Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Memory Lane

I have an old quilt to show you below, but first I need to vent a little.  Not that there is anything anyone can do (except slip me a Xanax), but here goes.  

We live on a quiet street one block off the main drag in this city.  It's a bit of a winding street on a rolling hill, no curb, gutter or sidewalk.   The city just oils and pea gravels the street every few years to keep it relatively intact.  On my daily walks, I deal with an occasional car, which usually gives me generous berth (see: no sidewalk). 

Well, yesterday was the official beginning of road construction season.

Said main avenue is getting fixed for a several block stretch, which is all well and good in the end.  But traffic has been diverted and guess who doesn't live on a quiet street anymore?  There is a constant stream of vehicles out my front door.  And the background music to all this is made by some ginormous hammering machinery that is busting up the old concrete on the main thoroughfare.  It sounds like a marching band with a hung over drum section that can't get its stuff together.

There.  I feel a little better.  Then again, it may be because the drum section just went on break.  Maybe they'll find a rhythm and stick to it after knocking back some Joe and Krispy Kremes.

Moving on.  

Guess what my sister found last week while sorting through boxes, getting ready to move?  A quilt from our childhood!  I wish I could say "my old quilt," because I've been searching for it for a few decades, but I can't tell whether the one she found was mine or hers.  

We had matching quilts on our twin beds, made by Mom.  I used to be able to tell them apart because hers was a couple years older, a bit more worn, and had a slightly different red fabric in the sashing.  But after all these years and without the other for comparison, we don't rightly know.  I thought she had left hers behind when she moved from California back home, but she thinks this may be it, in which case mine is still MIA.

It is in totally "loved up" condition.  Weathered and worn, tattered and torn.  I've soaked and gently washed and dried it.  Some of the stains came out, not all.  But beyond that and the overall yellowing, the fabric is simply falling apart.  The funny thing is, this quilt (circa 1961) has a polyester batting that remains in excellent condition.

Still, I love looking at the fabrics in the dresdens (or sunflowers, as Mom called them) almost as much now as I did back when the quilt covered whichever one of us nightly.  

Each block is entirely pieced, not appliqued.  There are 20 "blades" per block—that's 20 Y-seams for the small white pieces that occupy the space between the pointed ends of each blade.  Then the whole circular plate is set into the outer part of the square, which is pieced in four segments.  It is hand quilted.

I found the pattern templates for this block a few years ago as I was going through Mom's things (blogged here).  I don't know why she didn't mail the letter, but it's nice to have that bit of provenance in her own words.

So this is one of the quilts that started my lifelong fascination with fabric.  In the early morning light, before the school day began, I'd study that quilt.  Something to keep in mind when you give someone one of your works.  You may be fostering a budding artist or sewist (or architect or math teacher...).

I'm happy to foster this old quilt for a while again as it has come back to roost.  Here's to a happy homecoming!


Elizabeth said...

Oh, beautiful! Even in its loved to pieces conditions, the colors and fabrics are amazing. What a fun treasure to have back.

I'm sorry about the road construction. There are two seasons here: winter and road construction. They official state flower of Utah is the Sego Lily, but the unofficial flower is the Orange Construction Cone. That constant rumbling is really unnerving. Hang in there.

xo -E

Vicki @ DottyJane said...

What a great find...I hope the other one shows up someday.

I know my groove improves when I add caffeine and sugar to the mix, so there's hope for your background music:) I really want a donut now...

Sara said...

Hope your street quiets down soon P.

Such a beautiful quilt your mom made for you and/or your sister. It was fun to browse at all the fabrics in there:) Do you have plans to fix the holes?

MomWaldsPlace said...

Just tell your sister that you need it to wrap your head in when the construction crew gets going in the morning. Just keep saying, "It's only one summer. It's only one summer."

Shay said...

How cool to find something like that again. I would have been thrilled. Talk about instantly transported to childhood!

I love those fabrics and the design is amazing. I don't think I've ever seen a pieced Dresden before.

Sorry about your construction woes. Lets hope they get that finished as fast as possible!

Karen said...

Awww so loving this quilt! I have a fascination with old quilts and is fabulous! Are you thinking of fixing it!?

Mina said...

Oh, what a wonderful surprise! What is going to happen to it?

Sorry about the street noise.

Kevin the Quilter said...

What a beautiful walk down memory lane......unlike the walks you are having to take now! :-/ I have a love affair for dresden plate quilts also. You and your sis' quilt is awesome, even more so because your momma made it!

Christina said...

Oh the joy and tragedy of old quilts! I had a similar experience with an old quilt as a child. I hope you have some peace with all the noise, I am susceptible to that too and I have a tinkering neighbor!!

Oh you cracked me up with that first picture. :-)

Michelle said...

Omigod! What a treasure. It's a totally fabulous quilt! And that you remember studying the fabrics as a kid.... I had one of my great grandmother's scrappy crazy quilts as a kid, and I, too, credit that quilt for installing a lifelong fascination with fabrics. So awesome that at least you and your sister found one of them.

I have some family heirloom quilts, that I will never use, so I display them on a quilt rack. I can still see and enjoy them, but they don't get any hard use that way. Maybe this one could be displayed thusly?