Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Quilts and a Very Big Surprise

You are all so sweet letting me blather on and on about family heirlooms.  Thanks so much for your lovely comments and for sharing your stories with me.  I thought you might like to see my quilts.  Before you decide to leave me with a quick click of your mouse, promise to stay awhile because I had a big surprise I'd like to share with you.

Okay, I said my quilts, meaning of course they are mine, but not made by me.  As I stated previously my Grandmother was an avid quilter and she passed these skills onto my sister Claudia
 Yes, I am the proud owner of one of Claudia's beautiful quilts.  This gorgeous piece of artwork is on a wall, high up in my family room.


 I would love to know how many quilts my Grandmother made in all.  I don't remember her making
them when I was younger, at least she did not make them when I was at her house.  I remember her crocheting in lovely 70's acrylic yarn, and watching The Young and the Restless, and Guiding Light during the afternoons.


This quilt was on my twin sized bed when I was growing up.  My room was upstairs and in the winter it was freezing, I used to feel the frost on the wall right next to my head.  It sounds like I grew up in the Arctic Circle, nope Dearborn, Michigan where apparently we did not have enough heat upstairs.


 I inherited this beauty also, but I don't remember where it was in my house, Claudia do you know?  It is a full size quilt so it certainly wasn't on my bed.


 And this is my wedding quilt.  My Grandmother made it for me when I was 1 years old.  I remember it in the back of my closet up on a high shelf, I was not to touch it.  I used to peek at it just slightly, but never, ever did I take it out of the bag it was stored in.  When I took it out for the photo shoot I realized I had never unfolded it and really looked at it.  It has always been stored in the same bag.  It is a full size quilt so does not meet the needs of my king sized bed.  I also have boys, so I will protect my treasures at all costs, because......... well they are boys. 


When unpacking the wedding quilt there was something in the bottom of the bag.  I kind of ignored it while taking photos then when I was ready to put the quilt back I reached in the bag and pulled this out. Oh my, what is this?  A gorgeous slip or night gown?  I was in total shock.  I had never, ever seen this piece before.


 This is old, very old.  I quickly called Claudia and sent her some pictures. 


We think this must have been my Grandmother's, possibly for her wedding night.  It looks more like a special nightgown that someone carefully made.  Did she make it, or her Mother?


The top has beautiful hand crocheted lace with a light green or blue ribbon woven through it.  The ribbon is faded and worn here or there but it is still in great condition. 


The fabric is satin and is hand stitched where the crochet is attached and by machine for the seams and hem, a Featherweight perhaps?  It is on the small side, and my Grandmother was tiny.  It looks like it might be too small for my Mother, but I have to remember my Mother was much thinner when she got married at the young age of 18.  Maybe my Grandmother made it for my Mom with lace that came from her family or that she crocheted.


I think I just received the most beautiful gift from the past.  I wish I knew the answers to all the questions I have.  Was it for my Grandmother's wedding night?  Who made it?  Did she wear it just once, and where did she store it that we never came across it before?  Did she make it for my Mom even though she was not happy at all my Mother was marrying my Father?  I am thinking of taking it to my Mom to see if it sparks a memory that she can voice, even if it is a few words.  My Dad might remember if it was for his wedding night, he was head over heels in love with my Mom and he still is, they are going on 67 years of marriage.

After a lot of discussion with Claudia,we decided that my Grandmother got married later in life.  She was a nurse and did not get married until she was in her early 30's.  That was very late in those days.  My sister thinks she was born in 1892,  she had my Mother when she was 34 or 35.  Maybe she was so thrilled to be getting married she made this for her trousseau.  Perhaps her Mother made it for her as a special gift?  I might not ever really know the answers, but I have this very special part of my Grandmother, if she wore it, made it for herself or for my Mother, a little gift from Heaven don't you think?

35 comments:

Claudia said...

I don't know about the middle quilt, Mer. I recognize it, maybe it was on Mom and Dad's bed? I only have 2 quilts from Gram - the twin sized one that was on my childhood bed and the one she appliqued for my 'hope chest' - I used that one for years and it's not in the best shape anymore.

I never thought that it might have been for Mom - it seems too small for her. She was skinny, but she was 5'7" tall and that piece seems more like it would fit Gram.

