The Quilt Story

This quilt finds its way into my blog several times over the years. So I will try to put the story of the quilt in one place and refer back to it.

original quilt

Made in 1903 the silk patches did not survive storage

Quilt story 2010

You may be wondering why this quilt is in a blog about Art Journaling.

When I first started working on this refurbishing project I did quite a bit of digging into my grandmother’s past. As I dug I realized that this quilt was a journal in a way.

My grandmother lived with us when I was in high school and she told us stories about different things. She could tell me about any piece of material in the quilt and which dress it came from. All of the dresses were made at home, following patterns, but mostly looking at pictures in the magazines. The scraps that made up this quilt were all the best dresses in the family for many, many years. They were carefully saved and then when there was enough material, the quilt was planned.

The quilt was made by my grandmother’s mother (Jane Carse below) and grandmother. The grandmother was either Jane’s mother or Jane’s mother-in-law.


John-Jane-Maxwell Carse

Gramma DeeDee's Mother Jane Gillespie Auld Carse before Gramma was born

My grandmother was born March 7, 1893 and she told me the story about the little spider stitched on one side of the quilt. My grandmother was allowed to stitch the spider as a reward for reciting a Bible verse in church. It was a big honor as this was the ‘best’ quilt, made from the best materials. She was ten years old when she stitched that spider thus the 1903 dating of the quilt.

Infamous Spider

Infamous Spider

All those pieces were the family’s women’s art and in a sense their journal. i.e. this piece was from the suit I wore away from the church on my wedding day, this is the dress I wore to my college graduation…

CURRENT:  My mother gave me this quilt when she moved into her assisted living place a little over a year ago. To tell the truth I took it with half a mind to just put it in the dumpster on my way home.

Quilt panels on couch

Quilt Panels first year I worked on it - 2009

I spread it out and had my partner from Art Camp for Women, who is an art quilter extraordinaire look at it with me – she declared it a keeper and we put our heads together to figure out how to save it.

Quilt Story 2012

Late breaking news! I discovered that there are TWO spiders sewn on this quilt – so now we will never know which one was the prize – or heck maybe she learned two verses.

spider #2

The other Spider - the one I thought was the original spider

This quilt was passed to me through my mother about 4 years ago. At that time my mother was moving into assisted living and asked me to decide if it was worth saving or to throw it away as she couldn’t.

I tossed it in the back of my car fully intending to drop it at the Goodwill. It sat on the couch in my office for a month or so before I even spread it out to look at it and then sat again until my art quilting friend could come take a look.

With my friend’s  input and help I decided to try to save portions of the quilt by cutting it into5 panels and using one panel for scraps to piece into the other four where it was completely worn away. We put borders on the panels and my job was to stitch around the edges of the old quilt onto the borders to blend the piece into its background.

See more about the quilt here.



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