SHOP PRODUCTS
Houzz Logo Print
carolek_gw

Coming from quilters?

carolek
16 years ago

My ancesters (northerners) were not quilters. They worked and bought blankets. Although they did other sewing and handwork, they never quilted. My husband's ancesters (southerners) came from farming and did not have the consistant access to money for buying coverlets, so they made quilts. The location probably doesn't matter, but city versus rural may. What do you think? What is your experience? When I say "ancestors," I'm thinking late 1800's or early 1900's.

Comments (25)

  • mary_c_gw
    16 years ago

    There is no record of anyone in my family ever having made a quilt!

    My mother's side of the family came here in the mid to late 1800's, and were well-to-do for the times, although the family fell on hard times in the early 1900's. They were mostly German and Irish. My father's side of the family came in the early 1900's - very poor, from Italy and France, with no quilting culture at all.

    I'm the first.

    Mary

  • User
    16 years ago

    I am also the first quilter in my family, also my husband's if we're counting that side, too.

    My mother went to convent school in Spain and was taught Latin, needlepoint, tatting and embroidery (and how to manage the household help), but not quilting.

    I hope I'm not the last.

  • Related Discussions

    QUILTERS! Round Robin?

    Q

    Comments (22)
    Yup, I will post a pic. Here is the deal. They are supposed to send her professional pics of her quilts + every other quilt that was there too on CD. If it doesnt arrive soon, I will post an unprofessional pic. I dont know how she does it, yet she has several(prob more than 5-7) quilts going at once. I will make an appointment with her to discuss what she is up to these days. Stay tuned. Tony
    ...See More

    Advice for New Quilters

    Q

    Comments (21)
    Excellent thread Kate, a splendid & VERY generous idea. Am a self taught quilter, from magazines like Quilter's Newsletter, etc. Excellent instructions, pix & yes, explanations of basics. But I was also a textile designer & learned to weave as a child & was doing batiks & silkscreen prints as a teenager. My involvement w/ fabrics has been lifelong, so to start learning quilting, I knew I might GET DISTRACTED BY ALL THE PRETTY FABRICS & only allowed myself to work in solid colors, no prints. To study the basics of quilting assembly, the of mechanics how designs & patterns go together. I always make a small test block, if I don't like it or the colors don't work, I've minimized the time lost. I'm sure lots of folks start out over ambitiously, & get overwhelmed. If you always make a small test block, things will go more easily. From time to time step back from your work, even hang it up on the wall, take a few steps back or walk across the room & look at the quilt from a distance. We work on them close up yet see them from some distance unless sleeping under them. Viewing them from a distance can make a big difference in the design process. Small patterns read as solids, contrast becomes more apparent, etc. Well known old instruction, squint at the quilt (or take your glasses off), you can see it better. Don't cut or piece when you're very tired. (Don't iron on top of synthetic area rugs, duh.... can you tell I learned THAT the hard way?)) Buy the best tools you can afford, an investment over time; w/ a little care, they'll last you for years. I'm addicted (since high school) to a special ruler, 18" x 2", see thru w/ 1/8 markings & 1/4" edges, even have one w/ a metal side built in to use against rotary cutters, invaluable. I use it to mark 1/4" seams on my piecework, helps w/ accuracy, helps w/ squaring up right angles.
    ...See More

    Question for Hand Quilters

    Q

    Comments (13)
    After my big talk about not usually sticking my finger when I hand quilt, I stuck my finger yesterday. And then three times today. Good heavens! It just now dawned on me (after dipping my stuck finger in alcohol--thanks for the tip!) that I'm using the same five needles now for a couple of weeks and they are DULL. I usually bend them, but I've been taking just three stitches before I pull the thread through, so my needles are lasting. See, if my stitch is a bit long, I use my thimble ridge to push the tip back to keep my short stitch. I've always heard you'll cut yourself with a dull knife because you have to push harder and then you'll lose control. Same with a needle. Seems I don't have control, because I have to push just a bit harder and then it "pops" through, straight into my finger. It snuck up on me, since they get dull slowly, but usually my needles don't pop through at all, they slide through like butter. Just thought I share this, what with my stinging finger making me all cranky.
    ...See More

