Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Family Quilts: Makers Unknown




It was a whirlwind weekend for me; however, I wasn't at quilt market.  A couple of months ago I realized that the Nevada State Track Championships (to be held in Reno) were the same weekend as market. I was pretty sure my son would qualify in at least one of his four races, and so I planned all along to be in Reno last weekend.  Sure enough...my youngest qualified in all four of his events and even came home with 3 medals! We drove 16 hours in three days, watched a lot of races, and got to visit with family.



My Mom asked if I wanted a couple of family quilts to bring home...of course the answer was "Yes!" I was given two beautiful quilts...the only problem is we aren't sure who made them! We are pretty sure they were either made by my great-great grandmother, Emma Acelia Wakefield Fitzgarrald, or by a great-great-great aunt, Mame Bice. Mame made her own quilts and often did the hand quilting for two of my great-great grandmothers.




Both Mame and Emma were prolific quilters...it's amazing how many family quilts there are spread through the many branches of our family tree! I love the fact that both quilts are patterns that I would make in a minute! This star quilt might be one of my favorites!




Because I love polka dots it's always fun to find them in these old family quilts.


This faded pink print is absolutely lovely.


And of course...I love this polka dot star as well! These quilts are all hand-pieced and hand-quilted. While there are perfect corners and points, there are also ones that are cut off.


The Dresden quilt is missing a few dresdens...it seems that some of them were made from loose-weave fabrics which just didn't hold up to years of use and washing.


This is one of my favorite blocks...it's not missing any fabric...some of the background fabric was used to make additional Dresdens.  I'm wondering if this ancestor was a little like me and often used whatever she had on hand in order to hurry up and finish a project?!


I'm trying to decide if I should leave this quilt as is...or if I should repair the missing Dresdens?!


I have fallen in love with both of these quilts already and am so happy to have them home with me.  I just wish I knew for sure who made them! This is such an example to me of why I must make labels for my quilts!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

PS...Because I was gone this weekend I'm keeping the SewFabulous giveaway for a $50 gift certificate open for another day...go here to enter!



28 comments:

Nedra said...

Oh, Sherri, the apple does not fall far from the tree. These quilts are so YOU! I understand more now where you inherited your style. How wonderful that you could bring these beauties home, where I know they will be well loved and taken care of. And, yes, I would repair the dresden, so it will have a little bit of both of you in the quilt.

Karen said...

Hi Sherri, new follower here! Those family quilts are fabulous, such treasures. We rarely see this family tradition in the UK, up to us modern quilters to start I suppose. You will be part of the quilt too if you repair it.
Karen x

May Britt said...

You really have some treasures there. Wonderful quilts:-) Think you should try to add tke missing dresdens. But make sure you take photos of each block before and after the repair. To document it all:-)

Brenda said...

You are very lucky to hav quilts like that in your family. They are beautiful

Donna said...

Sherri, examine the dresden closely for age damage on the binding and back. If the condition is OK, then you can use one dresden as a pattern and hand sew new over the old. Don't let your seam ripper get near these dear old quilts tho.
Write a label for them and tell the story of who MIGHT have made them. I'm a label maker for everything that leaves my quilting room.

Donna said...

The 2 quilts will be in your family now for a long time. Only use them as bed spreads, not as blankets to cover up with. Any pulling on the old hand stitches will cause the tnreads to pop and the old fabrics to fray. Take good care of them and display them with love.

suemac said...

I know one day I will get the beautiful quilt made by my grandmother on my dad's side. It is green with white squares with various birds. I know it is going to need some repairs. It has been well used. The star quilt is also my favorite of the two quilts you received.

WoolenSails said...

What wonderful treasures from your family.
I would repair it and just try to match the fabrics as best as you can. It will protect the open area and keep it from deteriorating any further.

Debbie

Karin said...

