Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nanny and I

My maternal grandmother made utilitarian quilts for her family. They weren't called quilts, they were called blankets.  She would make rough patchwork, mostly ninepatch . The batting was a old flannel blanket and the backing was an old sheet. Her quilting stitches just held the layers together, they were very big.  My mother remembers her mother sewing these creations by hand.  Quilting was not a big thing in the little fishing village my ancestors lived in since the early 1800s.  But after my grandmother passed away, I found a bag filled with dresdan plate blocks that she had made,  in the attic of my mother's house.  The petals were blanket-stitched on a muslin background. They weren't perfect, but I fell in love with them.  My mother said that she remembers some of the fabrics in the plates as dresses or blouses that my grandmother wore. I am not sure and I don't have the expertise to date them.  I would love to know what decade these fabrics are from.  So , if you have an idea, let me know.
  When I found all these unfinished blocks in 1993 I was just in the process of moving away from my little fishing village in Nova Scotia to big city Saint John, N. B.  The first thing I did was to join the Marco Polo Quilter's Guild and ask for help as to how I could proceed with turning these simple blocks into a quilt. I had no experience with quilting at this time but I knew that I had to finish what  my grandmother had started.   I got lots of help from the awesome quilters in Saint John. I found a unbleached muslin that almost matched the background of the blocks, sewed it into a setting that I liked and then handquilted it.  I finished this family heirloom in 1996. The guild honoured me with a ribbon at the quilt show that year.  I spent three wonderful years in Saint John before moving back home. I have lots of great quilty memories from my time spent there.


  1. I love the setting you chose for the blocks. I have never seen a Dresden Plate done this way before and yet it makes perfect sense.Nanny would be proud of this, Linda. I am left wondering where you grew up? :)

  2. What a wonderful story, and I love the way you laid them all out. It is a gorgeous quilt.

  3. Great story. It's so nice that you honored your grandmother's work. She would be proud of what you accomplished with her blocks, the quilt is lovely.

  4. Without seeing them closer, from what I can tell from your picture and not knowing when your grandmother was quilting or her timespan. I would say it is a collection of fabric from 40's thru 60's, maybe 70's. Can't tell for sure. Can you tell if its all cotton or maybe blended material?
    There are some really good fabric dating books out.
    You can email me if you would like more info.


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