Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Great Grandmother's Quilt

I've always wanted to start making quilts someday. Around the time I was married, my Grandma Eunice Mohr gave me a quilt that her mother had made. What a gift! My great-grandmother's name was Helena (Petersen) Wiese.
Arlo, Lucille, Helena, William, and Eunice Wiese

 I don't know much about her, except that she ran a little cafe in Milford, Iowa. She and my great-grandfather had divorced sometime after the photo, I guess - pretty unusual in those days. Upon checking my mom's geneology research this morning, I discovered that she was born June 29, 1884 in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany and died 70 years ago today, in 1940 . So it's perhaps fitting that I post about her quilt today.

When Grandma first gave me the quilt, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is so bright and cheery! Somehow I was expecting dull browns and plain squares. But no! Appliquéd tulips in bright pinks, purples, and oranges!

 Interestingly they are appliquéd onto squares set diagonally (on the point), which you can't tell unless close up because the background is all one color.

   It has colorful stripes of what I think is bias tape or something, right near the yellow binding.

It's machine quilted.

The back of the quilt is of a somewhat brighter yellow than the front.

 I love it. I wonder if she made lots of quilts, or just one. I wonder who she had machine quilt it. I wonder who she made it for, and what she thought about while she stitched on those tulips. Questions that will have to remain unanswered...

I've been thinking about this quilt since I posted about it the other day. Something is not making sense about it and I'm wondering if Grandma told me all the facts. Did ladies get their quilts machine quilted before 1940? It seems to me that back then a woman would probably hand quilt it herself. Now I'm wondering if perhaps Great Grandma Helena only made the top and Grandma (who was not a quilter, as far as I know) had someone machine quilt it later. Perhaps someone who knows more about quilts can tell me when machine quilting became common. In the meantime, I'll ask my Aunt - maybe she knows...

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely beautiful. A treasure and your Great-Gradmother and your Grandma will be hugguing you through this quilt.

    Maybe by 1940s this machine quilting facility was already widely available in the USA.


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