Saturday, March 20, 2021

Our Ancestors Quilted...And The Quilts Were In Their Wills

Is Quilting Part of Your DNA - Which Marker?

There was no surprise that a 5 Generation Morris Family Quilt was made. Quilting was a past-time.  It was time to sit around the table with other quilters, in the home, after church on a quiet summer evening. But what happened to the quilts?

I can't encourage genealogical researchers enough to read the will, not just an abstract, to get an hint of their ancestor's hobbies and loves. In generations to come, descendants of Geraldine Strader will know she was a quilter. AND...she put a precious value on her quilts as they were included in the will along with their appraised values.  

Mom Strader's quilts were published probably because she was a Kansas City, Kansas known hand quilter, and her specialty was applique quilts.  They are as beautiful as it sounds. She began quilting when her husband died in 1994. She was already fifty years old. In her lifetime, over the last 25 years of life, she produced over 10 applique quilts, and 12 hand quilts and some fun beautiful machine quilted quilts (her early ones).   

She took Hawaiian applique classes in Hawaii of course. Why not? Her vacations were scheduled around quilt classes.  She gathered fabric from Gambia while visiting her dear friends Doris and husband George Haley, the USA Ambassador to the Republic of The Gambia. That quilt is not shown here, but it is awesome and will be featured in the book.  

Reading of the Will

Addendum to Will - "Quilts are to Never to Leave the Family"

In our family the loudest of arguments was over the quilts. Who will distribute?  Which one is for me?  I want that one? And then of course there were loud voices in the background. "She promised me a quilt."  No she didn't. She ONLY gave them to FAMILY.  Luckily most were distributed before death: sister, 1st cousin, etc.  Some first cousins didn't get theirs finished, but the fabric was named. The three grandsons were designated to receive earlier ones: "choose from those left"  (see #10 above).  

#7 Sample Quilt - Learning Patterns

The three living children each received one with fond memories - one with a story, one that took her 18 months to complete because she was a beginner doing a king size quilt while learning the different patterns (i.e. pinwheel, log cabin, etc). And all of them have perfect beautiful hand quilting stitching. 

Where Will They Land?

Like all descendants, ancestors can't plan enough.  Where do these treasures land in 3-4 generations?  Do you have your grandmother's quilt? I blogged about my first one from Grandma Kathleen: Grandma's Hands in 2010. It was made out of her polyester dresses, sewn only as Grandma could do. But I carried it to college, and it's still with me 40 plus years later.  Why? Because it's from Grandma. We all got one, all seven of her grandchildren, and no one messes with Grandma's quilt!

Today is National Quilting Day. Tell us about your family quilts.

Be Historically Correct
Kathleen Brandt
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