Blogger’s Quilt Festival – Fall 2011

Once again, the wonderful Amy, over at Amy’s Creative Side, is hosting the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. I don’t know of any other such fabulous quilt show you can attend in your jammies and peruse at your own pace. It’s wonderful!

As usual, she has lots of great sponsors offering up wonderful prizes, and I’m proud to be one of them, so don’t miss your chance at the prizes.

This time, I’m showing you a quilt I made way back in 1998. It’s called “Always a Mother”, and I made it for my grandmother for her 83rd birthday. When my mother passed away when I was only 6 years old, her mother, my grandmother, took on the (dare I say not so pleasant sometimes) task of helping our father raise me, my 2 brothers, and my sister (then only 6 days old). So throughout most of my life, she was much more of a mother to me than a grandmother.

Her favorite color was pink, so I chose a pretty pink floral focal fabric for this quilt, and then a few coordinating pieces to go along with it, but the fabric is not the main part of this quilt. It has photos on it . . . photos of my grandmother, my grandfather, and their 3 children, at various stages of their lives. 

The quilt has some cross-stitched sections, some embroidered sections, some ribbon embroidery, some applique, some beading, and lots of buttons, many of them from the button collections of my mother and grandmother themselves. It measures 56″ x 56″ square.

In addition, the quilt also has on it several little charms and mementos that have special meaning to the family, such as my grandfather’s Lodge ring, a charm from a necklace that my mother gave me when I was 5 years old, a handkerchief from a long-time neighbor and friend of Mildred’s, and a brooch that belonged to Mildred’s mother, among other things.

There are also signature blocks from my 2 uncles, the two remaining children living at the time I made the quilt. My daughters both contributed to the making of the quilt, as well as some friends of mine who helped with the cross-stitch and ribbon embroidery.

I hand-quilted it, and in the outer border, I hand-quilted hearts. On the back side of the quilt, inside the hearts, I had the grandchildren sign their names. The distant ones I couldn’t get to sign in person, I signed their names in the hearts for them, so all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren at the time are represented on the back of the quilt. I put a photo of my grandmother and me together on the label, made the label into a pocket, and in the pocket, I put a map of the quilt that tells who the pictures are of, what all the various mementos mean, who contributed to the construction of each section, and any other notes about the quilt’s meaning and making.

I also included a handmade matching birthday card for Grandma. Then I took all the original photos that I had used in the quilt, and lots more that I couldn’t put in the quilt, and made her a scrapbook to go with the quilt containing all the pictures and other mementos that couldn’t be put in the quilt, such as my grandfather’s 8th grade diploma, his papers from his time in the Navy, her teaching certificate, and other such items that I thought needed a good way to be preserved.

My brothers and sister and I presented the quilt to her on her 83rd birthday, at a party held at her home just for close family. She cried when she looked it over. She then made a special place for it to hang on her bedroom wall so that she could always look at it. When she passed away in 2000, at the age of 85, she made sure that the quilt was returned to me, and I have it safely stored away, along with the special scrapbook.

Out of the hundreds of quilts I’ve made throughout my life as a quilter, I do believe that this one quilt is the one that holds the most meaning and tells the greatest story . . . a true labor of love. And I still miss her. Every. Single. Day.

Be sure and get over to the Blogger’s Quilt Festival and view all the other quilts. It’s a show you do not want to miss . . .

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Published in: on October 29, 2011 at 8:19 pm  Comments (14)  

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14 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow – what a wonderful story! Your Grandma is certainly up in Heaven still watching over you 🙂

  2. Shelly, what a beautiful memory quilt. There is such a special story behind this quilt. A true labor of love. And I’m so glad that she made sure the quilt was returned to you.

  3. That is a fabulous quilt and a great story Shelly. Bet you do miss her a lot and think of her often. That quilt was a great way to honor her on her 83rd birthday.

  4. Such a wonderful quilt, and I know she loved it. And you. I’m so glad that my grandmother and I got to meet her.

  5. So awesome that you got it back after she passed away. What an heirloom you have in this quilt. Thanks for sharing the tender story!

  6. This quilt is so amazing! I love hearing the story behind the making of this treasure. Such a cool way to remember a loved one and create such a precious family connection.

  7. Wah! I’m drowning here. Oh Shelly! That is THE most beautiful story of a quilt ever! That is truly a work of art…and heart. What a treasure! I know your grandma has got be so proud of you and of what you are creating each and every day. Thank you so much for sharing this precious part of your life with us! It’s truly amazing.

  8. Greetings from Hungary. The colors are beautiful. Very nice work.
    I made ​​a photo quilt

  9. Shelly I love the quilt! What an awesome gift and I am glad you got it back along with all the memories that go along with it. Big {{{Hugs}}}

  10. Shelly the quilt is so beautiful and the story is so touching. Your thoughtful use of the photos, keepsakes & the label pocket with the map of the quilt will make it a treasure for your family always. Your grandmother was an amazing and loving person and your life is a tribute to her.

  11. Shelly’s Grandmother has a special place in my memories also. Besides being such a well-groomed and prissy (this meant nicely) lady, she made the world’s best chicken salad. And she never let me and Shelly start off on a trip together without homemade supplies. Chocolate chip cookies, chicken salad. And we were grown (well actually I was nearing senior citizen status) ups who could well provide our own snacks for the road. But a mother’s heart just glowed out from within her even into her 80’s. No one had to take care of her. She was always caring for someone else. Sigh!! What a nice lady.

  12. Wow, what a really great story to accompany this quilt! It’s so touching and real. I love it. You are so lucky to have made it for her and now have it as an heirloom! Thanks so much for sharing!!

  13. What a wonderful quilt and what love it took to make it. I’m glad that such a personal gesture has come back to you.

    On a lighter note, when I read your bio with reference to Ellie May, I had to laugh. My little great niece, born 2 weeks ago, has been named Ellie May.

  14. That is such a special quilt. You can see the love and thought that went itno every detail.


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