Quilt: How to Help a Family History Heirloom Quilt Live On

The Old Quilt that Mom Made

She originally made the quilt for my Grandma.  I remember sleeping under it when we visited her.  When she passed away my mom got it back again.  Now I have it.  We can’t all have it and some of us might not even want it.  One day it will wear out and no one will be able to enjoy it anymore.  In fact, when I was a girl we had an old quilt on my bed.  It had a lavender back and was done in what I realize now, was a wedding ring pattern.  I spent lots of time looking at it when I was little.  Just looking for the different places where there was matching fabric.  About five years ago I learned that the quilt was made by my Great Grandmother, who passed away 10 years before I was born.  She had made a quilt for each of her 3 granddaughters.  Sadly, I learned that about 50 years too late to salvage the quilt.  I guess I will always wonder why my Mom allowed the quilt to be used until it fell apart.  Maybe I wouldn’t let her take it off my bed.  I don’t think I was such a spoiled child that she couldn’t have gotten that quilt away from me, but who knows.  The quilt is gone now and there is nothing anyone can do about it. Family History Quilt 1

For that reason I have decided to to be more careful with the quilt my Mother made.  It is a family history quilt.  The center contains a block for each of her parents and then a block for herself and each of her siblings.  They are all represented with a picture she copied from a coloring book that she felt expressed the personality of each.  (Yes, I know, it’s a copyright violation.)  She has painted them with liquid embroidery paint. (Aunt Martha’s available at Hobby Lobby and other craft stores. There are other brands too, but I think most have faded out of existence.  Actually my Mom used to sell Artex.)  Each block has a section under the picture, a different color for each, with the name, date of birth, spouses name, date of marriage, and in some cases the date of death now too.  (A constant maintenance project, that I need to get to.)  All around the edges are small rectangular blocks which are color coded to each individual block in the middle.  These outside blocks have the names and birth dates of all my grandmothers grandchildren and great grandchildren.  It is a pretty wild looking quilt, lots of colors and blocks.  I need to finish it up with all the great grandchildren.  They hadn’t all been born at the time my mother quit on the quilt.  I think I will stop with the great grandchildren (the children of all my cousins) because the quilt is getting too large.  (My Grandma only had 13 children and 47 grandchildren!)

I have made a 4 page scrapbook layout documenting the quilt for our family history album.

Printed in real size you can read the quilt blocks on these pages.

Family History Quilt 2

My Grandparents quilt blocks and the blocks of an aunt and uncle, who both died as infants, each have a dark blue portion on the lower part of the quilt block.    Each of my other aunts and uncles have a different color that is carried out to the edges of the quilt in small blocks with the names and birth dates of their children and grandchildren.  The outer quilt blocks are arranged from oldest to youngest.  The blocks get smaller with each generation.  It is quite the never ending project!

Family History Quilt 3 Family History Quilt 4 My Mom was a real genealogy nut and she invested a lot of hours in this quilt.  The bottom block in the layout above is the one she made to represent herself.  I really do believe that her life’s dream was to be a mother and she was certainly the best.  I miss her every day.  It is my hope that this family history quilt that she made will live on, even after it is thread bare, through these layouts.

Do you have a family history quilt?

Who made it?

How was it made?

How will you preserve it?




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