About Me

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Recent retiree--35 year's experience teaching reading, English, adult basic education and volunteer leadership skills. Started this blog to exchange ideas and commentary with friends and others having an interest in joining the discussions. Greatest life accomplishments include: 1.organized my 3rd grade class to check out library books for me to get around librarian's weekly limit--Amazon.com, the Mullins Elementary 3rd Grade Class of 1956 is still waiting for "thank you" notes; 2. volunteered in the Peace Corps, island of St. Kitts, West Indies; 3.taught adults to read, earn their GEDs., and speak English as a second language; 4. bought a border collie puppy for $6, got evicted rather than give him up, and began a life-long love affair with all things "Dog"; 5. joined a physical fitness boot camp in my mid-50s--don't mess with someone who's been doing regulation pushups in wet grass at 5:30 a.m.; 6. walked across Northern England with best friend Sally--over 80 miles from the Irish to North Seas; and 7. travelled to many foreign countries for pleasure and work.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Quilting Memories

(Our host for this week's Fun Monday, Karisma , wants us to share something made with our own two hands. She's confident that everyone, especially Fun Monday people, has a great many talents and abilities to share. And, Karisma apparently doesn't go for excuses. Even though we may say that we've never made anything creative with our own hands, she gave us the assignment last Wednesday with this challenge: "Even though you've never made anything, you have four days to work on it, so get off your butt and bake us a cake or something!" Well, I'm temporarily off cake baking because of the upcoming swimsuit season, so I'll tell you about making quilts. How's that Karisma?)

I made this quilted wall hanging last year. The design is called Log Cabin.



All the women in my family quilted--my mother, sister, aunts, and cousins. For mountain women making quilts was both a necessity and art form. Every home needed a supply of quilts to keep everyone warm in the winter since we didn't buy blankets. All year long quiltmaking was a part of a woman's work. In the summer women pieced scraps of cotton together in beautiful designs, with names like Grandmother's Flower Garden, Wedding Ring, Drunkard's Path and Friendship, when the housework and gardening was done for the day. In the winter the handpieced quilt tops were "set up". Setting up a quilt involved sandwiching cotton batting between the top and lining and stretching in a frame. After the winter housework was done, the quilt would be let down from the ceiling in the front room (or parlor) and the women of the family--and sometimes visiting neighbors--would sit around the quilt frame joining the three layers together into a beautiful work of art and enjoying each other's company. The workmanship standards were high. No fabric was wasted, every hand stitch must be even and very small with no puckers in the fabric. A common insult to a woman's quilting abilities would be to say that her stitches were so long her husband may catch his toenail in a stitch! We more modern women may say that perhaps the husband should cut his toenails. . .

As a small child, I can remember playing with my cousins underneath the quilt frame as the women worked. Young girls learned to quilt by making miniature or doll quilts. My 85 year old Aunt Draxie still has some of the treasures she made as a child. Newly married women were given at least five new quilts when they started their new home, almost like part of a bride's dowry. Recently my Aunt Draxie presented her great grandson with a collection of handmade quilts at his wedding. What a loving tradition to keep going!

My Log Cabin wall hanging was done the modern way. I bought coordinated fabrics, laying them out on the work table like I was creating a painting. I selected the earth tones that I like to have around me instead of using what fabrics that could be found in the quilt scraps bag. I used precision tools like a rotary cutter to make the quilt pieces. Then each section was assembled, using my very weak geometry skills, on the sewing machine. There are no hand stitches in this quilt except for the edge binding. Although it's not handsewn, it's definitely made by my hands. It pleases me as much as a painting.

Now be sure to check out other Fun Monday "made by hands" at Karisma's Page .

27 comments:

A Slice of Life said...

Oh wow...you just made a lost memory of quilting with my grandmother pop into my head. Thank you for that.

Your log cabin is quite lovely. I'm cracking up at the thought of telling the husbands to just cut his toenails!

karisma said...

Thank you, that was a most entertaining post! Very educational as well! I like your quilt, it looks great! Quilting is one thing I have not tried, I simply do not have the patience! ( Yes I know I cross stitch but its not as fiddly, well not to me. As I started reading I thought you made yours the old fashioned way as well. I was quite amazed! Either way it is still not as easy as it looks! So you did not need any excuses afterall.

A+ for the quilt
A+ for the good read
A+ for the witty humour
You cheered me up immensely
Thank you

Olive said...

What a lovely quilt! Quilting is something that I do not have the patience for and never tried. It is good that others do or we would not have any quilts around to enjoy.

