Monday, November 18, 2013

Quilts and Quills



November in the Midwest is cold, blustery, perfect weather to curl up under a quilt, comforter or afghan. Or better yet, wrap up in one when I'm writing.

I’m the proud owner of several of my mother’s quilts. Ruth loved God and saw and appreciated beauty in everything. She didn't start quilting until we kids were grown. But she was a hard worker who couldn't abide idle hands and made up for lost time with her amazing productivity. After she retired as a high school secretary, she would get up early to quilt and end the day quilting. Some days she would work on a quilt most of the day. I don't recall her complaining about back or neck pain. As a writer, I would love to know how she managed that. I’m sure if she’d been a storyteller she’d have written dozens and dozens of books. 

My mom’s quilts are all handmade. Not that she was a purist or even a perfectionist. More that she didn't have a sewing machine at that point and loved doing handwork. She used a round standing frame to quilt large projects. My father helped by cutting fabric and making patterns. How many of us use husbands as first or final readers or to brainstorm?   

When my mother made her first quilts she used fabric she had on hand, leftover from sewing projects or cut from old garments like housecoats—anyone remember them?—and recycled. Most of the quilts I own came from that period. For me these quilts are a walk down memory lane. I can’t help smiling when I spy snippets of the lavender floral fabric leftover from reupholstering a chair for my bedroom. If you look closely you can see this quilt is very tightly quilted. Not sure if it has a name. Anyone know?

  
Later, perhaps as she gained confidence or just ran out of old fabric, Mother bought material and her quilts had a planned color scheme. She made all six of her grandchildren a quilt for a wedding gift. Like my mom, I started small but over time spent a good chunk of money, time and effort learning craft.

She called this white quilt covering our guestroom bed a bridal quilt. One single piece of fabric was used for the top and bottom with batting in between, then quilted. Not sure what she used to get the width, maybe sheets. I assume the quilt wasn't made of pieced fabric to represent the bridal couple's unity. My dad made the dogwood pattern, a tribute to the trees that grow wild in southern Indiana. 



My mother finished this ocean wave quilt from blue fabric cut into triangles by her great aunt and passed down to her mother, my grandmother, then to my mom. The prints look and are old, probably c 1880 or earlier. Mother added, and then quilted the white triangles and blocks, suggesting that we might consider digging out those stories stashed under your bed. With a little work, the story might be worth salvaging. 



This log cabin king-sized quilt is one of the few quilts I own that my mother bought the fabric and coordinated the colors. She made two of this pattern. I wish I  had an actual count of all the quilts she made. Though friends asked to buy her quilts, she never sold one. For her, just having her family enjoy them was all that mattered. If you write for your own enjoyment, not for the goal of publication, that's right for you. If you'd like to see a book in print but are leery of puttng your name out there in contests, critiques or submissions, take the leap of faith.   



I don't know the name of this quilt, nor do I understand how it's made. There's some folding involved and stitching with floss to make those little rosettes. Anyone know this pattern? Our books have a pattern. A pattern that works. Story structure doesn't mean stories are all the same. Writer bring themselves into their stories, colored by their pasts, then create those twists and turns that make stories uniquing their own. 



 
This double bed size quilt is Dresden plate.
Most of my mom's quilts were queen or king. She also made lap throws, tablecloths using Grandmother's Flower garden pattern, place mats, valances, Christmas tree skirts, even coasters. My brothers have their share of the bounty. Every bed in my folks' house was covered with a quilt.   



 
My husband’s grandmother made the red
   and green Carolina lily appliqued quilt in the forties, one of several quilts she made as wedding gifts for her grandchildren. The batting in this quilt is pulling apart but I see no cotton seeds. As a small boy, my husband liked this quilt best but as the last born grandchild, he never expected it would be his one day. At Christmas we cover our kitchen table with this quilt and top it with plastic place mats. One thing I've learned, the next generation may not cherish what we do. We try not to misuse the old things we have, but we use them.
 
My husband’s mother pieced the top of this double wedding ring quilt, but once he was born, she was too busy to finish. In her later years she was in bad health and paid to have it hand quilted. In my novella “Last Minute Bride” Elise decorated the hall for Callie and David’s wedding reception with a double wedding ring quilt. At the time she had no idea of the pattern’s significance. My mother-in-law Lois was wonderful to me and a special Christian woman. I enjoyed honoring her in this small way by putting her quilt in a book.

Thanks for letting me share some very precious possessions and memories. These quilts are part of my mother, something she left behind. I admired and loved her with all my heart. I'm not a quilter but I like to think my books will leave a part of me with our children and grandchildren. Whatever talent God has given us, we can use it to bless others.  

