Hand Quilt Along: First Post

This will be my first post to the

Hand Quilt Along 

Thank you for welcoming me into the group. It’s hard for me to believe I have been hand quilting for over 40 years now. I was taught by two beautiful woman from Oklahoma, Alma Wall Ayers, and Wynotha Wall ~ sister-in-law’s. My first 2 quilts I pieced together by hand but had them machine quilted; from then on…..a purest at heart and home.

done in the mid to late 70’s that’s Alma peeking out in the corner and me

Finding  the ‘Hand Quilt Along’ group through following the blog, lovethosehandsathome by KerryCan,  https://lovethosehandsathome.wordpress.com

I was instantly inspired. That’s what I needed. Inspiration and the push to get going on a project I had sitting for the last 2/3 years, begging to be picked up every time I passed by.

Here is my project, a wonderful hand pieced quilt top that I found at our local Goodwill. I picked it up for $3.99. Yup, I could hardly believe my find. I felt like a thief buying it and couldn’t get out of the store fast enough.

When I look at this top I see someones dream discarded and I wonder the reason. What life’s event left it unfinished and then finally discarded to a Goodwill store? This top feels worn and tired to me. The material swatches look like older prints and I am not a fan of the purple and white anchoring squares for the rings. But I am ready to continue with this project and stitch life back into this quit top ~ it’s time for its beauty to shine through

Goodwill-Quilt1

This Wedding Ring quilt top was entirely hand pieced and was in relatively good shape. The white has some yellow shading. The solid blue rectangles in the ring were done in a burlap-py type of material with quite a few spots where the sewing had pulled apart and was fraying. I had to do a considerable amount of repairing before I could begin. I am using a solid dark blue flat sheet for my back and polyester batting. The top is quite large and I will be reducing it’s size. I hope to be able to salvage some the pattern to make a pillow or two. In getting this ready to start I realized why I haven’t begun to quilt this. Sheer fright…I have no workable space for laying out a quilt this side. To assemble the 3 layers I set it up on top of my queen size bed, running over the sides; nightmare, but I got it done.

Goodwill-Quilt2

Above is a Frank Edmunds Quilters Wonder Quilting Hoop Frame with stand. I usually quilt with just a hoop on my lap and thought with this project I would give something with a stand a try.

 

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Kathy, Lori, Margaret, Kerry, Emma, Tracy, Deb, Connie, Deborah,  SusanJessicaSherryNanette, Sassy, Edith, Sharon and Bella.

The Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another. Please contact Kathy if you would like to join along.

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Genealogy and Quilting are 1st cousins 3x removed

Two of my passions are Genealogy and Hand Quilting. I have never really thought about the similarities until today. I have been blogging my families history for a couple of years now, although, I have been doing family researching for over 15 plus years. I have been hand quilting for over 40 years.

https://nwpaintedlady.wordpress.com

https://wordpress.com/view/civitanofamilyblog.wordpress.com

Hand quilting is an art form of the past, carried forward and kept alive by those of us who continue this form of quilting. (sewing machine not allowed)

Genealogy is the art of digging into a families past and bringing it forward, keeping the memory of those who came before us alive.

Both hand quilting and genealogy cross the barriers of time and connect the generations.

I am generation connector.

A quilter might ask, where did this quilt block pattern originate from? Just as the family researcher might ask, where did the family originate from?

Quilts reflect social history, what the times were like? Census records record and reflect the times and history of the our ancestors. Both reveal a history rich in cultural attitude and bring the past to life.

When I am deep in genealogy research it is easy to be transported to the time of my ancestors. Like this famous painting done Anna Mary Robertson Moses (September 7, 1860 – December 13, 1961)

The Quilting Bee  ~  Grandma Moses 1940 – 1950 

thequiltingbeeGrandmaMoses

it is easy to see how the two are truly one…the art of hand quilting and genealogy go hand in hand (no pun intended.) Who were Grandma Moses’s parents? Did she have siblings? Are they depicted as children in this painting? Are those aunts and uncles, cousins, all gathered together? Had she watched her mother and aunties quilting round the frame? The questions are endless as is genealogy and quilt patterns and styles…

They all tell ‘our’ story.

 

 

Getting My Feet Wet With Dotted Swiss

My First Quilt 

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Here I am holding up my very first hand quilting project. Peeking out on the other side is Alma Ayres ~ What an amazing memory. Not just the act of quilting but that time in my life as I began to spread my wings and define myself as a woman. The year was about 1975. I was 22 years old and had undertaken a project that would have made any one run and never pick up a needle again. This hand pieced quilt top was done in dotted swiss material. Those little swiss dots were like knots in a tree, in the way and impossible to put the needle through. It certainly was not stitched in a straight line. Not only did the dots get in the way but the material itself was prone to fraying and pulling apart. Why in the world would I use this dotted swiss ~ it was free material and plenty of it and well who knew the problems I would encounter. (I am sure Alma did) The pattern is my own, I designed each block.

While the top is totally hand sewn, the quilting itself was done professionally by machine. Alma had said it would be impossible for me to hand quilt, and frankly I was quick to totally agree. I think I decided I would never touch, look at, or use the word dotted swiss ever again. (until now) I used a pink sheet for the backing and the fiber inside, no idea, but I can tell you it is downy squishy thick and comfy cozy warm.

What did this first experience with quilting teach me?

It is summed up in this saying by the The Buddha

saying

I imagined I could and I did

 

My Mentor Alma Ayres (1919 – 1988)

There is only one woman who has profoundly influenced my life beyond anything I could ever have imagined. Her name was Alma.

Almafamilyquilt

And because of this I have decided to dedicate this quilting blog to her. I fell in love with hand quilting through her. Alma Wall was born May 31, 1919, Chickasaw, Pontotoc, Oklahoma. The year of this picture was about 1975/76. That’s Alma in the middle of her beautiful king size, entirely hand sewn quilt. Isn’t it spectacular? From left to right, me, her son Edward Leon (my boyfriend at the time), Mike, next to him his wife Sherron, Alma’s daughter, grandson (oh my his name escapes me right now) son of her oldest child Donald, and on the end was her youngest son Jerry. Sadly Alma, Leon, Mike, Jerry, Don and one other daughter, Barbara, have all past now.

Such unbelievable wonderful memories and quilts, I don’t think she ever put the needle down. I am so blessed to have this photo. I look at it and think, in all of the moves, in all the chapters of my life, thank goodness this picture managed to survive. Thank you Alma Wall Ayres for enriching my life beyond comprehension.

 

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