Gently Reclaiming My Great-Great Grandmother's Quilt


Today in the spirit of "quilting happiness," I wanted to share a gentle quilt-reclaimation my Mom and I are slowly working on. This quilt was made by my great-great grandmother (that's her at left), near as we can tell, sometime in the 30's. Oh, there are so many gorgeous, charming fabrics in those Dresdens! And in the places where it's not too faded, that sashing fabric is the cutest little floral you've ever seen.

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With pardonable pride, I also have to point out that Grammie (as we all called my great-great grandmother) did a lot of her sewing by hand, and did it beautifully. She made patchwork by hand - those perfect little stitches! And look at how even her blanket stitching is.


…And this backing fabric is just my favorite thing ever.

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Sadly, though, this beauty has been through some hard times. It passed through several members of my family before landing in Mom's hands – no one knows where or how it sustained this damage, but everyone was sure Mom could "fix it."

Hmmm… Well, it's kind of a mess. That giant rip in the center with the matted batting coming out, the holes all over the rest, and good heavens – the staining! It's so sad to see something Grammie put so much work into end up in such rough shape. What's wonderful, though, is how you can still see the beauty of the fabrics and craftsmanship, even through the mess.

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So we've decided to take this baby apart, clean and salvage what fabrics we can, and then use them in a new quilt. Won't that be cool?

Mom is slowly removing the Dresden plate appliques right now, and giving them a gentle cleaning. BIZ is doing a phenomenal job of lifting a lit of that staining, and we're continually amazed at how all the colors brighten up with washing. (That suggestion came from my co-author, Christina - thanks, Christina!)

It's been a bit intimidating trying to decide what we're going to do with all these treasures of fabric once they're cleaned up, but when I gave Mom her copy of Quilting Happiness, she took one look at this quilt, The Plus You, and said, "We're gonna do something like this!"


I'll update you on our progress, which will be slow. I have Mom up to her elbows in sewing for my new book right now, and my elbows are similarly engaged. That's okay; a project like this quilt doesn't come around often, and we want to enjoy all its phases thoroughly. This is the only chance that Mom, Grammie and I will get to craft together.

This post was cross-posted to Diane's blog.