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Gramma’s Quilt

Posted on: June 11th, 2013 by Lorna McMahon

Loved to death.  That’s how I would describe the condition of this quilt when it was handed over to my mom.  Loved to death.  The backing worn and ripped and the binding shredded and almost non-existent.

My mother’s mother made many quilts, busily piecing them on her old Singer treadle machine.  Most were made from re, er….  Um, up-cycled Crimplene fabrics.  Old slacks and dresses.  Then tied by my mother and her mom with knotted yarn.  According to my mom, Gramma made most of them in the staggered brick, diamond shaped pattern, as seen here.

As I spent the day re-tying this quilt, stretched taut upon its new backing, I thought of my Gramma and her fondness for this pattern, and realized it would not require the matching of seams.  No points to line up with the staggered bricks.  A versatile design – simple, fun and accommodating to a hodge-podge of fabric scraps.

The kids (my son in particular) helped throughout the afternoon, from beneath the quilt, poking the needle back up for me.  And we tied well into the center – all around.  I was able to bring the quilt home that evening, honoured I had been given the okay to replace the binding.  Then I tied the center by using a hoop.

I would like to thank my cousin, Jennifer.  For keeping this quilt for well over 30 years.  For loving this quilt to death.  And for allowing my mother and I to renew the condition of our Grandmother’s well loved quilt. Thank you, Jennifer.  And thank you, Gramma.

32 Responses

  1. Shannon says:

    What a great piece of history. It is wonderful to see the things our ancestors have made and used. It is very beautiful!!

  2. What a beautiful story for a beautiful quilt, well done on re-newing it! :o)

  3. Mike Pearson says:

    Great story! I have one from my grandma that is falling apart too… I'm afraid to take it apart! The batting inside is like dust!!!

  4. Stephie says:

    Wow Lorna, that's such a fab story! And it's been worked on by 4 generations, that's just amazing 🙂 Where will it go next?

  5. Awww…I love a good quilt story! Don't you just love family quilts. Looks like you did a great job too.

  6. That's fantastic! I love it. What an excellent and special piece of family history to share and cherish. Congrats!

  7. Adrienne says:

    truly inspiring. I can only hope my quilts are loved to death. Thank you for sharing!

  8. what a fantastic story! it's so wonderful that you were able to revive the quilt so it could be loved for decades more! -Kelly @ My Quilt Infatuation

  9. Julie says:

    The offset pattern does seem like a fabulous idea. I like the thought of not having to match up points. How fun to have an heirloom quilt!

  10. Glinda ♥ says:

    Lovely, Lorna, thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Sara says:

    Touching story to go with this treasured a quilt. Thank you for showing it off!

  12. Thank you, Sara… For visiting and leaving such a thoughtful comment. Hope to see you again!

  13. Thank you, Glinda!

  14. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to leave such a thoughtful comment, Julie! I was impressed by the simplicity of the design also. I have a small lap quilt that my Gramma made, but this is my cousin'squilt. It was a pleasure to help restore it!

  15. P. says:

    I have one of those made by my grandma, too (hers is hexagons). We called that fabric double knit in the US. It's like a time capsule to look at those fabrics that made up hers and others dresses and suits at the time. No one has ever attempted to finish it, but it's nice to see how you did it! Just a backing and a binding huh? I can see why, it's so heavy/warm already you wouldn't need batting. Tying seems like the ideal way to do it. Thanks for sharing your story and process!

  16. Hi P! Yes, it did still have the batting in it – a polyester one which was still in great shape. But I agree… It was heavy and warm enough with that top! Glad to hear about your grandma's quilt top. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE PICS!!! And tie-ing a quilt is a cinch… Especially compared to quilting by machine on one that size. Thank you for visiting and leaving such a sweet note!

  17. Anonymous says:

    I have a quilt from my granny that needs fixing as well. Mostly, the seams on the front of the quilt are tearing. I never thought to take it apart to fix it but that might be just the thing to do. What a great memory of your gramma — Treasure it always!

  18. Thank you for stopping by for a visit and leaving such a thoughtful comment, MonkeyNeedle. Aren't grandma's the greatest? Hope our future family will always treasure our quilts, too!

  19. Shauna says:

    What an heirloom you have and a great story to pass onto your family.

  20. Thank you sew much for the visit, Shauna. This heirloom actually belongs to my cousin, Jennifer. But what an honour and a pleasure to take a part in restoring such a well loved quilt. And to have had my own children be a part of that – priceless!

  21. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such a thoughtful, lovely comment. Glad you enjoyed seeing my gramma's quilt!

  22. Sew glad you came by for a visit and took the time to leave such a sweet note. Thanks for the job well done!

  23. Thanks Mike! Sometimes it's hard to tell what to do. Maybe you could use some new batting? Definitely a treasure whether left as is or restored.

  24. Well, Stephie… It is my cousin's quilt, sew I can only assume she will give it to her eldest daughter. But it sure was a pleasure to work on. Thanks for dropping in!

  25. Glad you enjoyed the post! Thanks for the visit and the compliment!

  26. It is a pleasure to know you much you enjoyed this story! Thanks for the good wishes!

  27. Happy to hear that you were inspired. I am sure your quilts will be treasured, too! Sharing this story was my pleasure.

  28. Delighted to know that you enjoyed the story of my gramma's quilt! Thanks for the visit and the note.

  29. Karen says:

    I love the pattern of the quilt and the colours still look so vibrant! Great job on all that re-tying! You've got a real family heirloom there, so rare and precious.

  30. Thank you, Karen for your thoughtful comment! Appreciate your visit!

  31. Kim says:

    I adore much used and loved quilts, family heirlooms that have been handed down from generation to generation. They are like warm hugs with many a story threaded through each remnant of fabric and every loving stitch stitched! Your mother, son and yourself have done a wonderful job at restoring this treasure!! Thank you for sharing this precious story!!

  32. The kwilt has so many stories behind it..oh if fabric could talk!