Saturday, January 25, 2014

Marvelous Marie #3

Drumroll! The inaugural Saturday post of Marvelous Marie and Quilts from My Sewing Machine.

Without any question, the first post will be of one of Aunt Marie's quilts. You'll not want to miss the previous blogs about my Aunt and quilt muse. The first is Aunt Marie's history and the not-to-be-missed Gallatin Quilt.

Aunt Marie left me many quilt tops that she had made but not finished. Once her eyesight became poor enough, in her 80's, she couldn't hand quilt, she continued to piece tops. I have been working on these tops and thus these quilts are a collaboration between the two of us. The second blog is just such a collaboration between Aunt Marie and I called The 70's are Calling, They Want Their Fabric Back!.

The 70's Are Calling! R to L: Me, My Mom, My Sister at
my High School graduation in 1972
You want to know something that's wonderful about my Aunt Marie and Uncle Elbert? They helped put me through college! For four years they gave me a enough money to pay my rent and cover monthly expenses. Angels. My grandmother, Mom's and Uncle Elbert's mom, had died when I was in my junior year in high school. She left money to each of her four children. Aunt Marie and Uncle Elbert didn't have children. They said they didn't need the money, so they used it to help put me through college. Absolute angels!

Uncle Elbert, Aunt Marie and I at Disneyland the summer
before I started college.

Today's quilt is one I call Mystery Stars. I was well familiar with two of Marie's finest quilts before she died. This one I had never seen.

Aunt Marie made this quilt around 1955, the year I was born. Isn't a beauty! The polka dots are so adorable. I loved how she mixed it up and used plaid in a few blocks too. This quilt belongs to Nancy Drew now. I borrowed it from her to take it to the appraiser. It very nearly didn't get back to her because I love this quilt. A lot. A lot.

I took this to be appraised when I went PIQF (Pacific International Quilt Festival) in 2009. I was quite surprised to find that while the blocks were hand pieced, the sashing that joined the blocks together were machine sewn. Jaw drop!

My Aunt was a hand piecer/quilter all the way. She started quilting when she was very young, around 1913. She learned the "old-school" way. I would never have known she used a sewing machine on any quilt had I not taken this to the appraiser.

I wish I knew more about the history of this quilt. It doesn't have a label, because she never labeled her quilts. ALWAYS label your quilts! And no provenance. ALWAYS keep a provenance.

Because of my Aunt's quilts, I label my quilts and keep a provenance on them (see tab above). She taught me a lesson. I'm trying to teach you one too!

The appraiser was quite flummoxed about the star blocks. She'd never seen the block anywhere. She said, "You're Aunt liked to keep some mysteries in her quilts!" Her quilting was 8-9 stitches per inch. I'm not even going to tell you how many stitches to the inch I do. Or is that inches to the stitch? The blocks are a whopping 19"! I thought 12 was large...

I have close-ups of the blocks, but they are on my iPhone. The phone needs a replacement battery, which is winging it's way here.

To quote the appraiser, "This possibly could be made in California [where Marie lived] because the quilt's smaller size and lighter filling could imply a warmer climate. ...The Grandmother Clark catalog came out in 1931 or 1932; their pattern for Diamond Field is very similar to this one."

Grandmother's Flower Garden were quite popular in the 1930's. My Aunt's quilt has smaller hexies, is in great condition as well as it's unusual size (91" x 71") makes it of greater value.

Who cares about value? I only do it for insurance. And then again I wonder even about that. If the quilts were destroyed, no amount of compensation would recreate her lovely work.

I have close-ups of the blocks, but they are on my iPhone. The phone needs a replacement battery, which is winging it's way here.

I would love to make this quilt someday. I'd even more love to have this quilt. I'd even more, more love to let Nancy Drew keep it.


  1. ND is a lucky girl... well then so are you. Your Aunt Marie was a very generous woman. I had an Aunt Mary who came to visit me at college and took me out for a fancy dinner at a fancy restaurant. (I had the frogs legs.) Thanks for bringing up a lovely memory.

  2. Aunt Marie made a great quilt. I just spent 2 hours trying to draw the block in EQ7. If you'd like an picture of it let me know.


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