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Monday, April 9, 2018

My Grandmother's Quilts


On a quick trip back home, I was excited to see some of the quilts of my grandmothers. Both grandmother's have passed but wrapping up in their quilts made me feel still protected in their love. It made me happy to think I'm carrying along their tradition if even a little bit. 

 Grandma McElyea's quilts were obviously made out of feedsacks. the colors are all over the board but appear to be along the 1930's color spectrum with lots of pastels in various patterns.


I love the electric orange she chose for so many of the fans.
In others she choose to put in fabric that was the same as the background. These fans just appear to "float on the background.

They are placed randomly so they show up, where they "show up".

 I don't know why but I just love this random yellow fan. It's just kind of there all of the sudden. There's no other pattern so it just shows up as bars.


When you look at the back or even around the fan you can see how it was very much stitched by hand. This is a big quilt so it had to take forever.

Great Grandma Wren and that little guy is my father!

Grandma Wren's quilt was a lot more utilitarian. It was made with my Great Grandfather's cast off shirts. It has minimal quilting but was obviously well used. 

With four kids and a man with a big appetite, Grandma spent more time in the kitchen than sewing... although I'm sure that she spent a fair amount of time mending...

Just the basics here. Just enough to keep it together. It held up pretty well when you figure this was probably made in the 1930's or 1940's. Maybe even earlier.

It is showing it's age though. The fabric is literally falling apart. When you figure this is the second life for this fabric... first a shirt then a quilt. 

These quilts make me wonder how many generations of my family slept under them. How many times did these get rung thorough Grandma's old fashioned washtub? How many times did they end up on the line to dry? 

I'm sure that both Grandmothers were making these because they needed them for their families but I'm sure that there was a sense of accomplishment and joy when they were finished. Both grandmothers had four children  each so I'm sure that many quilts were made to cover their children and then their children's children and finally down to their Great, great, great grandson. It's a heritage and a love that far surpasses one lifetime.


  1. Oh my, what treasures! If they could only talk... I have a couple of my grandmother's quilts and one of my GGrandmother's tops.....I have never quilted it (yet) because I like to look at her stitches.

    1. I totally understand. I often wonder when they made them if they thought about how precious each stitch was to their children/grandchildren, etc. I have a quilt I'm working on now that one of my other grandmother made specifically for me when I was a child and it is so worn that the fabric is falling apart. I kept every one of her patches that was still intact and made reproductions of the pattern she embroidered. I even took the fabric that was still in decent shape and am reusing that. I just can't bear to part with it!

  2. Oh I just love quilts! I have a few that my great, great grandmother made; one she made just for me that is all pink and white and covered with teddy bear shapes. I don't let anyone use it as I'm afraid it will get ruined. Thanks for sharing with us at the Virtual Refrigerator.

  3. You are so right to treasure these quilts. To think you have something they held in their hands...

  4. Beautiful quilts, and what a special handmade gift to have in your home.
    Thanks for sharing at To Grandma's House We Go!

  5. How great to know all about both grandmothers and still have their quilts. They're both filled with history and no doubt love:) Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm! xo Kathleen