    Quilter's night before Christmas

    Q

    Comments (4)
    I liked that, it reminds me of my youngest sons wedding. I made Angie's wedding gown, and was still working on it the morning of the wedding. My husband swore that I would be following her down the aisle, needle and thread in hand. But, it was finished when they came for it.
    ...See More
  • noocha
    16 years ago

    My granny made quilts but they were for keeping warm only. No really pretty ones from her. Earlier than that, I have no idea.
    Linda

  • fran1523
    16 years ago

    I'm the first in my family as well. My grandparents came from Poland in the early part of the century. Some of them crocheted, but no quilts.

  • laurainsdca
    16 years ago

    I don't know of anyone on my mom's side who quilts. Nor did I know of anyone in my family quilting when I was young. As an adult, I know my Aunt on my Dad's side has made a couple quilts, and when I started quilting my dad told me that HE made a wool rug when he was a kid. It's not a quilt but he seemed pleased that I was quilting and seemed to connect it with other family interests/talents.

    Quilting is the type of thing that I wish I could do with family. My family is scattered far and wide though. I would love to teach a daughter some day.

    When I bought my Baby Lock used the girl I bought it from said her Grandma had given it to her but she had "no interest" in it and "totally didn't get" why anyone would want a sewing machine. She said her grandma finally told her if she wasn't going to use it to go ahead and sell it. I felt kind of sad for her grandmother. I bet she had high hopes that the love of sewing/quilting was something they could share.

  • sandra_ferguson
    16 years ago

    I believe that those who lived rurally were always a lot more likely to make quilts.....we were an agrarian culture until about 100 years ago so most Americans lived on farms...as such, folks were very self sufficient, and grew and made what they could...money crops would pay for things they couldn't make like the paying the taxes, shoes for the children, livestock,etc, so quilts and linens of all kinds were commonly make by the females of the house. Thus, you could say economics + geographic location (city vs. farm) played big parts in who quilted and who didn't....the big exception to this is the crazy quilt, that became very popular in the mid-late 1800s....a Victorian love affair between "posh fabrics' and woman, who wanted to show that they had the money and the time to create something that was, essentially, completely useless as anything but being 'pretty'...it was the city 'mouse', not the country 'mouse' who made these!
    My grandmother was one who 'came out' after completing finishing school..she tatted, painted china (and the piano), learned to manage servants...all things it was considered necessary for a well brought up girl to do in the Victorian timeframe......she also knitted and painted watercolors.... and, when I graduated from college she made me the one and only quilt she ever made...a beautiful one with appliqued flowers - and she HATED doing it...so, only one quilt in my family, before me.
    You wouldn't expect new emigrants to the US to be much 'into' quilting....they, for the most part, lived in towns, and not on farms. It was farms that provided the fabrics used for quilts - first, the cotton. wool or linen, depending on whether you lived in the south or the north...later, those invaluable feed sacs made many, many lovely farm creations... and, none of this sort of thing was available to city dwellers. The history of quilts, coverlets, household linens and textiles, in general, is a fascinating subject and mirrors our society and what was going on in our nation in each era.

  • mary_c_gw
    16 years ago

    Actually, I didn't want to say earlier - but my (then) 80-y-o grandmother was horrified when I took up quilting! ONLY POOR PEOPLE did that!! What would my neighbors THINK!!

    Yeah, well, she's now gone into assisted living at 96-y-o. She always said "No, don't trouble yourself, I don't even like quilts."

    I made her a lapsized quilt, even knowing how she felt. She won't cuddle up with it, (it's new, it must be preserved, even though it's cuddly, and she said so), but it has pride of place across the sofa, with the label carefully folded back, so everyone can see that is was made especially for her. This was after my uncle admired it loudly to all and sundry, and maybe he could commission me to make him a quilt.