If you are a quilter, share your favorite patterns. If you own family quilts, share your memories of the women who made them. If you know the name of the quilts I'm uncertain about, let me know. Those leaving a comment will be entered in a drawing for Wanted: A Family and "Last Minute Bride," Brides of the West anthology, along with a $10 gift card to Amazon. So three prizes in one. If you've already read the books and win, share them with someone.   
 
Janet Dean grew up in a family who cherished the past and had a strong creative streak. Her father recounted fascinating stories, like his father before him. The tales they told instilled in Janet a love of history and the desire to write. She married her college sweetheart, and taught first grade before leaving to rear two daughters, but Janet never lost interest in American history and the accounts of strong men and women of faith who built this country. With her daughters grown, she eagerly turned to Inspirational historical romance. Today Janet spins stories for Love Inspired Historical. When she isn’t writing, Janet stamps greeting cards, plays golf and is never without a book to read. The Deans love to travel and spend time with their family.

Visit Janet at her Website: www.janetdean.net and blog: www.janetdean.blogspot.com and group blog: www.seekerville.blogspot.com

     

    

118 comments:

Wendy Newcomb said...

The first quilt I made was for a benefit auction, I think I made one more full sized quilt after that but then made several baby quilts. My Mom used to quilt, hand quilt, she had the quilting frame and everything. Her favorite patterns were the Log Cabin and Drunkards Path because they could be made so many different ways and they turned out beautiful!

wfnren(at)aol(dot)com

Jenny Blake said...

I love the quilts. my mum knitted and she knitted lap rugs for people. I have the one she did for herself. I guess I never really used rugs so never had one made for me. She did strips of squares. the children's or baby ones had animals in every square and the adults had flowers. I have no idea how many she made but she would make them and give them away. I have a partly done one in the cupboard. As for quilts my neighbor makes them but the machine quilting ones. She is going to at some stage make me a memory quilt from my trip to the states (It may be a year or so down the track). I have the materials minus one of a squirrel. Glad you could honor your Mother in Law

CatMom said...

Wonderful post, Janet! Oh my---those quilts are beautiful. Your Mother was certainly a talented woman (just as YOU are talented with your writing).

I can't answer any of your "quilt questions" but learning to quilt is on my wish list of things I want to learn (along with crocheting!).
My Mama did some quilting and lots of sewing (and other crafts). I miss her so much, and wish I had inherited her seamstress talents.

Thank you again for sharing this post and these beautiful quilt photos (and I think it's wonderful that you're actually using the quilts--rather than keeping them put away all the time!).
Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo

Marianne Barkman said...

Love those quilts, Janet. My mom is like that...has to be always doing something! A number of years ago she was going through one of her chests and found some embroidery blocks she had started when I was young, and had never finished it. Her mother helped her with choosing colors, and she died in 1972. The quilts Mom has made are all hand embroidered, hand quilted. The ones she made with my great-aunt are log cabin, etc. now Mom alternates between knitting, quilting, and so on with lots of reading I between!

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Oh, just beautiful!

I own a few old quilts but one that's really special to me is a baby quilt. My great grandmother made the top piece (flower garden pattern, I think it's called) and then was too busy to finish it. My grandmother found it in a trunk and she and my mother finished it, giving it to me for my first child's birth. Around the edge is stitched the names of the 3 generations of woman who quilted it, plus my name and my daughters. Five generations of my family are in this quilt and it's precious to me!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Janet, what a treasure trove walk down an historical path! Oh, I love this, and I love the stories behind the quilting scene...

Imagine a quilt series, with each quilt a different couple, a different story, a different time period. There's some story weaving right there.

Virginia, I have a baby quilt, too. My mother didn't sew but she did bake in her younger years and every month she'd make something delightful for Grandma and Aunt Isabelle to take to their Rebekah Lodge meeting. When someone heard she was expecting me, they made her a Sunbonnet Sue baby quilt. I used it for Beth and then passed it on to her for her first baby... who is, of course, a boy. :)

But what a treasure you have! I love that Mom and Grandma finished it. Precious!

Cindy W. said...

Thank you for sharing the pictures of all your wonderful quilts. My maternal grandma quilted most of her life until her eyesight went bad. She made a quilt for each of her daughters and granddaughters. Mine is the Bear Paw (she knew I loved bears) and it is absolutely beautiful.

After my husband and I were married we were given the opportunity to take some of the things his mother had left behind. His brother and sister-in-law didn't want the quilts so we became the proud owners of six of her beautiful quilts. They were all new and so we have passed on two of them, one to our niece and nephew and the other to my brother. I'm not sure of the patterns but they are all so beautiful.

I love to look at my quilt as I see my grandma's dresses in it and it brings back wonderful memories.

On Thanksgiving, we go to our friends home as they have a huge family and we have been adopted into it. Their oldest son married a wonderful girl who was raised Amish. This Thanksgiving her mother and father are joining us and her mother is going to show all of us who are interested how to quilt. I'm excited!

I would love to be entered into your giveaway.

