Tuesday, February 1, 2011

My Grandma's Quilt

A little over a year ago, my mom showed me a quilt top that my grandma had made.  She was hoping that I would finish it for her.  I'd never worked on a quilt like that before, but I figured if it was going to get done, I'd better do it!!  I did give her and dad one stipulation:  I'd finish it as long as I got it when they were done with it:)

This quilt was believed to have been made in the early 1980's, by Grandma Rhoades.  She died February 1, 1988.  After she died, the quilt was given to my mom and dad, with the thought that Mom would be the most likely to get it finished.  Although Mom did a lot of clothing sewing, I don't think she ever quilted.

I got the quilt from her about a year ago, and besides showing it off, it sat in a bag under my bed for several months.  Then last May or June, Dad, Mom and I went to buy the backing fabric, batting and fabric for the border/binding.  Again it sat in its bag under my bed for a few months.

In September I brought it to my quilt group meeting one evening and got the border sewn onto it.  Then in October I brought it back to my quilt group and the ladies all helped me pin it together (the quilt top, batting and backing).  Because I had other projects I wanted to work on, it went back under my bed until a couple weeks ago.

Then I brought it out and tied it all together - with special thread left from Grandma.  After that, I had only the part I'd really been dreading left to do . . . the hand sewing of the binding.  Amazingly enough I got it done in three evenings.  I'd made a label for the back, which said it was finished in January, so then I realized I HAD to get it done!!!  An added incentive to finish it was so I could show it off at my quilt retreat last Saturday!

This whole quilt top is made of wool.  As you can see, Grandma did a fabulous job with all of her decorative hand stitching.  She was definitely a lot more patient than I - I don't even know HOW to do that kind of stuff!!

I didn't realize until last week when I got Grandma's birth and death dates for the quilt, that today is the anniversary of her death date.  When I found that out, I invited Dad and Mom for lunch so I could give it to them on the 23rd anniversary of her death.

Before I went to take pictures, in my head I pictured the picture of the quilt on the rocking chair kind of hanging over it.  I've probably seen pictures like that, but I wasn't thinking about this being a huge quilt, and I just didn't get quite the same effect:)  With all of the pictures, I realize when I look at them, they just don't do the quilt justice!!  It is absolutely beautiful!

For anyone who didn't know Grandma, she was a very talented lady.  She made so many quilts - and most of them were bed-sized quilts!!  She made one for each of her 51 living (at that time) grandchildren.  I know Mom and Dad had one for a wedding gift, so I'm assuming the other children got one as well.  At the time she died, she'd been making smaller quilts for her great-grandchildren.  She also did embroidery, painting and crocheting.  I'm sure I don't know the half of what she did!!  Besides all of that, her flower gardens were kept beautiful:)


  1. Wonderful! What an heirloom to treasure in your family for always and how touching that you got to give it to your parents on such a special day. I think it looks great in the pics too even tho I did see the unfinished top in person:)

  2. Thats awesome and how neat that it was finished around the anniversary of her death! Thanks for sharing. :)


  3. Beautiful! I love the colors in it...makes me think of a log cabin or lodge. :)

  4. Beautiful! My grandma Nelson (Mom's Mother) made lots of quilts also! She called this type stitching around each piece, feather stitching. Interesting - her quilts look very similar to your grandma's quilts.

  5. That is so cool...awe...err...Warm :) Love it!

  6. Wow! This is beautiful! A labor of love! Thanks for sharing it's story!

  7. Good job on that, Elva! Nice story...brings back alot of memories. We are kept warm, with one of her many quilts, every night!

  8. Thanks, everyone! I was kind of worried if I could actually finish it correctly, but I think it turned out well:)