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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Mother's Double Dutch Quilt Part 4

QB-4a

A productive day sewing - with my 93y/o mom! She helped me rip out seams on a block that I had screwed up. Why am I not surprised? It all worked out great though. Mom and I had a few laughs and she told me stories too. Stories of her mother and how she made quilts entirely by hand when my mother was a little girl. She also told me a story about this one "Flower Garden" quilt her mother, Margaret, had made out of every scrap piece of fabric she had. Mom told me it was beautiful and she kept it in a box in her closet for years after she married my dad and had kids.

 

VintageFlowerGardenQuilt

Then one day, wanting to see the quilt, she pulled out the box and it was empty. Someone had stolen her mother's Flower Garden quilt. My mother was devastated. She always felt that it was one of the baby sitters that stole the quilt.  Years later, while looking through a sewing magazine, she saw a picture of a flower garden quilt that looked exactly like her mother's quilt hanging on a wall for a quilt show. She was convinced that that quilt was, in fact, her mother's quilt. She had no way of finding out.  That made me so sad. It would have been made in the late 1920s. Mom remembers being about 4 or 5y/o when her mother was making the quilt entirely by hand. Her mother did not have a sewing machine. Also, her mother, my grandmother Margaret Simpson Lee VanFossen, passed away in 1936. She was a mere 53 years old, and my mother was 11y/o. Losing her mother was so devastating, that my mother never quite recovered. But, I love it when she tells me her stories.

Pictured above is an image of a Vintage 1920s Flower Garden quilt that we found online. My mother said that it looked a lot like her mother's flower garden quilt, and that her mother's had scalloped edges. But she didn't think this one was her mother's, of course.  Just that her mother's looked similar. 

 

1920shat

My grandmother, Margaret, was a milliner as well. Imagine, in the early 1920s owning your own brick and mortar milliner shop and making hats for the ladies in the community! That is what she did and loved to do!  And, she was a single mom with a baby boy, as her husband, Robert E. Lee (great grandson) had passed away from the flu epidemic of 1918.  She sewed and quilted and made hats, and supported herself and her baby boy on her creative endeavors.  She was far advanced in her life career than most women and also very proactive in women's rights to pursue their passion in life. She remarried Mason VanFossen several years later and together they had 2 girls, my mother was the first, born in 1924.  She was also 42y/o when she had my mother! That was unheard of in the 20s!

I wish I had known my grandmother, Margaret. But, I have an inkling that her spirit and joy in motherhood, sewing, quilting, and creating, continue to live on in me.

Oh, how I wish I had known this wonderful woman. Thanks to the many blessings in my life, I am able to know my grandmother Margaret through my own mother's stories.

 

QB-4b

So today, I had to correct some mistakes in this quilt block.  Remember these guys?  Well, they are supposed to be 6 1/2" square.  I don't know exactly what I did wrong, but they were too small.  I had my mom use the seam ripper and remove little snippets of each corner piece so that I could rip them off one-by-one, replace them where they should have been, and sew a better seam.  I had to do that for 11 of these blocks.  Mom's help took hours off my time and made for a more productive day.  So you see, I make mistakes along the way too.  If you only knew how many times I just want to say "Hell with it" and work around it ... only to be disgusted with the end result and have MORE seams to rip out and really feel disgusted.  The best way to solve these problems is to deal with them as soon as you see you have them.  The easy thing about quilting is that you don't have to rip out locked seams on the ends of your run. 

So after mom snipped all the seams, I sewed them back correctly, pressed them open again, measured the block again with the Omnigrid, and was much happier.

 

QB-4c

Her help made it easy for me to get the 12 central quilt blocks done!  Most of the points and seams are perfectly aligned.  It is really difficult to get them all "perfect" although there are most times I am pleasantly surprised.  Key: 1/4" seam - Always.  Pin.  Press.  Measure and remeasure.  Trim.  It's a process!!  But, the end result is going to be spectacular!!

 

QB-4e

Aren't they beautiful?!!  I sure do love quilting and especially seeing how the quilt develops with all the piecing.  It's a puzzle, and I have always loved puzzles.

I hope you are enjoying the process and maybe learning some tips and tricks along the way! 

And you know what I love about quilting on days like today?  The time I spend with my own mother telling stories and laughing and sharing something creative together.  It was a perfect mother/daughter day.

 

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