MCM #98 – A Link to the Past

So, apparently I was off in LaLa land last week. Yes, that is a real place. At least in my world… I totally spaced out and let Monday and Tuesday pass me by and didn’t even think about a Main Crush Monday post until Thursday. At that point I figured I would just wait, especially since I couldn’t turn back the clock and hop back to Monday. I hope you’ll forgive me!

My crush for this weeks MCM is a very special quilt, and I’m excited to share it with you.

Lately I have been honored to get to quilt and repair older quilts. While it’s fun to quilt more contemporary tops, and play with quilting motifs in a more modern way, working on older quilts helps me connect with this craft in a way nothing else can.

hand stitched piecing

The quilt I recently finished was pieced by my client’s husband’s grandmother. They found the top when sorting through boxes after his mother passed away. All the squares finish at approximately 2-1/2″, and every one of them is hand stitched.

hand stitched piecing

The design we chose to quilt on the top is a modified orange peel stitched on every other row. I used Omni Natural White thread on the top, and it just melts into the busy prints. I love that the quilting is barely visible. After all, the focus really should be on these fabulous pieces of fabric.

I used a small oval ruler for the quilting. The ruler work required me to touch every piece of fabric in the quilt. I was about half way through the quilting when the enormity of what I was doing hit me.

I began thinking about the woman who spent so many hours stitching those tiny squares together. Who was she? What season of her life was she in? Why was she making this quilt? Why was it never finished? And I began to really see each piece of fabric. Where did they come from? Were some of them pieces of her clothing? Was this one part of a blouse, or maybe an old dress? Maybe they were feedsack pieces. Or were some of them scraps given to her by other women? So many questions..

As my fingers skimmed over the top, I felt so connected to this woman and to the past. My hands were touching the very pieces she had touched. And I was overwhelmed that I was given an opportunity to finish this quilt for her family. Two women, years apart in time, working on the same project. Out of nowhere tears starting streaming down my face. I’m so glad no one was home to see me because I felt so foolish. I mean, who cries over a quilt?? Especially one that doesn’t even belong to me?

As I thought about it, I realized that my emotion comes from knowing how attached the family is to this quilt and how special it is to them. My client will be gifting the finished quilt to her husband, and plans on displaying it proudly on her living room wall. His mother and grandmother have both passed, and this is a piece of them that he will always have.

This is a true scrap quilt, and it is beautiful in its simplicity. I love quilts that tell a story, and this quilt is part of a family’s love story.

Do you have a special quilt in your life?

Many thanks to Brenda and her family for letting me quilt this.

That is my crush for this week, now it’s time for you to share yours! What has you excited to be in your sewing space this week? You can link any blog post, Instagram or Flickr pic – here’s how:

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About Beth

I'm a wife, mother of two, and lover of all things crafty. I love to cook up new things in the kitchen and in my craft room, and sometimes get "licking the spoon" mixed up with "licking the fabric"!!
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22 Responses to MCM #98 – A Link to the Past

  1. Pingback: Colour Inspiration Tuesday: Christmas Stars | Clever Chameleon Quilting

  2. What a powerful story! Thanks for bringing us into the experience of this precious quilt finish. And as for LaLa land…. I think the orbits of LaLa land and Reality collide quite often this time of year! Glad you are back! 🙂

  3. Its beautiful – and what a treasured memory! The quilting really compliments it!

  4. I too enjoyed reading your thoughtful musings about this quilt’s origins. It is really remarkable to hold in your hand something someone else spent many hours making. A treasure for sure! and I love how you quilted it.

  5. I loved your quilt story. Your tears touched me. There is something about joining the past to the present that just captures your heart.

    I recreated a quilt made and designed by my Great Great Great Great Grandmother. I felt that tie to her every step of the way. I understand the raw emotions.

  6. Bernie says:

    I love that you were really present while working on this quilt. They do tell a story and how wonderful of you to honor that story – sharing it with us and rescuing this quilt for your customer. It just shows that you are really connected and gratified by the work you do.

