Monday, January 23, 2012

Treasure Trove in a Cardboard Box...

This vibrant Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt top was among the pieces packed into a box and overlooked by family members when settling an estate. When it was eventually discovered, one of the family gave the box to her cousin, my quilting friend, Claudia. And Claudia brought the box to our quilting group for us to see and enjoy! To have the opportunity to pore over old quilts and blocks like these is such a treat. Nearly everything in the box (all uncompleted projects) was hand-pieced, which is a study in itself. But examining the fabrics and wondering about the quilter's fabric choices provided endless and enjoyable discussion. We all agreed that this quiltmaker had a sylish color sense. Her quilt tops were bright and happy.

Look at this GFG unit and the use of the check and plaid with the small floral print at the center of the flower. Some of the units were consistent in the use of matching fabrics in each successive ring of hexagons. You can see several more units that "match" in the photo above.

But there are just as many units that are random and more haphazard incorporated into the quilt top. I count 14 fabrics used in the hexagons at right. And there's that same pink floral at the center. I like the quiltmaker's "no rhyme or reason" approach to combining the pieces for her quilt. It adds to the carefree, make-do feel. Plus the choice of red for the "path" between units is unique. I'm not sure I've seen it used, or at least if I have, it's been infrequent.

Also inside the box were stacks and stacks of pieced blocks, many with a complex pattern like the ones below. The little LeMoyne Star blocks at the very bottom of the photo are only 5" or 6" square.



I plan to do some research to find the names of the other blocks. Most look familiar, but I can't quite come up with the names. However, the block with the four fan units in the corners... that's a new one to me. I don't think I've seen it used in a quilt before. Very pretty, and it just shows how versatile pieced units like fans can be... they can stand alone in Fan blocks, become Wheels or Plates, or form a different block design like this one. I have a copy of Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns that I haven't cracked open in awhile. I'll let you know what I learn, and will show more of these  tops and blocks in upcoming posts. What a delightful box of treasures!

5 comments:

Nancy said...

What a treasure box...I know your friend was beyond herself when she opened the box and discovered the old quilt tops and squares........

I love the happy fabrics that were used...so often old quilts are on the dark side and not as much fun to me a color lover.....

Is she planning to quilt the quilt and use the squares?
Good luck on finding out the names of the squares....

Donna, Doni, Lady D said...

WOW! Finding all that in a box would set me on my heels .. great find. Love the red background quilt - and all those interesting blocks ... you have as they say, hit the jackpot! It will be really fun doing the research. xoDonna

Robbie said...

So sad to think of all the quilts and unfinished projects out there that will never be 'found'! I love seeing these 'old' pieces and quilts! don't you wonder about the stories behind them!!

KarenQuilt said...

What a treat such a box would be to inherit!!! Just think how many UFOs are going to hit the secondary market or be passed on like this some day when we all pass on to that great Quilting Bee in the Beyond! They will wonder about us too someday. Shall we leave a note attached to each of our unfinished projects, leaving them hints of our life's journey? Wouldn't it be fun to come across such notes now from 75-100-150 years ago!

Anonymous said...

my mom had the four fan block with the red block in center. but hers had a round ball instead of the red block she call it the fans around the world. pattern . hope this helps
mildred