Continuing from The Box…Originally meant for quilts, not as my bed nor coffin (read the link above) there are quilts but mostly it’s crap.
My family quilted 100% using their bare hands holding threaded needles prior to the 1970s.
Ladies like my grandmothers and great-grandmothers (and many before!) had their quilting frames hung on rafters near the fire so they could see (we had no electricity). It kept them neat and tidy during the day (or out of the way for the dancing!). You pulled them down to work at night (or during the day if a friend came to visit — to help!).
None of the quilts in this box are veritable museum pieces, made by my family members’ wee fingers without electric machines let alone lights. Those are kept away safe where nobody -that’d be me might spill whiskey!
If you’re looking for that kind of post, try the Smithsonian.
Here’s a common butter dish. I reckon it’s Depression Era by the looks but I’m no expert. It was my great-grand-baba’s. It was left on the table. One of the ‘handles’ is broken. –it wasn’t me, rly The yellow inside isn’t butter. It’s a Post-It note.
It was purchased by my mammy (the birth grandmother who raised me) as a church donation. She has been dead a long time. I don’t know what to do with it but I’m happy to have a reminder of her love and charity, even though there’s no ‘heirloom’ attachment.
I didn’t photograph several yards of unbleached muslin (since donated to Feed My People). This ties in. -that’s a pun, we’re just not there yet; I should probably write drafts instead of word vomit
Speaking of blandness, there’s a US Army blanket. I used it through my teens. It’s thin but dense and there’s NOTHING like a several-decades-old wool Army blanket. When I fell into a frozen river a few years ago, Brother wrapped me up in one he keeps in his car. I’m still here!
Since I made you look at bland things, let me share something pretty! These are crochet works by my grandmother and her mother (great-grand-baba). Bright yellow is Baba’s. The deeper yellow is Gram’s.
By age three, wee Lily was set upon a child-sized chair next to Gram and a needle and embroidery floss were provided. I was taught to thread needles and tie knots the first couple of days. Then, I was set to stitch work.
Around age 9, Gram gave up on my needlecraft and set me to crochet. I never made it past single chains. Someplace, there’s an example of my embroidery ‘skills’ around age 9 when she gave up. I believe it’s a lily (go figure) in purple and I believe it spells out a day of the week. The project was meant to be a tea towel for every day. I seem to recall it began on Sunday and never went further. ::sigh::
Remember that unbleached muslin? In my shame at failing embroidery and crochet, I tried candlewicking, then gave up needlecraft.
If you look at the crochet above, IMO, Gram’s exceeds her mothers. Her mother’s needlecraft far exceeded Gram’s. Gram sewed everything and that included my school clothes until middle school. It’s not like she couldn’t sew. I’m simply stating Baba was a Master.
The crochet works above are not fabulous. They’re what Gram and Baba cranked out for themselves or family members. Later in life, Gram started selling — because I kept telling her to stop giving it away! She loved working with her hands. She always encouraged my practise in needlecraft and crochet by saying how relaxing it was. I hated it.
She liked to crochet ‘lace’ and pretty bits but not large projects like afghans. My friend Sheila taught me to crochet (I’d forgotten) and I since made afghans, Breast Cancer Awareness ribbons and ONE pair of baby booties (they were a bitch).
Back to pretties, here’s an example of Gram’s embroidery and crochet together. She did lots of pillow cases.
I just noticed as I posted this that it’s a butterfly and the quilt she bought has butterflies…I bet she designed this to ‘match’ it. I simply can’t recall.
Let’s have some more kitsch:
The candy tray (or what I’d call one) is what we put shelled nuts in at Christmas. The wine decanter has another 2 glasses that I couldn’t be bothered to unpack. This sat on her sideboard alone with a Liberty Bell sweet jar, a multi-tiered candy dish and something over to the left that I can’t recall. Mind you, ‘the left’ isn’t shown here. We’re going by my memory of the sideboard that I wish like hell I owned. It wasn’t worth money but I played constantly in its drawers and cabinet doors! I was only allowed to touch the sweet jar on top, though!
Back to some quilts. This is a long, rambling post, so if anybody is still reading, bless.
Here’s one that is a 100% hand-made, zero electric machinery, only human-hands and needles and threads quilt made by my Baba. Why it’s here, although it is an heirloom, is because it makes me sad and I just don’t know. The needlecraft looks about like I did it. This is a terrible insult to my Baba but there’s a reason why.
She was blind by this time. I almost started crying typing that. Wow. Breathe…
My negative comment is only if you held it in your hands, you can visibly see the stitches. She was blind, so ya know. Eff off.
The last photo is a very special quilt. I have never liked it but it’s also a sort of heirloom but even more than that.
It was tack-quilted by…Me.
I was a baby girl, crawling on top of it, tying knots with…Baba. Who had long gone blind.
I tacked this quilt with my blind great-grandmother, built by my mammy. I keep it close because I may need it.