04 July 2015

Organization: Heirloom Quilts

Warning: LOTS of photos in this post! :)

Awhile back I posted that this summer I've been focusing on the enormous amount of stuff in my basement. I have been storing almost three full tubs of heirloom quilts down there, knowing that it was not the best place for them. Many were also encased in plastic zipper bags which don't allow the quilts to get adequate air circulation. So I'm happy to have moved them up and out of the basement and into my grandma's cedar chest! I know there are better ways to store quilts but this is definitely an improvement and the best place I have for them right now.

My goals for this project were simple:
Sort the quilts that I brought home from my parents' house
Combine them with the quilts I already had 
Verify that I still want to keep them all
Re-fold each quilt
Write and attach information tags

First, I cleared all the stuff out of the cedar chest and found new places to store it all. That's been the nature of this big project: It's always a domino effect when I try to fit all this stuff into more permanent storage!

I feel very fortunate to have my maternal grandma's cedar chest. Spouse refinished it several years ago. It really is a beautiful piece.

But quite frankly, I wasn't sure it was big enough to hold all of these quilts! I started by taking them all out of the plastic bags and going through them one by one.

Tinsel was my helper for the afternoon, and even she was alarmed! 

Believe it or not, I sold almost this many quilts at my parents' auction. My mom had a full closet of quilts -- more than I could ever keep. Before the sale, I went through all of the quilts with my aunt and my grandma, identifying as many as possible. As we did this, I wrote down everything they could remember about each quilt. 

Later in the summer I had a quilt expert come to the house and date the quilts so I could be sure of the age and identify any of particular value or significance. With that information in hand, I decided which quilts to keep and which to sell. Obviously, I kept the ones that I know for sure were made by family members plus a few others that I really liked.

 Some of the quilts have embroidered or cross-stitched tops. This one was made by my paternal grandma. My mom really liked it and hoped to use it one day.

This is a quilt I've had for a very, very long time. The fabric is extremely heavy. 

This is a really pretty quilt with an applique flower/butterfly motif. My maternal grandma often created her own quilt designs like this one.

  This quilt was made in the 1930's by my mom's grandma, who she lived with as a child. The quilt expert pointed out a couple of unusual things about it, including the spider-web quilting pattern.

When I was a little girl, my mom suffered from migraine-like headaches which would take take her down for several days at a time. On those days, she wrapped herself in this quilt which I'm sure was comforting to her, so I've always called it the "Headache Quilt".

 In addition to many full-sized quilts, I also have several smaller quilts or quilt-like pieces. This one is square and could be used as a table covering. It contains many blocks made from upholstery fabric, which tells me that my grandma made it using fabric scraps from the factory where she worked.

 I also have several baby quilts, some which were made for me and others which were made for my mom. I kept my favorites.

 I actually remember using this one as a child. Of course, it has a kitten motif!

I also have a few baby quilts with embroidery. This one has a Three Little Kittens design.

This one depicts the "Early to Bed" poem that many of us know. 

 In addition to finished quilts, I also have a few that are unfinished. My aunt took a couple of them home to complete. This particular top is not finished, so it's not ready for quilting yet. It's a bi-centennial quilt with a beautiful design.

I have two or three quilt tops that are ready for quilting, so I will take them to the quilt shop and see about getting that done. I actually remember some of the fabric from Grandma's dresses or aprons.

These quilt tops are very special to me, and I'm anxious to get them quilted so I can use them.

 Remarkably, all the full-size quilts and unfinished quilts fit nicely in the cedar chest! I put the baby quilts in a dresser drawer. Most of the quilts are now labeled so I won't forget the details!

 We are getting ready to re-do our master bedroom and I hope to figure out a way to incorporate some of these quilts. I definitely don't want to keep them shut in the cedar chest. They're meant to be used and appreciated!

It was a great feeling to finish this project and free up a little more space in the basement. Onward!

1 comment:

Kristina said...

Beautiful quilts! I have one very similar to your "Headache Quilt" that was given to me by my mother-in-law and made my her mother. I also have a closet full of quilts that my mother made me.