Smiles & Blessing,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Jackie said...

I have the first quilt my grandmother ever made. And I have one from my dad's aunt. Like you I treasure these family heirlooms.

I love curling up with a quilt.

Your ocean wave quilt is beautiful. I've never seen a quilt like that before.

Thanks for sharing.

Glynna Kaye said...

Beautiful quilts, Janet, with wonderful memories! I've only made ONE quilt--a log cabin pattern. But I have a friend who is a MASTER quilter and just finished a gorgeous king-size "wedding ring" design one for her daughter's wedding gift. My friend works full-time, so I think she said it took 18 months. So much love in each and every stitch.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning JANET, I love how you wove the quilts into some great writing tips. Thanks.
And what gorgeous quilts. I hate to sew so I am in awe of anyone who can quilt. I have several friends who quilt. One travels a lot so she makes a quilt of her travels. My favorite is one of the animals in Africa.
Annette Mahon is a mystery writer friend who quilts and she puts one of her quilts in each of her mysteries.

Mary Hicks said...

Thank you, Janet, for sharing your beautiful quilts! I have several old quilts that my mother made. I treasure them!

Mom quilted simply to keep her large family warm. :-)

I have a full size crocheted spread that my husbands grandmother made. Oh the time involved! Probably as much or more time than writing a book.

Janet Dean said...

Wendy, I'd think making your first quilt for a benefit auction had to add pressure, but what a lovely thing for you to do. How long did it take you to make?

Fun to share the art of quilting with your mom. I love the Drunkard's Path pattern!

Janet

Connie Queen said...

Janet, your mom's quilts are absolutely gorgeous. And she didn't simply make the easy ones. I've quilted a little, and I would never try to the plate or the flower one because it would be full of puckers. It takes patience.

After struggling to finish of larger quilts (just like my writing!!!)I made a few wall-size-hanging quilts. I LOVEd it. I could absorb myself in quilting for several days, but didn't hate it by the time I completed it.

I've considered quilting again for my grandkids. You've inspired me.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jenny!

At first I thought the knitted lap rug was what we call an afghan. Except what I'm thinking of doesn't have pictures.

A memory quilt of your trip to the states will be so much fun! Hope you're able to find material with a squirrel on it. Will this be animals you saw in the states?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Patti Jo. Bless you for your sweet words. You're such a lovely encourager! That's definitely one of your gifts.

I so relate to missing your mom. I'm sure yours was a very special woman.

I quilted a pillow top, the churn pattern. I kept pricking my finger and bleeding on the fabric. LOL I found quilting tedious. But we're each unique with our own gifts and passions.

Hugs, Janet

CaraG said...

“Cathedral Windows” is the name of the lovely quilt you asked about, the one with the folding. At least that’s what I've heard it called all my life. From what I understand it’s a pattern for the experienced quilter.

I have a quilt that was made by my great grandmother and her mother. It’s not quilted by the standards of that time because my great-great grandmother’s stitches were too long and uneven. The family story goes that her arthritis came about because of her fording an icy river during winter to get to the mill where she had corn ground to feed her young family. My great-great grandfather was away fighting in the War Between the States.

I have other family quilts, too. Each reminds me of the woman/women who made them, some I know only through their stories passed down along with the quilts.

Your quilts are beautiful. You’re mother must qualify as a master quilter.

Thanks for a lovely post.

Rose said...

Janet,

Those quilts are beautiful.

My mom made most of her quilts by hand because she was a puriest. As her health detoriated, she still sewed the tops by hand, but had a woman machine quilt them.

The double wedding ring is one of my favorites.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Marianne! Thanks for sharing your mom's many talents! Did she finish the blocks and make them into a quilt? Embroidered quilts are beautiful! And time consuming!
Glad to hear she still finds time to read!

Janet

kaybee said...

JANET, nice post. Writing is a unique venture, but at the same time it has so much in common with other forms of creativity. I'm a fan of Jennifer Chiaverini's "Elm Creek Quilts" series, one of the few secular series I follow, and am fascinated by what quilts and quilting really meant to women in earlier times, from a way to express themselves creatively to a way to pass down family lore, and to life-or-death situations like the Underground Railroad. Please enter me in the drawing.
Kathy Bailey

Janet Dean said...

Hi Virginia. Your baby quilt is precious indeed! What a keepsake!! Grandmother's flower garden is a beautiful pattern.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Ruthy. A quilt series is a great idea! Could work for historical and contemporary stories. I have a friend whose husband makes quilts with bold patterns and colors.

Nice that you've passed along your Sunbonnet Sue baby quilt. I'm sure your grandson didn't mind hanging out with a girl. :-)

Janet

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Janet, love the pics and post.

My first quilting project was a 12"x12" Mexican Star Quilt Block I machine-stitched for a local fair one year. It garnered a 1st Place Red Ribbon. (In Canada a blue ribbon is for 2nd place.)

