Tag Archives: quilt blocks

Father and Art

We have been celebrating my husband, father of my sons today, but I’m also missing my own dad. He spent his professional life inside helicopter and jet engines but when he had leisure time he could be found in his workshop designing and making wonderful things…

shs whale
Hand carved whale made by my dad.

My dad made this table for me, at my request, so that I would be able to show off quilt blocks made by his mother.

table by dad blocks by nevada
The blocks in this table were made by my dad’s mother; a quilter, who died before I was born.

I remember when I was making this landscape and having a hard time finding fabric for the water and sand (it was before I painted fabric), my dad was giving me his artistic opinion and when I finally got it he gave me an excited “Yes!” Later I gifted the landscape to my parents and he made a beautiful frame for it. If I ever find the photo of it framed (or remember who was given the piece after my mom’s death) I’ll post it.

cliff shore mini quilt
This is a poor photo – the piece actually is straight!

I was very fortunate to have an artistic father and to have parents who were supportive of my art.

Orphaned blocks or Heirlooms

Many years ago I was given quilt blocks that were made by my paternal grandmother. I now have a finished quilt made by her as well.

Quilt by grandma, top by an aunt
Quilt by grandma, top by an aunt

My grandm Nevada, who died before I was born, was a quilter. I wish I had asked my dad more about her. But even more than having my questions answered I would have liked to talked to her about quilting.

My grandmother’s quilt blocks were given to me by my cousin, who had inherited them from her mother. She knew I made quilts and figured I would make something using them. The blocks were not made especially well and the fabric was not fine, but instead flour sacks, dress fabric and thin muslin (some of the patches were even pieced). But holding those blocks connected me to my grandmother the only way we could connect: We both had experienced that soothing motion of the needle rocking up and down through the fabric and the joy of making something with our own hands.

I knew I would not make the blocks into a quilt so I decided to ask my dad, a woodworking hobbyist, if he would make a glass top coffee table for me to display his mother’s quilt blocks. He did and now I own this unique and special memory of each of them.

dadtable nevadablock

There were still many blocks left, so I placed the blocks on fabric, typed captions (This was before our home had PC/printer) to go below each block, framed them and gifted them to my family members. The caption had the name of the block, the circa, the maker with date of birth/death, and the names of her children.

nevablock unframed1
nevablock framed1

So if you have blocks with no place to go, whether family made or just orphans, I hope this gives you some ideas so they continue to be admired and treasured.

If you have done something unique with lone blocks please share your ideas.

Quilting Away, Ann

P. S. This blog reminded me to take those stored quilts out and refold them!