My Turn! “My Family Quilt” Blog Hop

I interrupt your regularly scheduled Quilt Festival blogging to get a little personal this weekend. My quilting friend Cheryl Sleboda had a neat idea: to host a blog hop among art quilters who could share one quilt that a family member had made.

Here’s the blog hop schedule:

The “My Family Quilt” Blog Hop!
Oct 1. – Sylvia Lewis
Oct 3. – Deborah Massie Boschert
Oct 4. – Sheila Frampton-Cooper
Oct 5. – Pokey Bolton
Oct 6. – Frieda Anderson
Oct 7. – Lisa Chin
Oct 8. – Cheryl Sleboda

Meet the quilt maker of my family, my great-grandmother on my mother’s side, Julia Connor:

Julia ConnorComing from very meager means, my great grandmother (“Gram” to me) learned to triumph in her life by being very creative, resourceful, and generous. She quilted, made dolls, painted, and could basically take any bit of paper or fabric and fashion it into some kind of art.

When I was a little girl, I spent lots of time talking with her when she visited her daughter (my grandmother “Ruthie” who I called “Fooie” because I could not articulate my “R’s” as a little girl). A favorite past time was driving down to Fooie’s home where my brother and I would race into the my grandmother’s room where one of her mother’s quilts would be, nose dive onto the bed “to pull the quilt up to our noses,” and listen to all of the family gossip.

Over the years I had learned of the challenging life my great grandmother led, but she remained positive, determined to see the beauty in any situation.

The last time I saw my Gram was when she was 98 years old, living in a modest nursing facility outside of Eureka, CA. My mother, brother, and I went to visit her, and she shared with us her greatest and latest gift: mailed correspondence with another nursing home patient in Eugene, OR. I remember watching her elderly, papery hands lovingly trace the stickers on the outside of the envelope, commenting, “Look! Do you see how she added stickers with butterflies and lady bugs? How thoughtful!”

My Gram passed a year later at 99. She was a lovely woman to me, a positive force in my life, a glass-is-half-full type of person, teaching me that any hardship is surmountable if you have the right attitude.

Lucky for me, when I took a big brave step in my life and moved to Houston, I had one of my great grandmother’s quilts to accompany me. It is one of my most cherished treasures.

my favorite quilt

My (great) grandmother’s flower garden quilt, entirely hand pieced and stitched, and done so with a whole lot of love.

x

I had the quilt on my bed for the first few months I was living in Houston, but Clarence (ever an energetic dog) proved to be too much for this quilt, so it is now retired to the sofa table in my family room where I’ve stacked a number of fragile quilts.

But that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy it every once in a while…

Khaleesi quilt

And still snuggle under, making sure to bring the quilt all the way up to our noses!

Pokey Bolton

12 responses

  1. Thanks pokey. That was a lovely memory you shared with us.
    My grandmother was a quilter too. Only she passed away when my mother was just 9 years old. My mother has memories of quilting bees in her home hosted by her mother.
    I wish one of her quilts survived. We have looked for years. A quilter friend of mine said they were probably utilitarian quilts that no longer exist. I refuse to believe that. This all took place in Magnolia Park, a neighborhood in Houston, Texas, prior to 1940.
    See you at the Quilt Festival.

  2. Love the quilt, beautiful colors and very modern looking now! What lovely memories to have and nothing like snuggling up in it to feel secure and wrapped in love, close to your g.grandma.

  3. It’s nice to see family treasures that have been cared for as they get passed thru the generations. Many years ago I found 2 bed quilts in our dairy barn, I asked my Grandmother about them and found that her Mother had made them, My Grandfather used them to cover the engines of the larger trucks and the tractors so they would start on the cold New England mornings. They both had frayed torn areas and many grease spots. Eventually they were down sized and framed as gifts for cousins married and planning for future generations. No longer here for their intended use but as a family memory.

  4. You are so fortunate to have wonderful memories of your great grandmother, and to have a quilt made lovingly by her hands is even better! Thank you for sharing her story!

  5. Pokey, Your GG’s quilt is a true and beautiful treasure!

    Wish I had known either of my grandmothers, but I had my mother who stayed up late to sew me beautiful doll clothes as a surprise … and my Aunt Lil, her sister (she single handedly tried to cover the world with her crochet pieces,) who has left me with a quilt of the 60’s. She had little $$ to work with and loved the ease of the new polyesters. So her quilt contains vivid patches of 60’s prints bound together with tan ribbed polyester! What a hoot … I received it when i had a “snooty” notion about quilts – had to be perfect (after all, I had the Intl Quilt Festival as an example.) Now I’ve seen the light and have it preserved for future finished quilting in my lineup of UFO’s.

  6. I love your story. I am the first of my family to quilt. I moved to USA 10 years ago from Venezuela and I hope my kids keep the quilts I make to the next generations to enjoy them. Happy quilting

  7. I love this quilt and the story behind it. I’m the only person in my family that quilts.My mom has saved each of the quilts I made her.

  8. Hi there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could locate a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot! eecgbebkggge

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