Wednesday, October 07, 2009

A Treasure

view from the foot of the bed

When we visited with my sister a couple of weeks ago, I got to get re-acquainted with this old beauty (old being a relative term, of course - I don't want to imply that my sister is old or anything!) This is an "Improved 9-Patch" quilt that my Aunt Eleanor made as a high school graduation gift for my sister. DH and I actually got to sleep under this!

view from side 1

Back when my sister received this quilt, we thought it was pretty ugly. Ungrateful wretches that we were. None of us liked orange and we didn't appreciate this at all. I remember we kind of wadded it up and threw it in the bottom of the closet, hoping the orange would disappear or something. I don't think it saw the light of day for a long time.

We did have some old family quilts. I'm now embarassed to admit that we used them for mattress pads or for a picnic blanket - that sort of thing. My mom grew up with utility quilts - they were made to be used. And we didn't think anything of it.

After my first quilting class, when the teacher showed armloads of old and antique quilts, we learned differently. Now those same quilts that were mattress pads are treated with reverance.

But we still didn't like this one. It was still orange.

view from side 2

My sister is a quilter too. And she pulled this out and looked at it with new eyes recently. She decided that it was time for this to be appreciated. Aunt Eleanor is in her 90's now and struggling with the challenges of the elderly. My sister has been corresponding with Aunt Eleanor for some time. So it's time (past time, honestly) to honor her and her work by using this quilt.

This is definitely a collection of 1960's fabrics. Possibly some 1950's too. All cottons or cotton blends, as far as I could tell.

I don't know if you can tell from the photos, but it's hand-quilted with orange thread.

Some of these fabrics are a hoot.

I love how those "improved" wedges are pretty wonky and don't quite meet at the corners.

I've become much more accepting of orange than I used to be, but I still think it would have been a prettier quilt with something other than orange. But that's just me, I guess.

I'm really glad that my sister decided the time has come for this quilt to be loved.


  1. Thank you for the show and tell! The orange really sticks out, doesn't it? I am quite fond of orange, there is something nostalgic about that color, for me. I love this pattern, and would love to try it sometime.

  2. Amazing fabrics in that quilt and I must admit that the orange does seem to jump out. I do like the wonkyness of it.

    Thanks for sharing its story so far.

  3. Oh, I had one of those, too. My Gramma gave it to me for Christmas when I was about 10. I swear it had an old army blanket as the batt because it weighed a ton and was itchy. She must have pieced it from old overalls and housedresses. I wonder what ever happened to it? The last time I saw it, it was slung over a pile of old Look magazines in my folk's garage. I sure wish I still had it. *Sigh*

  4. I can see why a teenage girl might not be blown away by this quilt. But now you can look at it in a different light. It looks like your Aunt Eleanor was ahead of her time. It is beautiful. Thanks so much for sharing this quilt. My grandmother made a lot of applique quilts. I have at least one that is pieced. To be honest I am not sure where it is but you make me want to go look for it.

  5. Yep, that orange jumps out at you - but orange is such a HAPPY color, and this quilt is very joyful to me. You've got a real treasure there. Does it have a label? If not, I think you should make one!

  6. Oh my gosh one of those polka dots (view from side two bottom of the picture - 2 blocks with the same print right next to each other) looks like a Denyse Schmidt print. So I guess when they say what is old is new again, they are right!

  7. It's an oldie, but a goodie! Thanks for sharing.

  8. I love this story of the "ugly quilt"...just goes to show we do grow up!

  9. A few years ago I hated orange too and wouldn't have appreciated it either. Now I think it's a blast. very fun quilt. so sorry to hear about your arm - OUCH. you take care!

  10. Well, that IS a pretty strong orange! (And I happen to be a fan of the color.) What fun those old quilts are, especially when they are a catalog of the fabrics of the time :- )

  11. Well I just LOVE it...worts, orange
    and all!!!

  12. It really is a fun quilt. The more quilts I see, the more I appreciate ones with a character all their own. This one definitely has character! And with all those crazy fabrics, what fun to look at while you daydream.

  13. I've never seem a 9-patch set with wedges. Clever. Interesting how we come to appreciate what we once thought of as ugly. I have noticed recently that some of the fabric designers today are either "copying" or being "heavily inspired" by older prints. I saw a Katie Jump Rope look alike print in this quilt.

  14. I love how it is hand quilted with a Baptist fan. It is a very unique quilt. Thank you for stopping by my blog and entering the giveaway for the Kaffe Fassett fabrics.


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