I have a family quilt that I repaired - and when I went to remove the old tattered fabric, I didn't cut any stitches - only cut away the tattered fabric. That way everything around the repair wasn't altered or threads cut to unravel. I would definitely repair it though, it's a treasure!

Mary said...

Of course it's up to you but - I have both of our only old family quilts. I've re-sewn seams that have come out but I'm not replacing any fabric. I'm very careful with them. When I'm gone, my oldest daughter will know how to take care of them and I'm sure she'll teach her daughters to do the same. I don't want fabrics that are my choice mixing with the original. But as I said - your quilts are up to you. Now I guess I'd better go label all the quilts I've made so there's no confusion!

Sinta Renee said...

What treasures! Don't you love the fact that you are holding something that those family members held... your hands are almost touching!!! I love those polka dots too!!! What a wonderful gift... and a wonderful weekend you had. not only spending time with your son and watching him win his medals (congratulations to him) but to have nice family time too! You can always be at next Market

Stephanie said...

Very special family treasures. Obviously they will continue to be loved and appreciated.

Lesley said...

What beautiful quilts! So very precious!

Dayna at Precut Paradise said...

Those are beautiful, it's always cool to have a piece of family history.

Patti said...

Such amazing quilts. I don't think any of my ancestors made quilts but if one or two did I never found out about them. I wish I wasn't the first doing this and I sincerely hope I'm not the last. As you know I always love what you do but these two are really special and I shall be sure and put labels on all of mine now.

Josie Passell said...

I love your quilts, I have a simple quilt my late mother made me 37 years ago. Unfortunately she used some recycled cottons which are now fragile. I don't know whether to replace them or not.
Congratulations to your son.

Josie Passell said...

I love your quilts, I have a simple quilt my late mother made me 37 years ago. Unfortunately she used some recycled cottons which are now fragile. I don't know whether to replace them or not.
Congratulations to your son.

Marie said...

What treasures! I LOVE the star quilt.

Wendy said...

You lucky girl to have these quilts with you. I would consider doing the repairs with something close to the original.

pincushionpoints said...

I LOVE the star quilt. You are lucky to have such an extensive quilting family tree.

Sachiko Aldous said...

They are so presious Sherri. Thank you so much for sharing!

Diane H said...

Wonderful quilts - love the 'soft' look of them.

Jennifer Schifano Thomas said...

Family quilts are such a treasure! I feel blessed to have a quilts made by my Mother, Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, and Aunt. They are so full of love. I know you will enjoy having these two quilts. It's hard to know if you should make the repair. Maybe you could try it with some vintage fabric so it matches the period they were made. Have a super day!

Mama Pea said...

The quilts are lovely and so special! I would be in the same quandry about the Dresdens. What a lovely gift you received!

Joann said...

I have a Grandmothers Fan of about the same vintage (gifted from my MIL) and a Dresden Plate that I won in a quilt draw that was made using vintage 30's material for the Dresdens. I started repairing the fans probably 30 yrs ago before you could get the nice reproduction fabric you can now...so I am going to rip off all of that work and start again with suitable prints...but with its age it will strictly be a display quilt. When I get that done I will replace the few on the newer quilt and possibly use it on the spare bed. (((sigh))) I wish now that I had kept both of them pristine but quilts are meant to be used and use them we did! Enjoy the repair process, it will bond you even closer to you family heritage.

sleepycathollow.com said...

Lovely quilts!

I have my GGG-Grandma's Dresden Plate quilt that she quilted in Lynch, Nebraska. I've put it up until I can re-bind it. Still looking for the perfect green to use. Another GGG-Grandma's quilt is still used in my household...to cuddle under while watching tv.

Glad your son did great here in Reno! :)

Magnolia Bay Quilts said...

Congratulations to your son! You must be really proud.

The quilts are so gorgeous. Except for the missing dresdens, they look like they're in great shape. Thanks for sharing!

Nanette Merrill said...

Love love the vintage quilts. My favorite designs are stars and dresdens. Love these. Your family is all so talented.