With that encouragement I began a baby quilt but set it aside because of pregnancy complications and it was years before I returned to it. When I took it up again, the arthritis in my fingers interfered with holding a needle for the quilting part.

I went back to writing and although the typing keeps the arthritis at bay, I find I'd rather be writing than quilting.

Janet Dean said...

Morning, Cindy W! I wasn't familiar with the bear paw pattern so I looked it up online. It's gorgeous and perfect for you!

Your Thanksgiving gathering will be such fun! Amish quilts are prized. You will learn how to quilt from a pro.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Jackie. Another thing I appreciate about quilts besides their beauty and warmth is the time required to turn snippets of fabric into a quilt. Even machine stitched, quilts can take months to make. Nice that you own two handed down from your family!

Janet

Jeanne T said...

Janet, these quilts are amazing! I love looking at them. After I married, I thought I would try my hand at learning to quilt, but it never happened. I love hearing about yours, though.

And I love the way you applied quilting to writing as well. Thanks for sharing a bit of your own family history. Sooo fun!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Glynna! I had no idea you quilted. I'm impressed! Any idea how long it took to make your log cabin quilt?

I'm sure your friend's wedding ring quilt will be cherished by her daughter. No doubt it will be her favorite wedding gift.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Sandra! I'm like you, I can't imagine spending months quilting, but then, I'm sure non-writers would feel the same about sitting at the computer writing a book.

The African animal quilt has to be stunning!

Would be fun to see how Annette Mahon weaves quilts into her mysteries.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Mary H! You make a wonderful point. Quilts have a practical purpose too. My grandmother made comforters from squares of fabric and tacked the centers with yarn. They were much quicker to make but not as beautiful as quilts.

I'm trying to picture your crocheted bedspread. I wish we could all post our keepsakes!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good morninng, Connie. Thanks! The one pattern my mother didn't attempt was the Texas Star. She thought getting the points perfect without puckers would be too hard.

Congrats on making that wall hanging. Smaller projects are far less daunting. I'm sure it's beautiful! Baby quilts or a throw to wrap up in would make lovely gifts for your grandkids!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Cara G!!! Thanks for providing the name of my mom's folded quilt! Just love the name.

Thanks for sharing your great-great grandmother's fascinating story! Did her husband make it back from the Civil War?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Rose. I'm impressed with the drive your mom had to make quilt tops when she was in poor health. She was a purist and passionate about making quilts. We need that passion to write stories, too.

Janet

Kav said...

Loved this post Janet and your writing analogies as well. What a rich legacy your mum left her family. Amazing quilts! I can't believe she didn't go blind quilting on the all white one. Ouch!

I've made a number of quilts but never hand quilted any of them. Machine quilted and embroidered yes, but hand quilting -- ugh -- I think I'd butcher it. I've also started making the quilt tops and sewing them into duvet covers. Cheating I know, but Canadian winters are cold and down comforters are best!

My favourite pattern is Trip Around the World but that's probably because it's easy to do and very fun to watch the shading develop as you stitch it together.

Right now I'm trying to get a lap quilt finished for my daughter for Christmas. Her grandpa passed away several years ago and I saved his plaid work shirts with the idea of turning them into a comforting memory quilt for her. Alas, I'm just getting around to it now and praying I'll get it finished by Christmas.

Sherri Shackelford said...

Gorgeous! You have a very talented family :)

Janet Dean said...

Hi Kathy! Thanks for your excellent points about the importance of quilts and for mentioning The Underground Railroad. I have a book entitled Hidden in Plain View. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but am fascinated that quilts were used to guide runaway slaves to safety.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Anita Mae. What an accomplishment to win a first place ribbon with your first attempt at quilting! Sorry about the arthritis but glad that typing helps keep your hands limber! Writing wins hands down. :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jeanne T. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the post. Was fun for me to share the special quilts and the women who made them.

Janet

Jackie Smith said...

Thanks, Janet, for sharing the beautiful pics of your quilts...love them!
I have some of my Mom's quilts and cherish them.....I use them on all beds....there is something extra warm about quilts....memories maybe?!
I would love to be entered in your giveaway.

Janet Dean said...

Good morning, Kav! Machine quilting is a convenience and no more cheating than writing on a computer instead of by hand. :-)

I love the Trip around the world pattern! My brother owns that one and the small snippets of colors are stunning, like a stained glass window.

Love that you're using your daughter's grandpa's plaid work shirts to make her lap quilt! Brilliant idea! Will be gorgeous and extra warm. Pulling for you to get it finished before Christmas!

My mom made my running brother a quilt from T-shirts given to him at races. Never saw it but he loved it.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Sherri! I agree. My parents were very creative and honestly, I think they could do anything. Very talented with their hands. I have one brother who paints.

