Vintage Blocks, A Quilt & Return

In early 2012 my husband and I had many discussions about our quality of life and eventually made the decision to sell our home in the mountains and to move down into the urban landscape. Approximately ten years ago he was diagnosed with "diabetic retinopathy", a disease of the eye directly related to his diabetes and limits his mobility to say the least. After the recent sale of our mountain house, we once again went through the process of buying a new retirement home, and hopefully for the very last time uprooting our possessions to relocate into an area that is much more agreeable with old age. Now that we have resettled into our new lifestyle, both of us absolutely love this change.

I am finally able to reconnect with the quilting hobby I love. Since last September I have made four quilts and now am working on numbers five and six. The quilt that I have just finished is the one I would like to share my thoughts about. 

It began last summer, when my cousin found a pile of old quilt blocks after her mother had passed. Both my mother and her sister sewed during their entire lives, however neither of them quilted. Both my cousin and I were curious about a recently discovered stack of quilt blocks stored away by her mother (my aunt). After discussing the origins and purpose of this mystery cloth with several family members, we finally reached an opinion that these blocks of cloth had probably been made by her (my cousin) father's mother. She was a petite and lovely lady who quilted, owned and used a treadle sewing machine. This women also lived a full life and reached the age of 101 years.

The quilt blocks are blue & white made in the pattern known as the "churn dash". Each block was unique and there were no duplicate blocks. In total, there were 28 blocks discovered where each block is approximately a 12 1/2" square. Both hand and machine (treadle) sewn blocks are in this distinctive collection.

Based on the type of fabric in use within these blocks, we guess that the age of the oldest material used within these blocks is from the early 1940's. To stabilize this old fabric within many of these blocks, I backed each block with a light weight iron on pellon. To further stabilize this material, a minor trim was applied around each edge to resize every block down to exactly 12" inches.

(The checkered blocks are made from a "jelly roll" (TM)...  For those not familiar with the term a jelly roll (TM) is a 2 1/2" strip cut the width of fabric.  It was introduced to the quilting world by Moda)

The quilt is a generous king size approximately 98" x 85".  Fifteen of the 28 blocks were used in the quilt.  Four of the blocks are designated for king size pillow shams.  The balance of the blocks will be back ground for the framing of family portraits or individually framed.

In retrospect through the making of this quilt I touched the past, and in another small way I hope I brought it forward for today and tomorrow.   Especially so since much of the fabric used in the original blocks was from personal items previously worn as dresses, shirts, blouses, ..etc.  (Today we know this as recycling).

Additional information