Friday, November 5, 2010
this is the other lovely (an understatement perhaps?!) heirloom that i inherited from my grandparents on my recent trip home to Michigan. um, i don't have words....i'm just flabbergasted and awed and humbled by it's beauty and meaning and i feel incredibly honored that i get to take care of it until the next generation of our family comes along...hopefully someone who knows a bit about sewing and will appreciate all the hard work and talent that went into it!
the box was found in my great grandma ida's ceder chest upon her death and we're not certain if she worked on it or if it was in fact begun by her mother, fannie, who was known to be a bit more crafty in her time. my granny and i poured over the thing looking to identify certain stitches and styles and we both agree that it's probably likely more than one person contributed to it.
there are eight quilt blocks in all, some that have been embellished with embroidered top-stitching and some still left to do. they were all folded up neatly in this little old christmas box (which is totally going to have a place of honor among our christmas decorations although i bet my ancestors would laugh). can you believe that the needle was still stuck in one of the blocks, threaded and all?! and look at all that original floss and thread that we found in the bottom. my quilter self and my nerdy museum worker self is going nuts:
all of the pieces seem to be upcycled from silk ties, handkerchiefs, menswear fabrics, and a few knits, velvets, and tapestry pieces here and there. it's amazing to me how conscious they were of not wasting a single little scrap of fabric...check out those button holes from a men's shirt that was used to piece part of the back!
my museum trained self is afraid to touch it and i want to take my time in deciding how to finish it. my mind just reels thinking about ones similar to this that i've seen in textile museums! i talked to granny about wanting to be able to piece all the blocks together while keeping true to the original style but she said something that really struck a chord with me, "don't be afraid to add your own element to it, your own part of the quilt's story."