My grandmother Madge had exquisite sewing skills. She made clothing for herself, her children, and eventually her grandchildren. That must have added up to a lot of scraps, but quilting was not high on her list. As far as I know, this is one of the few quilts she made that has survived. According to my sister Jill, the resident textile historian in the family, it was constructed from the clothes of her three daughters. My mother, the oldest, was born in 1924, so I would guess these fabrics come from the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Although the quilt might be eighty years old, it is in surprisingly good shape. The nine patch squares have stretched and shrunk into rectangles and the color is faded, but you still get a good sense of the many cotton prints that made up her children’s wardrobes. I looked on line for patterns from that era and couldn’t find an exact match, except for the ubiquitous polka dots. One square has three different blue and white polka dot patterns! Some have a geometric Art Deco look to them, which I love. The bottom is a plain muslin, marked with beautiful, tiny, even stitches. Jill thinks our grandmother took it to her church to have it finished by the skilled hand quilters there.
As I prepare to send off this quilt to my daughter for her wedding next month, I treasure the historical meaning packed into these bits of fabric. My daughter can look at the quilt and imagine the clothes her beloved grandmother wore as a child. And I can remember my grandmother sewing, a love that she passed down to me.