Sunday, July 20, 2014

Grandma's Blocks

On Friday I shared the first of several posts I will be doing on the contents of Grandma's quilting closet. Those two completed quilt tops were real surprises to me, for sure.

Today I will show you a few of the various completed blocks nestled away in these boxes and tubs. It was typical for Grandma to make a practice block when beginning a quilt - especially if the design was one she had never made before. I uncovered a lot of single blocks amongst all this stuff, and I expect that at some point I will be putting them together as a sampler quilt. Perhaps two, depending on how many I find and how large the blocks are. She quilted for 60-70 years, so there are many, many of these test blocks.

 I haven't photographed every single block, but I think you can tell that there are several underneath this pretty red and blue star.Grandma loved making patriotic quilts, so I have to imagine that this was what she had in mind when she made this particular block.

Grandma's favorite color is blue, so many of her quilts reflect that love of anything blue. Here is another star, with a somewhat different method of construction (HSTs for the star points as opposed to flying geese units). And that Monkey Wrench block is typical of what she was making just before she stopped quilting altogether.

This Maple Leaf block is from a quilt I remember her finishing. She used all fall colors and it turned out so pretty. I imagine that someone in the family has this quilt, as I've not seen it at her house, and she frequently gave her finished quilts to her children and grandchildren.

 Ahh, the Lemoyne Star - it was Grandma's standard block. If we searched the family, I bet we could easily find over 20 quilts made with this star. I got mine when I went to college. You can see from this picture that the box holds several more blocks and underneath there are baggies of blocks parts. I can't even begin to guess at how far back these go.

Another of Grandma's favorite blocks were the Sunbonnet Sue and Overall Bill. Here is a completed Sue, and a whole pile of overalls cut out. Always planning ahead for the next baby to be born! Lots of the great-grandchildren have pillows or wall hangings of these.

In all the years Grandma and I shared our quilting hobby, I never saw her make a Drunkard's Path, yet here in this box are all the parts necessary for just that. Several blocks are finished; I just don't have a photo of them.

I probably bought these fabrics for her. As her interest in quilting diminished, and she was less and less likely to agree to join me on a trip to a fabric store, I often would pick up a few fat quarters in colors I knew she would find appealing and take them to her at random intervals.I wanted to keep her interested in quilting for as long as possible. It worked for awhile. She cut into these fat quarters and made several quilts - often stars. This box represents some of that work. On the bottom are 6 or 8 finished blocks, with the makings of more on top. Do you see what is peeking at me from the top? Her scissors and thimble are tucked in with the project.

And, the pattern she was using is here, too. Such an organized lady! She still is, too! Many a time I have been over there to help her do little things, and by gosh, it better be done by her specifications! She is a stickler for detail! And everything has its place, to be sure. I wish some of her fastidiousness had been a trait I inherited!

This box is chocked full of 9-patch blocks. Maybe my affinity for the 9-patch is what I inherited!

 I removed the completed 9-patches and found the above "ingredients" for making more. Have you noticed that Grandma never used a rotary cutter and mat? All the quilts she made were cut out with templates and hand pieced. No strip piecing for her! She is of another generation.

I just had to know how many of these blocks she'd completed, and why they were stacked just so. Well, one stack  has 55 completed blocks, and the other has 50. She was well on her way to making more than one quilt, wouldn't you agree?

This picture and the two that follow are of another box containing a nearly-finished quilt. At least most of the blocks are finished, anyway. We are looking in particular at that red and blue pinwheel with a creamy background.

 Isn't this a pretty block? I remember Grandma working on this quilt. She was rather excited to see how nicely it was coming together. I wonder what made her stop? Probably a combination of things: eyesight, unsteadiness in her hands, inability to sit still. In her 90s, lots of little aches and pains probably add up to a lot of frustration.
There are a few sub-units ready to be sewn into a full blocks. And the leftover fabric is here, too, for finishing up borders. What great stuff.

I  have a good bit to look forward to, don't I? Finishing these quilts that Grandma started will be a pleasure for me. I don't know when I will do them, but I most assuredly will.

I've tried to show Grandma this blog, especially some of the posts that have been about her. I don't think she fully grasps this whole internet thing. It's just something that she knows exists, but she's uninterested in trying to understand it. That's okay, too.

Happy Quilting, Friends!


  1. I don't think you will ever run out of a quilt project to work on. These are all wonderful; and it will be so great for you to take them on and finish what Grandma started!

  2. What a blessing to have your gramma still in your life. I miss mine every day. The beautiful quilting she did and now you can finish must bring you great Joy!


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