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Monday
Feb232009

sweet dreams

This is the quilt we sleep with every night. It was made for my husband's father, by his grandmother, and it's over 60 years old. Marked in pen in one of the corners it says 1948.. so my father-in-law received it when he was 10 or 11. John remembers his parents having it on their bed when he was a little boy.

I love so many things about it. The randomness of the pattern, using whatever fabric was around the house. Certain corners are pieced together using every scrap available. There is no binding, she just turned the edge and sewed it by hand, and I love each imperfect little stitch. The batting itself is actually an old blanket, held in place by yarn ties at the edges of each piece (probably why we like sleeping under it so much).

I'm a fan of white in quilts, and lots of it. This quilt has a mainly white ground, but then random squares of blue, and pink, even black. It reminds me of some of the Gee's Bend quilts, which seem to use whatever fabric was handy (shirts, jeans, sheets, etc). I wish I could incorporate some of that random beauty into my own quilts.

My husband used to keep this quilt in a chest for safekeeping, it's understandable that he wanted to take good care of it. But when we moved into this house, we rescued it from its hiding place and placed it on our bed. It's now the place where I read bedtime stories to the kids, where we snuggle in the mornings when our kids come jump in bed. I like to think that great grandmother would have wanted it that way.

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Reader Comments (39)

oh, how lovely. i can just imagine how soft that quilt must be. your kids are going to have such tactile memories of that...

02.24.2009 | Unregistered Commenterlynne

I found an old quilt like that one at a flea market. I rescued it (I hated thinking that someone discarded so much hard work!) and it now resides on my bed. I love yours. So much history!

02.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterTara

Lovely! Thanks for sharing.

I only wish I had an heirloom quilt in my family. I guess that's one reason I make my own!

02.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterRose

it's really a sweet quilt and i love all the hand stitching and love that went into it

02.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

Beautiful!!! I have a crochet blanket that my Great-grandmother made for her children and then used as a lap rug until she died age 103!!!
I always use woolen blankets as the inside of my quilts. (ok i have made 3 so far....on to my 4th!)
You can pick them up in brand new condition in the 2nd hand shops here. Or ask around....people normally have stacks of unused ones in the linen closets!!! I love the warmth of them!

02.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJess

i love quilts! there is something just so special and nostalic about them. loved your story.

Beautiful quilt and story! I have several quilts made by my Grandmother and we use them too...one of them was made by her when she was a little girl, by hand. It's a butterfly quilt and the butterflies are all different sizes and slightly different shapes. It is heartbreakingly sweet. Great photography too. xo

02.24.2009 | Unregistered CommenterLecia

What a stunning piece of family history!

02.25.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenn

I adore old family quilts. I have one that my husband's great-grandmother made and I love to look at the old fabrics and the random placement. It's one of my favorite family treasures.

02.25.2009 | Unregistered Commenteranother amy

How gorgeous! I love the idea of not using any binding and just turning it over to bind; I've been putting off making my friend's new baby's quilt because I've been intimidated by the idea of binding the damn thing, but this gives me hope that I can decide not to if I want when the time comes. Oh, sweet freedom!

What a wonderful quilt!
I also love quilts with a lot of white in them.
I agree that special unique things should be used every single day!!

02.25.2009 | Unregistered CommenterConcha

I'm so glad you now use this quilt, much as we like to preserve the past it would be a real shame for it to be locked away. I'd love looking at it everyday and noticing all the intricacies about it. I only hope my own creations last as long and stand the test of time!

02.25.2009 | Unregistered Commenteraneela

Quilts are amazing! I just love them. Especially ones made by my great grandmother!

02.25.2009 | Unregistered CommenterChloe

Great grandmother would indeed be so very pleased. Brings a smile to my face, too.

02.26.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie Pazoo

It is so beautiful. I'll bet she would not even imagined that it would be enjoyed generations later!

02.26.2009 | Unregistered CommenterJulie

what a lovely treasure to have in the family! thanks for sharing it with us x

02.27.2009 | Unregistered Commenterevie

We have a quilt from my husband's Great Grandmother. It was probably made in the 60s, judging by the fabrics. But it is such a nice keepsake. We have it in a box because my husband fears our small children would stain or tear it. The quilt even has a small spot of Great Grandma's blood on the back. Grandma tells us that Great Grandma loved to quilt, but always managed to stick herself at least once while making one.

03.2.2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

We sleep in homemade quilts. There is something sweet about sleeping under something that was made with so much love and care.

03.4.2009 | Unregistered Commenterleaca

I just wanted to express how much I enjoyed this blog about "The Quilt" =) Thank you

03.22.2009 | Unregistered CommenterYvette

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