A Quilt Story

Quilting Heritage

My mother was an amazing seamstress. I grew up listening to the sound of the sewing machine. I always had a stack of handmade clothes to wear. She had a reputation as one of the best seamstresses around.  My grandmother taught her how to sew when she was in high school and she learned to make her own clothes then. She often drafted and designed her own patterns. Neither one of them quilted, however.

When I learned to sew, at the age of 30 (unless you count my mother’s futile attempts and my two or three projects from childhood) I began sewing little girls clothing. I really wasn’t interested in quilting. I never even really considered it.

My parents were also racers. They had tons of race t-shirts from the many 5K, 10K, 1/2 marathons and marathons they’ve run over the years. When they built a new house they decided they wanted a t-shirt quilt to feature all their favorite races. My father had his aunt, my Great Aunt Doris, make the quilt. It was gorgeous! I fell in love with it!

Although I knew my Great Aunt Doris was a quilter, I’d never thought about it much. I had a quilt she’d made me when I was a baby. It was a queen size Sunbonnet Sue and I love it dearly. It’s been used and washed so many times it’s pretty much falling to pieces and it’s still my son’s absolute favorite quilt to curl up in.

When I began obsessing over dabbling in quilting 18 months ago my dad became really excited. He brought me to visit Aunt Doris so we could discuss quilts. She’d want to know the pattern I was working on and we’d look through her lovely stack of scrap quilts. Her house was like a tiny quilt factory. She was a widow and lived alone. Her living room had her cutting table, planning board, sewing machines, boxes of fabric, rolls of batting and in progress quilts. The two spare bedrooms would have stacks of quilts on top of the quilt that made up the bed they were on. She would unfold each one and tell me the pattern…drunkard’s path, Irish chain, trip around the world. I’d try and take it all in while feeling overwhelmed with all the names of patterns, multitude of colors and stand in amazement at her knowledge and skill.

Unfortunately, we lost my Aunt Doris this past spring. She lived into her late 80’s and had a very full life. Although she often sold and gave quilts away, she left a rather hefty stack of quilts when she passed. My uncle, who is in charge of her estate, invited my sister and myself out to her house to pick out an Aunt Doris quilt of our own. The quilt I already own that was made by my Aunt Doris is in pretty bad shape so this excited me to no end.

So I’m thrilled to be able to share one of my Aunt Doris’ scrap quilt for me and one for the little girl we are expecting in November!

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I think these are such fun quilts. I love that they are so different than anything I would make and so very much like all the Aunt Doris quilts I’ve seen in my life.

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And look at the scrappy binding on the larger quilt!

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I’m so very happy to have these in my quilt collection and look forward to enjoying them for years to come.

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2 thoughts on “Quilting Heritage”

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