The quilts are beautiful, Mer.

xo
Claudia

by Teresa said...

What a treasure! Imagine all the wonderful things that are lying undiscovered in the bottom of bags in closets around the world! :-) The lace on that wonderful nightgown is tatted, I believe. You should get a vintage mannequin like Claudia has and put that magnificent gown on display in your studio. Your quilts are absolute treasures! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

Clicky Needles said...

I agree with Teresa, the nightgown should be on display. Those quilts are fabulous, I'm rubbish at quilting and always admire beautiful american quilts.

Stitchy Mc Floss said...

The quilts are beautiful.

The gown is so lovely. Is that tatted lace on there? I was only wondering because I noticed it had "picots" like the ones I've seen in tattled lace. It certainly is beautiful and what a wonderful treasures you have.

Blessings always dear friend.

cockney blonde said...

Oh my gosh. I was truly enjoying looking at those beautiful quilts when I arrived at the photo of the old silk/satin petticoat/nightie and it has brought a tear to my eye. What a wonderful find after all those years. It was clearly waiting to be found and how magical. I'm wondering if it was a petticoat with the blue ribbon as part of her old, new, borrowed and blue wedding tradition. Do you have that over there? I have been doing my family history, although not for a few years, and this just makes it all worthwhile, x

Betsy said...

oh my goodness! I. too, was enjoying the quilts and the stories behind them and then...the nightgown! It is gorgeous! And the memories that are attached to it, even if you don't know them yet. Such a beautiful piece of your family. Putting it on display in your studio would be lovely, you could see it all the time. Thank you for sharing.
Blessings,
Betsy

Jeanmarie DiTaranto said...

How wonderful to have all those quilts -- especially with the history behind them; and the nightgown is such a precious find.

Like you, I'm not a quilter, so what really struck me was:

"...70's acrylic yarn, and watching The Young and the Restless, and Guiding Light during the afternoons."

That's such a vivid grandmother memory for me, too! Loving these heirloom posts.

Sharron said...

I've really loved reading your recent posts, and this one especially caught my attention. How precious to find something so amazing hidden away, that no doubt has a story to tell! Whether you find the answers to your questions or not, it's undoubtedly a treasure. My father's managed to go back as far as my 8x Grandparents, somewhere in the 1700's I think. I'm fascinated by genealogy, so thank you for sharing your's xx

Grayseasailor said...

No pressure, Meredith, but I hope you will consider displaying the quilts and the nightie in your studio. Viewing such treasured artistry on a regular basis will celebrate it and bring you much joy. [In my humble? opinion :-)]
xx,
Gracie

Mrs. Micawber said...

My first thought was that perhaps your Grandmother made this for YOUR wedding night - the first item in your trousseau, to go with the quilt. What a lovely surprise!

All those beautiful quilts ... Grandmother's Fan, Grandmother's Flower Garden - how appropriate! :) Lucky you to have these beautiful heirlooms.

P.S. I think that is tatted lace on the nightgown....

Kathy Inozarks said...

oh wow is there any any you can display your wedding quilt in your bedroom somehow-too beautiful to live in a bag forever.
I was thinking the same thing, if you were given this bag as a young child and I am thinking the beautiful nightgown was made for your wedding night-that would be so lovely to also be displayed so you can enjoy it.
thank you for sharing hugs Kathy

Kathy Inozarks said...

oh and I really believe that is tatted lace as well Kathy

EMMA said...

Oh my that nightgown is so beautiful, as are the quilts. I hope you find the answers to the story, although the 'mystery' surrounding it is in itself very romantic!

Babajeza said...

It's beautiful!

kathy b said...

What a sweet surprise. How monumental to have something that was obviously really important to her life. I hope it was her wedding night gown..how sweet.

Paula said...

I like to think your grandma made the nightgown for you!

shari said...

What??? what a sweet surprise! I hope you give us a update if you get any advice from your family on the gown.....I love stuff like this!
Hugs, Shari

linda said...

All your quilts are beautiful, I love the wedding quilt, but the gown is gorgeous what a lovely surprise:)

Elisabeth said...