  7. sometimes in life there is just something that touches you, and often it is the unexpected. There were a couple of unfinished knitting projects my mother left, and I so wish I still had them.

  8. Pingback: Quilting Withdrawal | Quilting Gail

  9. Susan says:

    How wonderful that you get to be a part of a quilt’s history – call you the Quilt Rescuer.

  10. I understand completely the powerful emotional connection you feel to this quilt! I had the honor to help a friend get finished four tops hand sewn by her great-grandmother over 100 years ago. I put some orphan blocks together into a lap quilt to show that the fabrics were able to be stitched and washed. Then she had a professional long armer complete the four queen size tops which she then gave to her sisters and her mother. Such a wonderful experience for them, and I was lucky to play a small part!

  11. What a special quilt and an honor to get to quilt it, Beth. The tears probably would have been flowing down my face as well. Beautiful quilting to compliment the design. I’m sure the family will treasure it and appreciate your work for years and years.

  12. rl2b2017 says:

    It turns out you weren’t the only person crying over this quilt, and I didn’t even get to touch it or feel the connection. But I have no doubt that you felt that connection with woman who worked so hard on it before it came to you to finish up. I often wonder about the story behind the older quilts I see. It is so wonderful that you are finishing this for this family. {{Hugs}} This is what quilting is all about. ~smile~ Roseanne

  13. Wowey zowey! That quilt! You were very brave. Perfect quilting motif. Were you able to do that continuously? It looks like it’s quilted diagonally.

  14. SarahZ says:

    How timely and motivating this post is, Beth! I am the keeper, and slow finisher of dresden blocks made by my great grandmother, which I am making into 5 quilts instead of one, for each of my sisters’ families! I have finished only one! Along with the dresdens, I have a small stack of her 9patches that I recently added to thru an IG vintage sale! Having these projects to finish has caused me to cast an eye on my own projects, wanting to finish what I begin, to leave as little undone as possible, if that IS possible!! I am with you in the emotional connections that naturally accompany these darlings. xo!

  15. Jayne says:

    There is no denying the power of a quilt! They have stories to tell, hearts to heal and bodies to comfort. Foolish for crying…it shows you have a heart and compassion. I have three Sun Bonnet Sue blocks that my Grandmother made. They were probably the only thing she ever sewed! There were enough blocks for each granddaughter and great granddaughter and I have mine, my daughters and my mothers hanging proudly in my sewing room! Your client is going to LOVE this quilt! It will live on!

  16. What a special quilt. I know you were honored to be a part of it’s history. I would get sidetracked just looking at all the different prints. Thanks for hosting MCM!

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  18. I’m with Karen and Tish, my eyes were tearing up too as I read this. Every handmade quilt has a story, whether we get to hear it or not. Makes me realize I need to share the stories of the family quilts that I have so that my kids will know them!

  19. Tish says:

    I’m with Karen, I was tearing up just reading this post! It sounds like us quilters may all be the same in some aspects. We make quilts for our loved ones, to keep them warm and add beauty to their lives, but yet somehow we manage to leave a few unfinished projects for them. I wonder if there ever was a quilter who left this world with all of their work finished? Scratch that, I don’t want to know. This is a beautiful finish and story, thank you for sharing this with us.

  20. Kate says:

    What a wonderful quilt! Such a great treasure for a family.

  21. Tu-Na Quilts says:

    I was almost moved to tears reading about your thoughts. Great work on the quilt. One just never knows how to finish up those vintage pieces; by hand (too tedious but would be authentic), by machine (gets the job done and will hold the pieces together that were sewn by hand but not authentic), or fold it up and return it to the closet. So glad you chose to finish it up so your customer can enjoy it and not keep it in the closet.

  22. Pingback: Tu-Na Quilts: I Wish You a Merry Quilt-A-Long Block 11 North Star | Tu-Na Quilts, Travels, and Eats

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