Janet

Mary Connealy said...

Those are so beautiful, Janet.
Wow, what precious memories contained in those quilts.

I look at them and marvel that anyone had the patience to sew something that intricate and yet our books.

Thousands of words....hours and hours....years and years spend creating them. What about the patience to do that?

It's a creation all it's own.

This was beautiful.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jackie S. You could be right about those memories making quilts extra cozy.

Thanks for your interest in my giveaway.

Janet

Mary Connealy said...

I have three old quilts in my cedar chest. My mother-in-law gave them to me and I believe her father's mother made them, so they are really old. A few battered places so I keep them stored away, not sure what I'm saving them for exactly.

It's a shame not to display them and yet they wouldn't hold up to much.

Myra Johnson said...

Beautiful quilts, Janet! What precious heirlooms!

The quilts I inherited from my mother, alas, have been used often and so are no longer in pristine condition. But they are special to me nonetheless.

The only quilting I've ever attempted was from my daughter's T-shirt collection--swim team, band, travel, etc. I cut out the prints on the shirts in equal-sized squares, then sewed them together and added backing and stuffing. The quilt is very soft and a fun cover to lay out on the floor for grandbabies to crawl around on!

Meghan Carver said...

The quilts are gorgeous, Janet! What an incredible heritage! I have made a couple of quilts, but nothing as elaborate or beautiful as those you shared. I would love to quilt more, but I don't have time to quilt and write. Writing wins. :)

Donna said...

Janet, your mother was certainly talented. I don't think I have ever seen quilts that beautiful!

Hours of love obviously went into them.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

I'm with Cara. The Cathedral Window pattern is your mystery quilt.

I love the quilts I have. The best one isn't a family quilt but one where I found the maker had secretly stitched her name, age and date in the quilt, in the quilting not as separate embroidery.

Sarah, age 11, 1881.

My sister and I had a cow when she found that after we returned from the antique show with my purchase. The guy didn't know what he had. It was just an old ugly olive, gold and brown nine patch to him.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

PS. I have a Carolina Lily too. My mom divided the quilts before she died and I got the CL because I live in NC.

What treasures you have.

Amy C said...

I love love love those quilts. They are SO beautiful!

Debby Giusti said...

Janet,
Loved the pictures of your quilts. Each so beautiful and such works of art.

I have a very old quilt stitched by my great-great grandmother and her daughter. They lived on the frontier, in Indian territory. One story passed along with the quilt is the women had to hide in the cellar when my great-great grandfather was gone and unfriendly Indians circled their cabin.

I have a number of other quilts and quilt tops that need to be completed. Perhaps a future project. Or maybe not. :)

Debby Giusti said...

When we lived in Germany, the wives group that I led made a memory quilt for me as a farewell gift. It's such a treasure. Each square holds a special remembrance of our three years in Aschaffenburg.

Natalie Monk said...

These are gorgeous quilts and beautiful memories! Thank you for sharing them with us, Janet!

Heidi said...

What amazing quilts! They are treasures. My great-grandmother quilted in that style, but all my memories of quilting are with her daughter, my grandma, who uses a simpler method of tying quilts with yarn but practically mass-produces them and gives them away to anyone and everyone for any event or no reason at all :) I have such sweet memories of sitting at the quilting frame with her over the years.

Thanks for the giveaway!!!

Jenny Blake said...

Janet you may also call them knee rugs. the baby ones would fit on a baby's crib.

The memory one is more in the Red Whites and Blues. More of the American materials (which happen to be my colours too). I have a few army ones and a bear one. But as I love squirrels would love them too. I had people I meet sign a piece of calico which will be added to the quilt also. I am hoping to add some photos of some of the places like Gettysburg and of the groups of people I met.

up early couldn't sleep well. I now have a cold on top of my headache issue. One day want to see the dr and go I feel great but it won't be today.

Debby Giusti said...

I remember your quilt squares, Jenny! I know it will be lovely.

Sorry about your cold.

Quilting Tangent said...

Your quilts from your family are lovely. I have 1 from my Dad and 1 from his sister.
24Tangent@gmail.com

DebH said...

The quilts are gorgeous. What a family gift to treasure. I made my first doll quilt around 7. It was in a girls Bible study my mom held for us little girls. We always learned some "woman" skill as part of the Bible lessons. Happy memories there. That's the only quilt I've done.

I did learn to crochet. My birth father's mom crocheted to stave off arthritis. Everytime I visited, she'd give me an afghan. I treasure them. She was one special woman who taught me how to grow old gracefully. She died the same year as Pope John Paul II, which seemed apropos since she'd met him personally twice and he'd remebered her by name tbe second time.

Loved this post! Please put me in the draw.

Janet Dean said...

