Quilts Can Preserve Family History

On a whim, I went to the Asheville Quilt Show put on by the Asheville Quilt Guild last weekend. I just loved all the creativity displayed there, but I was overwhelmed with the thought of making any quilt, especially those abstract designs, until I found the “Art” categories.

IMG_2527 There was “Pictorial”, “Naturescape/Landscape” and “Special Quilt Technologies”. I instantly thought of all the family pictures I have and wondered if there was one or two that I could transfer to cloth to become a new heirloom.



IMG_2528  Naturescape/Landscape

IMG_2537  Special Quilt Technologies

All of these quilts won awards so they are great designs to use as inspiration. More inspiration comes from the following traditional style blue and white quilt that was pieced together by a group, signed and dated for posterity:

IMG_2523  What a great find this will be in 100 years!

In 1987 I inherited an unfinished quilt top when my paternal grandfather moved into a nursing home. My parents took their time cleaning out his house out of respect for him, but when he died six months later they began to work in earnest. I received the quilt top immediately because it had my name pinned on it.

My grandmother died in 1962 and she had carefully wrapped some quilts in pillow cases and pinned small scraps of paper with names on them. I loved mine, but once it was stored in my trunk, I forgot about it.

IMG_2562 My great grandmother made this “Dresden Plate” quilt top for me when I was a baby.

I stored that quilt top for years until 2004 when I started working on my family history and brought it out to imagine how long it took to make. Now, with my experience in sewing, I have a much deeper appreciation for this quilt top, pieced together from 1940s flour sacks and sewn by hand by my great grandmother.

After seeing the blue and white quilt at the show, I plan to finish her quilt. Using her top decorated in the “Dresden Plate” design, I will choose a complimentary backing, add a colorful binding and a fabric label that tells the story of how this family quilt came to be. The story will include her name and dates, my name and dates and my descendant’s (who hasn’t been chosen yet) name and dates. I can hardly wait to get started!

About Edith

I learned many things in my previous career, but the most important was that communication opens minds and changes lives. I want to apply the same to my new venture in genealogy because we can all benefit from sharing tips and techniques. I have really enjoyed teaching adult classes in genealogy research techniques and want this blog to act as an extension of that experience. I'm currently researching my family surnames including Hawkins, Thomas, Bolling, Alexander, Gudger and Rogers. Enjoy the hunt!
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