Molly said...

Your Log Cabin quilted wall hanging is grand. Your post does back memories. My mother's mother made quilts, and we have some lovely quilts made by mother-in-law. I remember looking at the scraps of materials from my grandmother's quilts. Each scrap was a memory of another work of art.

laurie said...

does it have a flaw? when i used to quilt (long ago), it gave me no end of reassurance to hear that it was bad luck to produce a perfct quilt. it is supposed to have a flaw, somewhere.

with my quilts, of course, no problem.

ChrisB said...

I have always been an admirer of quilters. My mother has made a couple of quilts but all done by hand. She donated one to the church for them to raffle for funds~ the other we have and use.

Hootin' Anni said...

I love this...the rich, warm tones of browns always seem so filled with a 'homey' comfortable atmosphere. Great job.

Happy Fun Monday.

My Husband Calls Me Weird said...

Beautiful!! I cannot stitch anything. I am very impressed.

nikki

Sarah said...

What a beautiful quilt and a great family tradition.
My granny and grandma used to make quilts but it's something that has died out in our family now.
I'd love to have the time and patience to create something so beautiful.

IamwhoIam said...

Quilting Yep lived with a quilting frame in luei of a dining room table, (we all ate at the kitchen table). I have a number of quilts my mother made a patch work, a embordered, a cheters, and one that is make of a solid piece of fabric where the only decoration is the hand quilted pattern, all of the quilts are hand stiched. As for the doll it is about 20 yrs old, and is a Plain or Almish doll, it didn't have eyes but my then 3 yr old niece added thumb tacks for eyes and told my mother to be careful they where sharp (it was so cute of her) Your log cabin is lovely, but writing is you real gift, great story.

Sayre said...

I always wondered what the quilt frame was for. I figured it was kind of like an embroidery hoop - a way to stabilize the area you were working on. I didn't know about the stretching part.

I think your quilt is quite lovely. I always wanted to give this a try. Perhaps I will!

Sayre said...

Oh, yes - referencing your comment: Myvunwy is a Welsh name and this doll is dressed in the "traditional" outfit of Welsh women. My dad grew up in North Wales.

Lane said...

How To Make An American Quilt (have you read that book?) Faye style!

It's beautiful and I love the earthy colours.

Great post. The toenails made me wince and laugh at the same time:-)

Now .. cakes. Is it really bathing suit season soon?:-)

SwampAngel65 said...

That's a beautiful quilt! I wish I had a talent for sewing (and the patience!).

Thanks for leaving a comment on my "non-Fun Monday" post :)

Have a great week!

storyteller said...

I’ve never tried Quilting, but my Mom and sister both did for a brief time. How lovely that YOU carry on this tradition from your family. Thanks for sharing ;--)

My Fun Monday is up at Small Reflections.
Hugs and blessings,

Jo Beaufoix said...

Wow, those are amazing. Ive always thought quilting is a wonderful tradition and a beautiful thing to pass on through a family. Thanks.

Heather said...

Wow, that is a lovely quilt! I absolutely love the colors, and i love your story behind it - what a wonderful heritage and tradition to cherish!

Pamela said...

My grandmothers quilted. But the tradition stopped. My grandma grace also knotted rugs. I remember her doing that even in her old age. I wish now that I would have been the recipient of one.

This was a wonderful post of reminiscing and I appreciated it very much.

Alison said...

beautiful Faye, I love quilts and would love to start quilting "someday" I do work on my childrens' class quilts each year!!

(my husband mows the lawn!!)

Jan said...

I love your quilt. My grandmother was part of a church quilting bee. I don't think many churches to that any more.

Melanie said...

What a beautiful quilt. I have always wanted to learn how to quilt.

http://ourhappyhappenings.com

Aoj & The Lurchers said...

Oh that's just lovely Faye. I would so love to be able to do something like that.

Joy T. said...

I'm still making my way through the Fun Monday list :o) What a beautiful handmade log cabin quilt and I really loved the story you told. I sure wish women would get together like that nowadays. Seems we're all so busy and running here and there. Ah the good old days.

KAREN said...

That's very impressive. I've never attempted quilting, but I'm a good with a pair of knitting needles. And a ball of wool, obviously :o)

Ari_1965 said...

Wonderful hanging. Looks good on that wall, too.

Jettie said...

It's beautiful!! I love handmade quilts!! I still have the one my granma & Great Grandma made me when I was little ..it was out of jeans.

lisa marie said...

We have a number of quiltmakers in our family too. :) Love your quilt wallhanging!