Mary, so true! I'd love to know how many hours are actually involved in writing a novel. Guessing it varies but is impressive. To create anything worthwhile takes time.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Mary, most old quilts got a lot of use. Do you know the patterns of those three quilts?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Myra! Did your mother make your family quilts? Not pristine means they've been well loved.

I'm impressed you made a T-shirt quilt. Anything made from T-shirts has to be cozy!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Meghan. Well, said! Writing wins for me, too. Far better to bleed on the page than to bleed on the quilt backing. LOL Though some writers say that doing hand work like knitting helps them think through their story.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Good afternoon, Donna! Thank you! The quilts were a labor of love for my mom. I really enjoyed sharing them today!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Julie HS. I'm blown away that an 11-year-old girl could hide her name and the date in the nine-patch quilt. What a treasure! Is it in good condition? Wouldn't you love to know more about Sarah?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Amy C. Thanks! They are photogenic! :-)

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Julie HS, what colors did the quilter use in your Carolina Lily quilt? My mother never appliqued but I do love that pattern.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Debby! What a fascinating story to go with the quilt. At the time of your great-great grandparents incident where was the frontier?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Debby, your memory quilt is a perfect remberance from your time in Germany! Was it embroidered? They had to admire and love you as much as we do to go to all that trouble!

Janet

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

I so loved sharing the quilts with you, Janet. Thank you! These are beautiful ties to the past and the gorgeous handwork. Wawzah!

My Great Grandmother quilted, and my Grandmother too. Mom did a little but she developed arthritis fairly early and wasn't able to continue. I used to enjoy needlepoint and some cross-stitch but don't make the time any more. Sigh.

Love doing it though.

It's just like you to weave the writing life into this post. It just fit!

Thank you again!!!

Janet Dean said...

Hi Natalie! Thank you! My mom would've loved sharing them with everyone.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Heidi! Comforters are faster and easier to make and really warm! Love your sweet memory of sitting at the quilting frame with your grandmother!

Janet

Debby Giusti said...

My maternal grandmother was from Ohio, but I'm not sure how far west that particular family traveled. I have a letter tucked in with the quilt. Need to get it out and refresh my memory.

My mother's father had a cousin who had many quilts that her mother had made. She didn't have children and lived in DC, far from the Ohio relatives. Her name was Fanchion, and she wrote poetry with peacock colored ink. A cutie with rosy cheeks. She loved nice jewelry and her quilts. When we lived in Norhtern VA, we'd visit often, and she'd always show off her quilts...almost as many as you have, Janet. She gave me one for a wedding gift. A precious gift I still treasure!

Debby Giusti said...

My German memory quilt was embroidered and appliqued. They included squares for the countries we visited and special events that occurred while we lived there. As you can imagine, I was deeply touched when they presented it to me.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Jenny! Red, White and Blue is perfect for memory of your travels in the States! Can you pick your favorite site?

So sorry about that cold! Hope you start feeling better soon!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Quilting Tangent! From your name, I'd say you quilt. What's your favorite pattern?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi DebH!

I'm impressed you made a doll quilt at age seven! Just threading the needle is tricky. You must've had a lot of patience!

I have an old doll quilt that belonged to my mother-in-law's baby sister who died at the age of three from a childhood disease we have vacinations for now. Her name Frances is embroidered across the little squares. I named a character in one of my books after her.

I never learned to crochet. I can knit a little and have made an afghan, even a baby sweater for our firstborn. The sleeves were way too long for her and the blanket was too small. I never again knitted anything that needs to fit. Ripping out all those stitches is way worse than revising a novel.

Janet

Jenny Blake said...

Gettysburg was my favourite site but the church at Virginia where Patrick Henry made that famous speech is a close second.

Thanks about the cold I see the dr today anyway so will see what she says to be honest I think its all due to being run down due to the constant headaches. I think the noise last week didn't help. I am over constantly being sick.

Janet Dean said...

Hi KC! Thanks for your sweet comments! I loved doing needlepoint, far more relaxing than cross stitch, at least for me. Before I wrote books I was a crafter. I think I've been through every phase imaginable from basketweaving to making feltkin Christmas ornaments to rubber stamping greeting cards. I still do the latter occasionally.

There were more. Anyone remember Holly Hobbie 3-D wall placks? Decoupage? macroame?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Debby, a letter to go along with the quilt really brings the quilter alive for you! Fun to think of Ohio and Indiana as the frontier.

The name Fanchion is new to me. Perfect for a poet! Do you know the quilt pattern she gave you for your wedding? It has to be old if made by her mother.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Wow, Debby! Your memory quilt sounds wonderful! And time consuming to make. Those ladies were special friends.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jenny, I haven't been to Gettysburg but would love to go one day! Is the church you describe in Williamsburg? Williamsburg and Jefferson's home Monticello are favorite historical spots.

Feeling bad gets very old! Hope you'll soon be on the mend. You're in my prayers.

Janet

Julie Lessman said...

