Every now and then a quilt top travels a very long way to my studio.
For reasons unknown (why do we store quilt tops?!), her creation waited for a certain granddaughter to treasure many, many years later. This granddaughter wasn't a quilter, but desired to have an heirloom; a tangible reminder of the visits to a grandmother long past.
I get a few goosebumps whenever I load a quilt with history, such as this one! As I've said in earlier posts, when I work with vintage quilt tops I machine quilt them in the style of the era in which they were made, as closely to what a hand-quilter would have done had she finished the quilt.
So, for this quilt, I echoed around the appliqué in the tulip blocks and quilted a feather wreath in the feed sack blocks. I selected to echo around each wreath, not only to maintain a balance in quilting style, but density as well.
Here, you can see her borders when the quilt was loaded on the machine. Her brilliant choice of reproduction '30s fabrics was a perfect bridge between past and present, enabling me to continue the feather theme I quilted in the feed sack blocks. Piano keys with radiating lines in the corners were quilted in the outer border.
The neatest part about this quilt is that it is loved as a finished piece, not just hanging, waiting, and unappreciated. Granted, it would have been much more special had it been hand-quilted in Kansas decades ago. I gratefully own quilts from both my paternal and maternal grandmothers who painstakingly hand-pieced and hand-quilted them. One was a busy farm wife, the other the wife of a rural postal carrier - but more about their lives and quilts in an upcoming post. For now, my feelings are that you simply cannot have these cherished heirlooms without appreciating the woman that fashioned them, and the life they lived.
And so I am thrilled when a quilt such as this, with rich history just oozing from the fibers, stops at my door to visit for a while...
...it is another reason why I quilt.