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I found three quilt blocks, tucked in different drawers in different dressers, when sorting for my parent’s move from the farm into town recently. I wondered when these orphaned blocks were sewn, and why they were not incorporated into a quilt.

I handed the first one to Mom, which she promptly flipped over.

“It’s hand stitched, by my mother because I recognize many of her dresses in fabric pieces.”

“Any feed sack material,” I ask?

She rubs a couple of materials between her finger and thumb. “No, all the material is from dresses.”

The next two blocks match in pattern, but one is blue and white, the other peach and white. Mom didn’t bother flipping them over and laughed, “I made these blocks while in grade school and never finished it”.

Yes, she spent time around the quilting frame with her mother, grandmothers, and neighbors when visiting them, but she never made a whole quilt by herself.

I now know the answer with my mother’s abandoned quilt blocks, but not my grandmother’s. But that’s okay because even if these patches of sewed together fabric never became part of a quilt, they still have a memory to pass on from one quilter to another.

Mom inherited several trunkful’s of quilts from her grandmother Kizzie Pieratt, so I guess she just didn’t need to make her own. Moreover, with WWII, family priorities and types of bedding changing, maybe young wives didn’t quilt as much in the 1940s.

Now these quilts and memories of Great Grandma Kizzie are mine to savor and share.

Is this a talent that is learned, or passed down? I guess it depends on the family. The love (and necessity) of quilts and quilting done by her mother, and especially her grandmother Kizzie did not pass on to my mother, but they did skip a generation down to me.

Because it’s the beginning of the New Year, I’m thinking about projects to start—and to finish—in 2012. Where can I put my talents to the best use, to get the most out of my time, and make something lasting that can be enjoyed by me, and others, now and in the future?

What talent and legacy are you passing on in 2012? Please let me know —and share it with your family so they know the story too!

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Comment by Linda Hubalek on January 3, 2012 at 8:19pm

What an excellent idea to keep a quilt journal! And so fun to look back and reminisce....

Comment by June Johnson/Wi on January 3, 2012 at 7:50pm

In case someone in the future wants to know the stories my projects, I take a photo of each and place in my "quilt journal" with the story i.e. where fabrics were bought, inspiration for project, who it was made for, etc.  It is fun to look back at all I have done and realize I do accomplish something.  Happy quilting.

Comment by Linda Hubalek on January 2, 2012 at 11:36am

Yes, framing the blocks is a good idea...after I give them a good ironing.

Wrinkles really show up when taking photos...  :)

Comment by Pam/NY on January 2, 2012 at 10:46am

I have a small serving tray with a quilt block under glass. That is a great idea about the journal along with making the quilt.

Comment by B J Elder/WA on January 2, 2012 at 9:22am

As you were showing those pieces I was thinking how awesome they would be to mat and frame. What treasures. Thanks for sharing them with us. It is so wonderful to know who made them, etc. So often we find things that there is no information about them.  

Comment by Linda Hubalek on January 2, 2012 at 8:36am

Thanks for the note. That will be a beautiful quilt for your daughter. Have you thought of making a journal or memory book to go with it...your reasons for making it, thoughts AND events (family, town, world) that went on while making it. Great history for her and future generations.

Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on January 2, 2012 at 8:23am

Fun finds!  An added blessing is that your mom is still available to pass along the stories behind the blocks.  Oftentimes we find these things after they are gone and the stories are lost.  I'm working on a DWR for my daughter's wedding quilt made from 30's reproduction fabrics.  She appreciates and loves the quilts, though she is not yet a quilter herself, so she will consider it an heirloom.  

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