Saturday, October 6, 2007


I have tried to get my husband to get my scanner down from the small ceiling crawl space for a few months now(I'm too short even on a ladder.) I can now post pictures of my older quilts, the ones where I only have a paper snapshot (remember them?)

I'll show you my first quilt, but first a little background story on how this began. I grew up in New York, exactly one block from New York City in the 50's and 60's. Quilting was on a big decline in those days. Although it was never said, it was kind of understood that quilting was something "Old ladies in the South" did. I had never seen a handmade quilt until I was in my twenties.

I had done embroidery since I was 6, and my great Aunt taught me to knit and everyone I knew was aware of that. I also liked craft magazines alot. A friend of my husbands bought me a magazine about quilts for my birthday. On the cover was a brown colored log cabin that I thought was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I HAD to learn how to do this (I couldn't figure out how to enlarge the patterns or how to sew them together.)

In 1973 I found a local quilt society close to home. They took in quilt tops, put them on large floor frames and quilted them for a fee. The money then went to charity. The lady who taught me how to hand quilt was at the time 94 years old. She was taught how to quilt by her grandmother when she was 6. I always felt like I was one step away from the pioneer women.

Unfortunately, none of the ladies there would teach me how to piece a top. They all said they didn't know how, they only did the quilting.

So I attempted to make a grandmothers flower garden. The hexagons were about 1 1/2 " across. I used the english paper piecing method, sewing everything by hand. I cut little paper foundations from the TV Guide paper, basted the fabric to it, and them whip stitched the hexagons together. It took forever. Needless to say, I didn't finish the quilt in 1974 when I started it.

I really had no idea what I was doing. The fabric came from all over the place, one of my old granny dresses (I'll know how old you are if you remember granny dresses), my mom's kitchen curtains, my sister's bed spread and some old men's shirts. I got many friends to give me a small pieces of fabric so I would always remember them (and yes, I do remember them when I look at the quilt.

I couldn't figure out how to finish off the sides so I appliqued strips of white on the top and sides. I bought a lovely white sheet in Sears for the back and Mountain Mist cotton batting.

I worked on this quilt on and off for years, getting frustrated and giving up on the whole idea of quilting until 1993. I was channel surfing on the TV when I ran across Kaye Woods who was making a Lone Star. She zipped through the fabric with a new fangled invention (rotary cutter and mat). WOW, I was hooked all over again. I bought a bunch f fabric and books and finally learned how to piece a quilt. I was also determined to finish my Grandmother's Flower Garden. You might notice that the corners are rounded. That's because I could not figure out how to miter the binding on the corner.

This quilt remains in the closet an is not used. It is far too loud for my current decor and I don't want to get it dirty. Who knows what will happen if I try to wash it.


katelnorth said...

Barbara, it's fabulous. Now, you know me, I am NOT a hexagon/GFG kind of girl, but that's truly an amazing quilt, and you should be proud of it :)

rubytuesday said...

I agree with the above comment. It is really a wonderful quilt. Aren't you glad you did it and aren't you glad it's done?