Sunday, September 18, 2016

A Symbolic Endeavor

I am taking over yet another room of the house for the next couple of months. After clearing out some tables and scooting back furniture, DH helped me erect Grandma's ancient quilt frame in the front room early last week.

What stories this old frame could tell! The very brown parts on each end are quite old. I am sure Grandma told me, but I do not remember; they may have originated with her own mother or perhaps they originated with her grandmother. This would be, then, either my great-grandmother or great-great-grandmother.

To my knowledge, this is the only picture I have of Grandma sitting at her quilt frame.
Having done some genealogy, these women have names that I know: Margaret Thomas Wood and Mary Angeline Smedley Thomas. Wouldn't it be interesting to know what they quilted on this frame? Years ago, Grandma gave me some very old quilts - could these have been quilted on it? Most likely my grandma learned to quilt at this frame. I can just see her and probably her sisters seated on chairs, boosted with pillows, taking up their needles and attempting their first stitches.

The lighter wood - the brace and the roller bars - are new, relatively speaking. They were made by my grandfather when Grandma wore out the originals. And, interestingly enough, he made a second shorter set. I am using the longer set because the quilt that will be going into this is quite large.

A long time ago I determined that the first quilt I loaded onto this frame would be a symbolic one. Erin's Diamonds has been hanging in the closet for a couple of years and needs to be finished. I love the idea that the first quilt I do on Grandma's old frame is one that will be given to my daughter. So many generations involved! My own mother is not a quilter, but maybe I could get her to sit with me for awhile to take a few stitches in Erin's quilt? Then there would be no break in the multi-generational endeavor. Cool.

Now, those ancient grannies would likely look at the riotous colors of Erin's Diamonds and turn up their noses with disdain. I know Grandma did! She saw no attraction to this "modern stuff" that both Erin and I like. Grandma thought I'd lost it when she'd see me buying KF fabrics on some of our outings.

But I digress. Besides the brightly colored, modern fabrics, I will be breaking other traditional notions of quilting when I begin Erin's Diamonds. I plan to quilt "big stitch." Instead of laboring over the tiniest of even stitches, I will be using thicker thread and taking big stitches, outlining each diamond. I am hoping that I can make quick work of it.

All of this must start ASAP. I have some finishing of other projects to accomplish first, though. The pressure mounts! The goal: to be done before Christmas decorating - this is the room where we put our tree!

I will be linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching which you can peek at over at Kathy's Quilts

Happy Quilting, Friends!


  1. What a wonderful multi-generational legacy. I have my grandmothers frames too.

  2. that is neat having a quilting frame that has been handed down in the family. have fun with your big stitch - I get so used to the smaller stitches that when I have tried big stitch they don't turn out all that big!

  3. Oh I bet your grandmothers will be so happy to see you sitting at that frame they won't even care your big stitching!

  4. Such a wonderful legacy. I've quilted a few quilts in my living room. It's nice to be around the activity and not sequestered downstairs.

  5. What a beautiful tribute. I do hope you can persuade your mother to put a few stitches in.

  6. Oh how wonderful! I enjoyed reading about your grandma and her frame.
    Enjoy taking over at the frame and I hope it brings you lots of wonderful stitching time!


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