    I remain amused at how things and crafts and arts go in and out of fashion. I will continue to quilt. It's my passion.

    Mary

  • deannabsd
    16 years ago

    I have quilters on both sides of my family. I am not sure that my grandmother quilted as she died quite young and had a houseful or children but I know that my grandmother on my dads side did-at least once her kids were grown. I don't believe that anyone other than myself and my mom on either side has made blankets. On my husbands side, I believe that his mom made blankets at one time but I think crocheting eventually took over. I am hoping that my youngest daughter who is 22 may take it up.She wants to make a t-shirt quilt. Interesting topic.

  • susan_on
    16 years ago

    Both of my grandmothers quilted, but my mother did not. My sister has no interest. My daughter has no interest, at least not now. I hope she does in the future.

    Myself, I love the process, and I love how it makes me feel tied to my family history.

  • carolek
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Sandra, have you read Ruth Finley's book? I read it when I got started in the 1970s. It is still my favorite quilting book.

  • tracerracer
    16 years ago

    We have a crazy quilt top that came across the country in a covered wagon (that is on my dad's side) actually have diaries that have entries about some of the fabrics, what dress, ect, that it came from, One of the velvets was for a winter wedding of a cousin. It is made from velvets, taffeta, some silks that didn't weather the yrs so well we have replaced those....It's very cool, the embroidery is, wow....Other than my Auntie Peg (also Dad's side) I'm it, although I'm passing it on to my kids (1 DS and 1 DD) they both have made some small projects, and have helped me on larger ones as well. They have both shown interest (DS is now frosh in college, not much time, I still have DD trapped @ home for a few more yrs.... lol)

  • sandra_ferguson
    16 years ago

    Carol...I googled Ruth Finley ....is the title of the book you liked Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them
    I haven't read it, but it sounds great, and I'll keep my eye open for it....I always enjoy reading about women, and the things they made. I have a long love affair going with what I think of as 'women's work' - all the things they made, with their own hands, for their families. Textiles are a large part of things, and for years I've collected bits and pieces of 'women's work'...from samplers to hand spun, woven and marked linens.... children's stockings, woven coverlets and quilts to hand made bonnets and signed carpetbags. I love holding things and thinking of the women who made them, and wondering about then...who they were, where they lived.... I'm particularly drawn to things that have names on them or are, in some way, signed. It's so nice to be able to put a name with an object. I've made a lot of reproductions-type samplers and a good many quilts..and, I ALWAYS am sure to mark them, in one way or another, at least with my name, the date and where I live...the things I'd sure love to know about the things I own! Our daughter will be the last of our family...we are only children and with an only child.... she doesn't plan to have children, so everything we own will end up, someday, with someone not in the family....the antiques of tomorrow!!! lol

  • calliope
    16 years ago

    My paternal g'mother was blind as long as I remember, and had poor eyesight even as a young girl. I know I have inherited a very old quilt from her, but don't know if she did it, or one of her family. All's I know is it was hers.

    My mother? She was so modest and would never admit being handy with sewing although I remember she made many outfits for us as youngsters and they were meticulous. I found out as an adult she was also an able equestrian, and could ski.....lol. So, who knows? I don't think so, however as she always talked of making one and I did find two quilts started in her belongings after she died. She did do embroidery and also tatted lace.

    So, I don't know of any of my blood kin who were quilters. My first MIL, however, was a different story. She made blankets, quilts. All ultilitarian and to me that has the most charm. She sent her oldest child (my finance) off to school with bedsheets made of feedsacks. Not one iota of fabric ever went to waste in her house.

