Grandma's Apron Quilts

Okay, so here's the story. First, a little family history, especially since the theme is Motherhood and, since I'm NOT a mother, I focused on MY mother. My Mom is one of four kids, and they all live pretty close to each other. My maternal grandfather died just after I turned 16, but my maternal grandmother passed away just nine years ago. (For those of you doing the math, she outlived him by 15 or 16 years.) At the time she passed away, Gramma had 11 great-grandchildren--one girl (the oldest) and the rest boys.

When we were going through Gramma's stuff, I spotted an apron that was a lovely pastel stripe with little embroidered-type flowers (bordering the label above--the name for this type of fabric escapes me.) My intention at the time was to work it into a quilt for any of the great-granddaughters born after Gramma passed away. (This did not seem like much of an undertaking, given the family's track record for delivering boys.) Turns out that baby my cousin was carrying at the time was the first of several baby girls. At last count, I think there have been nine new additions in that generation and five of them have been girls! I'd like to say that each baby got their quilt the day after they were born, but I'm just not that organized.


The first one, Lyda, got her quilt complete with yellow stars when she was 4—I made it in a quilt guild workshop. The second two, Kayleigh and Jenna, got theirs when they were 3—I had the first top pieced but not quilted, and couldn't give one without the other because the two girls were first cousins born within months of each other. And the latest arrivals were the luckiest—Adeline and Madison had theirs before their 6-month checkups! I was on a roll getting Kayleigh and Jenna's done, so I just kept going. Thank goodness for winter nights!

Each quilt is a different pattern, though they all use the same basic pastel palette—the colors from the apron. Many years ago, I found the paper doll print and bought a bunch of it, not sure what I might do with it. (I bought it with yellow background and off-white background—I liked it that much!) I also bought the border fabric that you see in the square pinwheel quilt—Adeline's—I couldn't resist those little dolls in the stripes. So the doll fabric ties them all together. The interesting part is that Gramma always had dolls with fancy dresses in the basement for her grandkids to play with, so the fabric seems a perfect memorial. Each quilt gets a label that includes a picture of Gramma and a message to each of the girls. Each label is surrounded by the apron fabric. Truth is, I was afraid to work the apron fabric into the quilt, as I don't really know how old it is and I didn't want to have to repair blocks if the fabric fell apart over time. Plus, the apron fabric is limited, and if my cousins keep creating little baby girls, I'm going to run out soon.

My family is big on memory items. This same grandmother had a red-and-white quilt that had holes and stains all over it from the years of use. We discovered it in her hope chest and my Mom and Aunt Janie turned the blocks into Christmas ornaments for the whole family. When my paternal grandmother passed away, my Mom took some of the clothes and aprons that were most familiar to all of us and turned them into Christmas ornaments as well. I've heard stories of families taking their dad's flannel shirts and turning them into a quilt or pillows. I've got several dresses from my Gramma that I wear on occasion. They're vintage 1950s and 60s, and I wear them when I'm in a retro mood. Whether you cut apart the clothes to salvage the fabric or just rework them to suit your style, the preservation of the memories is the same.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Linda...This is a beautiful page keep on creating these lovely gifts because we love you for it. Thanks...cousin Sue Siegel-Kuschewski

Zonnah said...

That is so wonderful! They are all beautiful :)

Diva Quilts said...

It's too bad we can't see any of the quilts in detail, but they look lovely from a distance.

Thanks for being part of the festival!

Linda Augsburg said...

Diva,

Sorry for the lack of detail. I should have taken better pics before I gave them as gifts!!

Linda

Jean said...

What a wonderful gesture for these little girls. You did a great job...seems like a lot of quilts from one apron. Was it one of the aprons that had a front and back?

tooznie said...

I love how all these quilts tie together to a time even before you, what a lovely sense of history :)

Linda Augsburg said...

Jean, Since I only actually use the apron on the label, it will go a long way! I was afraid to work it into the piecing, given its age, so I just used it in the labels. Thanks, Tooznie and Zonnah, for the kind words.

AnnieO said...

That tribute to your Gramma is so touching and each little girl will have a thread connecting to each other through your beautiful gifts. Wonderful quilts and a terrific family story. Thanks for sharing!

Quilts on Bastings said...

Your quilts are wonderful - what a lovely story, thanks for sharing.

ChickieChirps said...

What a lovely story and beautiful quilts! It is so nice to have a piece of history in the quilts and I am sure the little ones will really appreciate that when they are older.

Arabella

Rene' said...

I love your blog layout. So cool. Your story and gifts are great. Thanks for sharing.

Avon said...

Linda - your quilts are lovely but I was so impressed with your blog. Love the spiral book & the date tabs - a great looking blog and I've seen lots of them. Nice job.

from a non-blogger who happened upon you thru Park city quilt show.

SewCalGal said...

I love your quilts. Delightful colors & fabrics.

Thanks for sharing and for participating in the Bloggers Quilt Festival.

SewCalGal
www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

Susan In Texas said...

What terrific little quilts! I think you were smart to incorporate the apron fabric in the label. Aged fabric can get very brittle as you know, and you're right, it's impossible to tell how it hold up. Maybe in 3-4 generations, these quilts will have been "loved to death" and will be made into keepsakes too!

All the best,
Susan
http://susanintexas.blogspot.com

quiltmom said...

HI Linda, What a wonderful idea to use your grandma's quilt for Christmas ornaments when it was no longer useable as a quilt.
I love what you have done with your grandma's aprons and think all your baby quilts are real treasures. I am sure that she would have loved that her belongings remained useful and treasured- Just like your memories of her!
What a great post.
Warmest regards,
Anna

QuiltSue said...

I love what you have done with your grandmother's things.

Suzanne said...

Wow - They are wonderful!

ANudge said...

What a beautiful story and lovely quilts. Thanks for sharing!

Allie said...

Your quilts and the story behind them are lovely!

Angie said...

What great stories for these quilts. Lucky girls!

jabeybaby said...

Beautiful quilts and what special gifts!

Bed Linens said...

All them them look so bright and cheerful

Jeannette said...

Great story and your family quilts are just the best. Your pictures are fine...What you might try sometime, if you haven't ever, is email your photos to your blog rather than download them from an open post.and most programs will let you pick the size....then people can click on them and they will open larger in a new window.
You are last on the festival list but not least!

Cheryl said...

What a wonderful story! And a piece of family history to pass on! Your quilts are beautiful, and knowing that a piece of the apron is in each one, is just so special! They're very lucky to have someone such as you to make them such a wonderful heirloom!

Carolyn said...

Stunning quilts! So lovely--all of them.

Behind My Picket Fence said...

Your baby quilts are great and I'm sure much appreciated. We're in a baby-less streak right now but I can always hope! (grandchildren).
I just wrote a blog about vintage clothes but sounds like you actually use yours!

Natalia said...

I love your quilts! They are darling!

Christine said...

That is such a special thing to do! Great work.

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