully said...

Hi!!!

Wonderful. Your grandmother quilts are amazing and I had to leave another comment.

Thanks so much.

Hughs from Costa Rica!!!!

Dawn said...

Beautiful!! I wish I had some of my grandmother's quilts, or at least pictures. Good idea to journal them!!

ivoryspring said...

My goodness, Sherri - now I know why you are such a distinguished quilter. Your grandmother's quilts are just amazing. What treasures you have in those quilts.

Thank you for sharing. I have enjoyed every bit of it.

Kathie said...

oh just fun to see and such nice memories
love the bow tie quilt and the story behind it
thanks for sharing
Kathie

Kerry said...

Thank you for sharing your Grandmother's beautiful quilts. They are certainly heirlooms to treasure forever.

julieQ said...

I am so glad you shared your family quilts, I especially love SBS...very cute, and all hand quilted...yum!

Gwendie said...

You are soooo lucky to have these quilts in the family. Sunbonnet Sue has always been one of my favorites even though I haven't made one yet. This one is wonderful! And all the others - wow! Was Down on the Farm a pattern? These are all so special but you already know that!!!

Sara said...

You are so fortunate to be able to share this family history - with your grandmother and also with future generations who will appreciate knowing about her love of quilting. Thank you for inspiring us to do the same!

Kaaren said...

Some people leave the written word as part of their legacy. Your grandma has left her legacy in her quilts. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of it, Sherri.

Susan said...

Outstanding collection of quilts, Sherri. What a rich heritage you have. I love your grandmother's Sunbonnet Sue quilt; the prettiest one I've seen.

Dawn Heese said...

I guess you know how lucky you are.

Sachiko said...

I think we all have stories to share with all of the quilts we create. That is so wonderful that you are able to hear from your grandmother in person about such a rich history of your family and quilt making.

Nanci said...

I am amazed at what good shape the quilts are in! After all these years of love and use, you'd think they had worn parts.
This is the first time I've popped by and I absolutely love the history of these quilts...you lucky lucky girl!
I don't have any such as this, so here at the cottage, I take my camera with me to photograph old quilts in the areas around our cottage....Lovely lovely blog.

Sandy said...

As an Iowan, I loved seeing the quilt made by your the efforts grandmother and her sister. What a neat original project! Loved them all. Continue to document the stories that go with the quilts and the lives of those who made them.
Will check back for more!!

*karendianne. said...

Oh Sherri,

I want to find something with so much more meaning than a simple "thank you" for sharing because that doesn't fit. This is a gift you're giving us all.

Staying in the moment, not going over the top (trying), I'll say this. My heart was wide open with a river of love when I read on about the Christmas quilt. To know it was a work of Art your Grandfather helped your Gma work on, the placement and layout of that spectacular quilt (work of Art), well it really touched me. It made me feel like your Grandfather is so alive.

I'm so moved...

quiltmom said...

I loved reading about your grandmother's quilts. While I am not really crazy about Sunbonnet Sue either- she is a pattern that does grow on you- She is an old fashioned girl and has her own real charm.
The story of the bow tie quilt is really poignant. Quilting is a medium that helps one express one's feelings - the whole range of emotions.
I bet you found writing the stories about them a powerful experience too.
Thanks for sharing your stories.
Regards,
Anna

suz said...

I've always liked Sunbonnet Sue patterns - your grandmother's quilt is wonderful. The photo of the bow tie quilt looks like one of the wonderful Japanese quilts we now see. Again, thank you for sharing this wonderful legacy.

Karen said...

What a cool thing to do! And I LOVE the little extras on the Sunbonnet Blocks.

Tracey said...

love this post about your family and the quilts, i do like the sunbonnet sue one very much

Candace said...

It's easy to see where your talent comes from, Sherri! I wish our world was like that of our grandmothers - less distractions and more time for quilting!
Cheers!

Nanette Merrill and daughters said...

Truly lovely works of art. But of course my favorite is the Sunbonnet Sue. I've always wanted to make one. I have a Japanese book just ready to go too. Maybe next year? I want to. I really find her charming.

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