Monday, September 29, 2014

Quilting with my Grandma

This photo is from 1994 when we went to celebrate my Grandma and Grandpa's 50th Anniversary!
L-R: Grandma Bea, my mom Ellen, Me, my babies; Devin on my hip and Lauren in front.
Ten years after her passing, I finally took the time to quilt with my Grandma.  I didn't learn to quilt from my Grandma and by the time I learned, she was already very sick.  Before she passed though, she had set aside a couple of UFOs and other pieces for me.

First up is this puff quilt made in 1976 to celebrate the Bicentennial.  Over the years it had become faded because she kept it out all the time to enjoy it.  So, at some point she decided to start taking it apart to redo some of the puffs in fabric she had saved.  When I received it, it was in sections with many little scraps of paper pinned to puffs notifying the order in the quilt: 2nd row, 3rd down, etc. 
Gram had done A LOT of easing in on those seams during assembly (must be genetic:)) and trying to sew through all the layers upon layers of seams was a pain in my big backside!! It did NOT take long for me to decide, no way Jose! Plus a sweet friend reminded me that Gram was gone and she wouldn't know:) 
What I ended up doing was salvaging the largest chunk for myself which is a good lap size. The reassembly in just that was a bit much but doable. The remainder of decent puffs were put into a good size pillow cover for my mom and the remaining fabric was donated to an appraiser friend who also does restoration work.
There is still some fabric left and I have an EPP design that I am working on to use it.  I will have enough to make a small table topper for myself and my mom!

What I learned:  I NEVER need to make a puff quilt:))

Next up was a box of horribly ugly 70s fabric that she was using to make a scrappy strip quilt.  When I opened the box, there were 8 finished, 12" blocks with all the green/red centers cut for approximately 32 blocks according to a sketch done in pen. YIKES!  Again, I pretty much knew that wasn't happening!  So now what to do with what was done.  These blocks had been done in the foundation method with a muslin??? that was more like cheesecloth.  I found a price tag on one of the fabric pieces that stated it cost $1.49/yd. and was purchased at the Fabric Bonanza.  I never heard of that store.....
I decided to give Foundation piecing a try and made 8 more quadrants, added some large green areas to try to quiet all the other colors, and some hippy-like floral applique.

I had a friend quilt it on her long arm machine with an all over floral design before I added the applique flowers--SO much easier!  Here is the new quilt with Grandma's finished 8 making up the 2 large blocks and my 8 quadrants in the borders and in the green areas for some movement.  It ended up being about 60" square and a perfect lap quilt for me!

What I learned:  Foundation piecing is SO much easier than paper piecing and I don't know why I didn't try it before!
I also was reminded of how much Grandma LOVED her moth balls.  With every press of the iron I was reminded over and over:)
For an added fun memory, I found some fabrics in the strips that seemed very familiar to me.  I went digging through some things and found this little doll quilt that Grandma had made me to match the Holly Hobbie puff quilt she had also made me.  I no longer have the puff quilt but do have the doll quilt.
If you look very closely, you will see the match to the pink swirl and the green floral fabrics.  Thank you Grandma for the lovely memories!!