OH. MY. GOODNESS!! What a FABULOUS post, Janet. I'm not a quilter and can't even sew a hem, but WOWZERS ... I loved this post my friend, to see all the incredible quilts your mother made!!

You know what, Janet??? I can see you self-pubbing a lovely, small gift book for Mother's Day, interweaving your mom's quilts with stories about moms or the wisdom and heritage they bring to their daughters. Titles might be something like "A Mother's Quilt of Love," or "A Mother's Patchwork of Love.

I'd pray about it, my friend, because these are flat-out GORGEOUS!! You could even promo it on quilting blogs ...

Holy cow, now I sound like Vince ... a good thing, mind you!!

Hugs,
Julie

Cheryl Baranski said...

Georgous quilts! I haven't learned to quilt yet. I have a pattern and the fabric, etc. I so want someone to teach me!

CherylB1987 AT hotmail DOT com

CaraG said...

Had to come back and look at the beautiful quilts again and to read everyone's stories. Glad I did.

What a treasure find for Julie Hilton Steele: Sarah, age 11, 1881. Women's history (herstory?) is so tied up in the items they produced. I collect old recipes for the same reason.

Yes, my great-great grandfather did make it home from the war. He was one of the lucky ones. Thanks for asking.

Wish everyone could have posted pictures of the quilts they described. Wouldn't that be a quilt show?

Again, thanks for a great post.

Cara Lynn James said...

Janet, those are such beautiful quilts! Your mother was so talented and productive.

Years ago when I lived in Vermont I owned a bookstore. There was a quilt shop in the back section of the shop. So I took several quilting classes and made log cabin and sampler quilts. They were made by hand. I enjoyed it a lot. But when my kids were small I didn't have time and when they were teenagers I switched to writing.

Debby Giusti said...

I like Julie's idea and want to pre-order a copy today!!! :)

Jenny Blake said...

Woops I meant the church in Richmond Virginia. St Johns I think. The lady telling the stories there was so good I could have listened all day.
We went to Montacello and Mt Vernon. I like Mt. Vernon more cos of the view. Both are lovely places.

For people it would be Atlanta meeting a few from Seekerville, Spokane meeting LI readers and authors and of course meeting my friend Sheri for the first time in Chattanooga (even if she left me waiting it was like we were friends who lived in the same area and meet each over often didn't feel like I meet her for the first time. We both felt the same way).
Best animal well its a toss up. Mamma bear and 3 cubs just trumps the squirrels.

Jenny Blake said...

PS back from Dr. I was telling her how I wanted my mum last week and I worked out why.

When you are younger and sick your mother will be there to look after you and tell you it's going to be alright. That is what I needed and still need.

just before I go my dr says Its going to alright. It felt good I know she cares and as she said we have plenty of scope to work with with these meds I am on.

Janet Dean said...

Hi Julie! Love your enthusiasm, girl!!! I haven't thought of writing an non-fiction but who knows where God will lead? Especially with you praying.

Where is Vince? And Walt? Surely not boycotting my mom's quilts.
;-)

Janet

Pam Hillman said...

Wow, Janet, your mother was an amazing quilter! Beautiful work!!!

I'll have to show your pictures to my mother and her friends who quilt. A couple of those patterns are new to me, but they might recognize them. I'm not a quilter although I have quilted (just a little bit).

When I first married, the older women at my husband's church still gathered during the winter months and quilted. We received a double-knit hand-stitched quilt top for a wedding present, and I wanted it hand-stitched.

The women set up their quilting frame in the empty parsonage and quilted for several weeks. The had soup on the stove most nights and after I got in from work, I would join them and they'd let me quilt a bit.

My husband would drop by, but his first stop was the pot of soup on the stove.

I've never used this particular quilt because it is heavy as LEAD! But if we were out of power and it was 10 below, you'd better believe I'd whip it out and snuggle under it! lol

Janet Dean said...

Hi Cheryl,

Check at your local fabric store. If they don't offer lessons, they may know someone who does. They may also help you get started or guide you to How To books. My mom bought some plastic templates to trace with a washable marker, then quilt. Some quilting stores may cut the fabric for you if you buy it there.

I think my mom just dove in and made the first one. Kind of like writing my first book. What I didn't know would fill volumes but I did get it done!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks for stopping back, Cara G! Good to hear your great-great grandfather made it home after the war. My dh's did too, but he died not long after from dysentery. Sad to die that way. We have a couple of his letters that he wrote to his wife. Even found his grave a few years ago.

I also wished Villagers could share photos of their quilts! I'm sure technology will allow that one day.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Cara! I didn't know or forgot that you owned a bookstore in Vermont. What was the name of your shop? Wish I could've stopped in.

With a quilt shop in the back you had a great opportunity to learn. I'm impressed you quilted by hand!

Janet


Janet Dean said...