  • nanajayne
    16 years ago

    My family has been in this country a very long time living in the north and as far as I know in the country. I do not believe there were many quilters. I have a quilt top that dates to the late 1800's which was hand stitched but not very well made. Most of my known ancesters were sewers but I think I must be the first serious quilter. I have a GS who is a fresmen in collage who designed and made a quilt with my help when he was 16. He did a very nice job. My 27 yr. GD has made 2 sm. quilts for her husband who is in the navy. Other then that I think I am it. Jayne

  • kathi_mdgd
    16 years ago

    I don't think my mother or her mother quilted,But they both crocheted afghans,and my mom sewed clothes for us from feed sacks.My mom was also a millner(hat designer and maker)

    My dad's mom and sisters all quilted,crocheted,knitted etc and my dad was a woodworker.

    I am happy to say there is a lot of talent in all forms of the arts on both sides of my family,and we continue to pass it on to our grands,great grands etc.
    Gotta keep it goin' !!!!!
    Kathi

  • day2day
    16 years ago

    My father's mom hooked rag rugs.I remember the mat frame was always 'up' during the winter months with the frame handles resting on two big wooden barrels. They were full of rags and I think there were a lot of old 'nylons'-that was before panty-hose came in style. She'd spend many hours making rugs. I also remember her sewing on a 'Singer" machine, but can't remember her making blankets.
    My Mom knitted sweaters and socks and mitts,but no quilting.
    ~Geraldine

  • carolek
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    Sandra, it sounds like we are much alike, although I do not have the collection of handwork that you do. Yes, that is the book and you will love it. It was written in 1923 and is full of quilt history and great quilt stories, including recipes for dyes. Finley does have her prejudices, but quilting has dealt with that through the years. When I made someone a nine patch, she told me later that her aunt disliked it because she said it was a low class pattern. I have also found that many people (mostly men I imagine) felt that anything a woman can do at home, i.e. handwork, can't be worth much. Considering the time spent on quilts, they still sell for very little and even as antiques, they don't bring in a lot.I also have a daughter. She doesn't plan to marry, so I do not know what she will do with the quilts I pass on. Hopefully, she will find someone who does appreciate quilts and that will be fine. Carole

  • cannahavana
    16 years ago

    My mother and her mother were quilters. Both grew up on a farm in southern Indiana. Most quilts were utilitarian during the child raising years and then they became more decorative. I have my Sunbonnet Susie that my grandmother made me as a child that I will cherish forever! I remember having a heavy quilt on my bed as a child that my mother made from our old blue jeans and flannel shirts and anything else she could throw in there. I may have a picture of it somewhere. It seems for both of them, when their grandchildren came along, that is when they started making decorative quilts.

    My sister and I (there are 4 girls) are the only ones in the family that have carried on with the quilting or any other craft including knitting and crocheting (I'm the only one that does that).

    I don't know much about my father's side of the family.

    Rebecca

  • cmc_97
    16 years ago

    I am from a non-quilting family.

    My mother and her two sisters (the German immigrant side of the family) did not quilt, but they did do quite a few other needle crafts: embroidery, crochet, knitting, tatting, garment and home dec sewing. My aunt has probably done nearly every craft you can think of (basket weaving, tole painting, etc.) and sews most of her clothing, but is not a quilter. Her daughter (my cousin) has taken up quilting. My cousin is a very accomplished quilter, compared to my poor efforts.

    My two sisters and I all picked up garment sewing and a few other needle crafts, but I'm the only one who is nutty about quilting.

    My German great-grandfather was a tailor in San Francisco at the turn of the last century (1900) whose specialty was fancy vests for men. Somewhere in my family (I've only seen it once) is a sort of crazy quilt made from the wool scraps of the vests. The fabrics are all very dark grays or browns, with small pin stripes of bright color (the "fancy" part). I suspect my great-grandmother could not bear to let all that good wool go to waste (they had 10 children, 5 who lived to adulthood). My grandfather, the tailor's son, was a child in San Francisco at the time of the Great Earthquake in 1906 and would tell us stories about his experiences during that time.

    No women in my father's side of the family quilted, but they did do knitting and crochet and home sewing.

    All the women in the generation before me tried various crafts that were popular at the moment, but there's no serious quilting tradition that I can remember.