Beautiful quilts Meredith, especially the wedding quilt. The flowers on it are so pretty.
And the gown is beautiful, the lace on it is grogeous. I hope you find out who's it was and the story behind it and update us all on it :) Have a lovely day, Elisabeth x

Sweet Posy Dreams said...

Love all the quilts. I was especially taken with the first one because I've never seen that pattern before. And the gown was a wonderful surprise for you!

The Garden Bell - Kate said...

What a lovely treat. And today....was even more special. I'm still going over and over all the fun in my head. But, glad to be back down at the beach and off the road. Can't wait to see you next post and those surprises. Such a pleasure today.

Olga said...

Hi Meredith, the quilts you have are very pretty. And I enjoyed reading your story of finding this beautiful gown. It's very beautiful and special.

Lap Dog Knits said...

you have treasures...the quilts are beautiful and the gown??? what a special bonus!!!

Tammy@T's Daily Treasures said...

Oh gosh Meredith! As you are slowly walking down memory lane, along comes that beautiful find! Wow! The quilts are all so beautiful. But the nightgown truly is a treasure. Have a fabulous day. Tammy

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

Ohhh my goodness! Your quilts are lovely that you have of your Grandmother's but that last night slip is gorgious! Your Grandmother is slightly older than mine. Even if she married later - back then - most girls had some sort of chest- many times a cider chest where they would start collecting things like clothes, linens, silver and other things for her up coming marriage. Also, this isn't crochet - this is tatting. A form of lace making. My Grandfather HAD to be doing something all the time- so after putting in a full day on the 75 acre farm - he would sit by the fire and tat. What a beautiful treasure you have!! God Bless! You know your Grandmom is smiling down from above!

Toni said...

The quilts are lovely, but that lace slip or whatever is stunning! Both grandmothers tried to teach me to tat, and I just didn't have the patience and hadn't ever seen much done with it so I didn't really appreciate the possibilities. But had I seen THAT, I would have been motivated! It really would be wonderful if you could display it somewhere and have a constant reminder of unexpected beauty each day. :)

Bonnie said...

That tatted lace is divine. Tatting is really getting to be a lost art. Much harder to master than knitting and crocheting. What wonderful treasure. Thanks for sharing.

An Aussie Felter said...

I love family heirlooms - If only they could talk ! They're gorgeous!Have a great week x

Susanne said...

Lovely, everything is just lovely. The gown has a tatted lace top. Look at it closely, can you imagine how many hours it took with a shuttle to make it, WOW! I tried to learn to tat, have a darling fragile doily given to me from a woman I use to take care of (a bit of a story behind that gift) it is a treasure to me and I only gently hand wash it. She nearly was blind for all her delicate handiwork, that is what tatting did to her. The quilts are all gorgeous, indeed treasures and you are so fortunate to be the owner of them.
HUGS, and another (hug) for just being there,
Susanne :)

Nana Go-Go said...

Hey Meredith, I don't know why your posts aren't showing up in my reader but I was just wondering how you were since we hadn't 'seen' you in a while and there's a load of posts to read!!Yippee! I think your theory about the beautiful gown being part of your Grandmother's trousseau for her wedding night is probably correct and wouldn't it be so lovely if her mother did indeed make it for her? Anyway it's a fantastic piece of social history and really beautifully made and I hope you'll be able to treasure it forever. I'm off to read about more of your family treasures. Keep 'em coming. xxx

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Your quilts are so lovely. I have some from my Mom who is a quilter and they are precious to me. Love the nightgown and I hope you might find some answers. I came to visit from Claudia's blog.
hugs, Linda

ladyhawthorne said...

I popped over from Claudia's too and that IS tatting on the nightgown, my Great Aunt Ruth used to do that, wish I had been old enough to learn.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

What a lovely story - and a treasure. I love the tatted lace on the top of the night gown - I hope you find out more about it.

Rose Red said...

Wow, even more treasures!
That nightgown is gorgeous. I hope you will display it, even for short periods of time, it is too beautiful not to admire regularly.

Hindustanka said...

Such surprises are lovely! Heritage... memories... wow! I wish I had something like this from my grandparents :)
the quilts are absolutely lovely! I really like the one which your wedding, I will definitely learn sewing and quilting in future!
Thanks for sharing precious moments with us, Meredith!