LOL, Debby! Amazon may get wind of this and start allowing preorders before the book is written!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jenny, I'm so impressed by how much of the US you've seen in your travels! Wish I could've been in Atlanta to have lunch with you on your way though. Know you all had a great time!

Where did you see the Mama Bear and cubs? The Smoky Mountains?

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jenny, your doctor sounds like a compassionate woman. Trials are never fun. Wish this was a quick fix for you. But, remember you're cared about here in Seekerville.

Hugs, Janet

Janet Dean said...

Pam, what a sweet story of the love of your church for a new bride and groom! Soup and quilts are a perfect combination.

Those large quiltign frames take a lot of room. My mother never used one but I've seen them.

Janet

Piper Huguley said...

Janet,

Your quilts are beautiful. My mother had a quilt from my great-grandmother that I want to lay claim to when I get back. Your mother must have had a lot of patience. I tried a quilting class and it didn't work out too well. On a baby quilt yet!

No need to enter me into the drawing--I own and have read your wonderful books.

Piper

Jenny Blake said...

the mamma bear and 3 cubs was in the blue ridge mountains. It was really peaceful there too.

Walt Mussell said...

Sick as a dog and in bed, but I needed my daily dose of Seekerville. Janet, no one in my family quilts. You mother left you with a beautiful memory.

I already have all of your books. However, one of the writers at GRW is starting to collect inspirational books for women's shelters. I know exactly where to send your books.

Jenny Blake said...

Walt sorry you are sick I know its the pits

Janet Dean said...

Good evening, Piper. Thanks for your lovely words about my books!

I can relate to not being bit by the quilting bug. :-)

My mom had persistence, energy and passion for whatever she did.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Jenny, How exciting! I love seeing bears in the wild, especially from afar. :-) Mama Bears are very protective of their cubs.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Walt, I'm sorry you're sick! Hope you're feeling better tomorrow! Surely you will after a dose of Seekerville, always good medicine.

Janet

Debby Giusti said...

Walt, sorry you're sick. Lots of bugs going around Georgia. My daughter and grandson have both been ill.

Get well soon!!!

Great idea about the inspirational books to women's shelters. A good cause, for sure!

Audra Harders said...

That was such a touching tribute to the women who made your memories into something to share with us.

Wow.

I love the quilts. Such talent; such heart in every one. I so envy anyone who can dedicate the time and patience that goes into sewing a queen or king size quilt. AND BY HAND, NO LESS!

I loved this post, Janet. Thank you for sharing such a special part of your life with us.

Chill N said...

Janet, I haven't read the other comments yet but must tell you 'thank you' for such a marvelous post -- and gorgeous photos. What a lovely tribute your memories are. As I read about your mother, her learning process, it reminded me of my mother, who didn't start quilting until she retired. Every child and grandchild has a quilt from her.

I can't wait to send the link for this post with a non-writer friend who also took up quilting after she retired. She will be delighted with these pix.

Thank you for sharing such special thoughts.

Nancy C

Mary Preston said...

The quilts are just so incredibly beautiful. No one in my family quilts. I wish they did. I would ask them to teach me.

Bookishqueen said...

My Grandparents bought me an Amish made quilt. I'm not sure what the pattern is, but it is pretty.

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Audra! I'm just as mind boggled as you that my mom made such large quilts!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Nancy! Our moms shared an amazing passion for making quilts. And thanks for sharing the link with your friend. I hope she finds the pictures inspiring.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Thanks Mary P! Hope you find someone who can help you learn to quilt.

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Bookishqueen! An Amish quilt is a lovely gift from your grandparents. If you're interested in discovering the pattern, you could check online.

Janet

Terri said...

Janet, the quilts are gorgeous and such a treasure for you and your family. So beautiful, they tempt me to quilt!

Mindy Hardwick said...

These are gorgeous quilts and what a family legacy! Thanks so much for sharing all the pictures. It makes me want to learn quilting!

ebookauthor said...

Love your quilts, Janet. Your mystery quilt is indeed Cathedral Window. Once in my innocent youth I decided to make a quilt, and I started with that particular pattern. Of course, I had never quilted anything in my life, but both my grandmothers were seasoned quilters, so I figured I had the quilting gene in my blood. Wrong. I got one square finished and was so exhausted and confused I never touched it again. Perhaps now that I'm much older, wiser, and much more versed in quilting, I might try it again. I love that pattern.
Connie

Janet Dean said...

Thank you, Terri. Always good to see you here!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Mindy,

Thanks for stopping by!

Janet

Janet Dean said...

Hi Connie,

I hope you'll give Cathedral Window another try. It's one of my favorite patterns.

How many quilts have you made?

Janet

Missy Tippens said...

Beautiful, Janet!! I'm sorry I didn't get by yesterday to see them. My sister is a quilter. She will love these photos!