    CMC

  • damascusannie
    16 years ago

    My gt-grandmother made at least one whole cloth quilt that hangs above my bed. Because of the high quality quilting stitch, I have to think that she was an accomplished quilter. My grandmother has a beautifully appliqued morning glory quilt with silk thread embroidery embellishments that was made for her by her cousin for a wedding gift. That makes it over 70 years old now! I don't lust after many of my grandma's things, but I do for that quilt! I don't really know the history of my dad's side of the family. So, a bit of quilting in the family, but I had to learn it on my own. Thank goodness for Georgia Bonesteel, Eleanor Burns and PBS!

    Annie

  • carolek
    Original Author
    16 years ago

    I'm learned to quilt by examining quilts, but that is not what drew me to quilting. I made my own clothes, including my wedding dress and veil. I realized after a while that I didn't really like making clothes. What I liked was the beauty of color and pattern and texture of fabric and quilting was an ideal way to satisfy my love of fabric. Then I began to study the history and fell in love with the sense of connection and the handwork.

  • biwako_of_abi
    16 years ago

    My mother and aunt, as young women working in an office hand-pieced full sized GFG's for themselves, but I was the one who got to sandwich, quilt, and keep them, many years later. Another aunt was a great craftswoman and an inspiration to me (the GFG one having died when my mother was pregnant with me), but she was more into knitting and embroidery. My grandmother made afghans, too, and HER mother was a beautiful sempstress, but made no quilts, so far as I know. I had several doll clothes by her, until they rotted away. Grandmother and an aunt on my father's side made gorgeous hooked rugs. So I just may be the first one in the family to finish any quilts.

  • toolgranny
    16 years ago

    I come from many generations of quilters on Dad's side. Only can trace back to 1852 but she had to have learned from someone so may go back farther. Her most precious quilt was kept after her death in 1856 and buried in the woods in a lard can to keep soldiers from getting it during Civil War (1860s). It might be in Univ of Nebraska collection but can't prove it since it only shows her initials.

    I was taught by many relatives to crochet, knit, tat and sew. None taught me quilting as it was more utilitarian and they all thought it so simple I'd just absorb it. I had to do that for myself. Fortunately, my daughter and one granddaughter are carrying the torch. Daughter even does bobbin lace but I don't. GD demonstrates tatting at a local museum. I have comfort knowing my stash has a home upon my passing.

    Linda

  • nassongrad_nh
    16 years ago

    Great thread. I can trace my rural New England roots back to 1640 on my great-grandmother's side and 1629 on my great-grandfather's. Both lines were originally British. I have some of my great-grandmother's quilts, a pair of appliqued coverlets, and some tatted handkerchiefs she made. My grandmother was a two-dimensional artist (oils, pastels and charcoal) and children's book author/illustrator, but no fiber arts other than mended clothes. My mother was a print maker, children's book author, crewel embroiderer, needlepointer, braided rug maker, and quilt maker. There isn't too much to be done with fiber that I have not tried, successfully or not. My daughter makes and quilts dressage saddle pads, but may branch out when she grows older! I guess it's genetic for us?

  • grammyp
    16 years ago

    My mother is not a quilter, but she does sew. Her mother and grandmother both quilted by hand. Mom has some quilts that they made from flour, sugar, and feed sacks, and the batting is cotton that they grew, pulled, carded and spread before quilting. They were hardworking farm folk and their quilts were to be used and they were. I remember sleeping under so many I could hardly move at all.

    My dad's mom made most of her clothes all her life and quilted in her later years, mostly just to keep busy. She machine quilted must have made over 100 and gave most of them away. We still have about 20 and my aunt and uncle have some more.

    I have sewn and done hand crafts as long as I can remember. I didn't start quilting till I decorated the nursery for my oldest in 1983. Most of my quilts have been baby or lap size, I find them more manageable.

    beverly

Sponsored
Arete Construction Services
Average rating: 5 out of 5 stars1 Review
Experienced Craftsman & Top Quality Masonry in Frederick County