Auntie Em’s quilt

I am not sure if my quilt qualifies for this festival   but I still would like to share the story of my quilt.   I grew up in a family where my mother quilted. We were tucked into bed in the evening under quilts that she had carefully sewn from her scraps. our fingers would run over the fabrics while we would recall whose dress this scrap was or which brother wore that particular shirt.

But this quilt is not one my Mom made or even one I made — I found it in a plastic bag at St Vinnie’s. I was looking for picture frames and I don’t even know what possessed me to walk down this aisle. It looked sad and a little dingy and the colors were not really my cup of tea but  I couldn’t bare to leave it on the shelf – not when I know the hard work that goes into making a quilt and the memories it holds. I put it in my cart to take home.

When I took my treasure out of the bag at home I discovered it was all hand stitched. Tiny careful little stitches on somewhat flimsy cloth. And many of the tiny squares were stitched out of scraps. Imagine not having enough material to make a square 1″x1″ and piecing the material together.  The colors brightened considerable when I hand washed the quilt.

I took my quilt to the local Ben Franklins  that has a wonderful quilting department and the ladies there confirmed what I thought — this was a feed sack quilt probable made in the 40’s. I wanted to add some sashing to the quilt to make it a little larger so I bought some yellow and some gingham and some prints to make squares with.

Below is one of the squares I made pieced on my old treadle sewing machine. while I worked on the quilt I imagined the lady who pieced this together I was in a small farming community when I stopped in the thrift store. So I imagined a farmer’s wife sewing in the evening while she listened to her children do their homework. All the while I worked I kept thinking of the line in Wizard of Oz when Dorothy says to Toto ‘I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore’. So I call this my Auntie Em Quilt and in the corner I embroidered where I found the quilt and how it was handstitched by someone I don’t know.

For the back I pieced some scraps and added them to some yardage I had bought at the quilt storeI even added a few pieces of a cloth rice bag I had to the mix.I sandwiched this with a cotton batt because it just seemed appropriate for the feed sacks.
The quilt now resides on our bed during the warmer months of the year because I know that is what Auntie Em would want.


  1. nitadances said,

    May 21, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    That is a lovely story! Thank you for sharing Auntie Em’s quilt!

    • whatzitknitz said,

      May 22, 2012 at 12:29 am

      I have found 3 old quilt tops or should I say they found me ; ).
      I rescue them and finish them and use them daily.

  2. citricsugar said,

    May 21, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    What a find! I loved how to tried to stay as true as possible to the original pieces… Lovely.

  3. Pat said,

    May 22, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    What a beautiful quilt, and a lucky find for you! I wish there was a category for best story because this one would certainly be a nominee. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • whatzitknitz said,

      May 23, 2012 at 3:15 am

      Thanks — I took some picture of 2 other tops that found me and I will have to share those too. I can’t imagine getting rid of something with so much family history in it. I can only imagine that the quilter had gone into a nursing home or something and a relative was left with clearing things out of the house. Thank goodness they gave them to charity!

  4. Julie Fukuda said,

    May 23, 2012 at 2:59 am

    I am a hand piecer and hand quilter and the day may come when a quilt top is left un-finished. I have spent the last hour reading about people persuing fabric lines and quickie machine piecing and I find your entry so very heartening. I agree with the comment above that this would fall into a catagory for the best story. Thank you for your story as well as your caring about an orphan top.

    • whatzitknitz said,

      May 23, 2012 at 3:21 am

      Wow I can only imagine the amount of work that goes into your quilts. It take me a long time just to treadle my blocks. I admire so many quilters hand work — it is so beautiful. I know my effort isn’t truly quilting and is a bit of a cheat since I am only finishing the beautiful tops I found. But I did want to share the quilt anyways because the fabrics are so interesting.
      I think tomorrow I will have to show another found treasure ; )

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: