Sunday, July 27, 2014

Quilts From My Sewing Machine #7: Marie & Me

You’re in for another trip down memory lane in a quilt that is a collaboration between my Aunt Marie and myself. Those who read my blog know about my muse, my Aunt Marie.

I call these quilts “collaborations” because Aunt Marie either made the blocks or made the quilt top. I take the blocks or flimsy and finish the quilt from there.

This isn’t our first collaboration, but it is the first one I did. You can read about the second collaboration, The Seventies Are Calling, They Want Their Fabric Back here. I’ve already completed our third collaboration, but haven’t posted yet. And…there are still more to come!

I believe in putting labels on quilts! (Yes, I'm still talking about the story of my quilt collaboration! Patience is a virtue!) Most of them are small, but on two I wrote more of a provenance. Marie and Me is one of them. And here is what the label says:

Backside of quilt showing my stitching at age 8
"My Aunt Marie (1905-1997) was a gifted quilter. When I was eight years old (1963) she cut two-inch squares into sets for me so could make nine-patch blocks. I started hand stitching the blocks together but eventually stopped. When I was around eleven or twelve, I picked up the project again and did more blocks. I finally ended up with around 20 blocks with more waiting to be done.
More beginning hand stitching

I had the blocks and squares stored in an old red wicker sewing basket. It followed me through moves, school, college, marriage and children. In 2006, I became interested in quilting. I pulled out the red wicker basket and decided to finish my first quilt. I had to square off the completed blocks, which made them fat in the center column. I wanted them to be highlighted in the finished quilts. All the blocks I did as a child are inside the yellow border. 
The back of the blocks I made as a child. I put them in
chronological order
You can see how the center rows are wider
than the side rows.

squared up the remaining two-inch squares and sewed them into blocks. In order to have the quilt turn out correctly, I delved into my aunt's stash and made a few more blocks.”

Some of the extra blocks I added. I made the one with the bowling ball because
my last name is Bohling. The square at the top right, brown dotted fabric, was
from one of the dresses my Aunt Marie made me. I was in the first grade!
More blocks. Love the kitties and ladybugs!

More blocks: My uncle was in the Marines. The little brown televisions
have cowboys on the screen. Are the ducks cute?
(There is a secret in the quilt. When I was assembling the quilt, I did it in sections: top section, bottom section then the two side sections. When I went to assemble them I found one side section was shorter than the other, by two inches! To make both sides even, I made a row of single squares and sewed it to the bottom of the shorter piece. No one has ever noticed it and it blends in quite nicely. To keep the secret, I'll not tell you where the extra row is!)

“By the time I got around to finishing the quilt in
2009, I had already made quite a few other quilts. Those quilts were all machine quilted by a professional. A good friend of mine, an avid hand quilter, convinced me that I should hand quilt Marie's quilt. I thought it fitting to do it by hand because all of Aunt Marie's quilts were hand quilted. This was 
the first quilt that I hand quilted. From where I began to where it ended, it showed the progression of my skill as a hand quilter. I chose to do a Bishop's fan pattern, and there are many funny fans! I was using a template, but now know a much easier and better way to quilt that pattern.

Thanks, Aunt Marie, for your legacy.”

Here is the label from the back of the quilt. It has the back of one of the first blocks I hand stitched when I was 8.
I think it's adorable all those big stitches and wobbliness. I also included a picture of Aunt Marie and one of me from
when I was 8.

Marie and Me hangs in my bedroom. I deeply love this quilt. I have spent many hours before sleep, before getting up and just lazing on my bed looking at all the blocks and different fabrics. At night, with lights out, it is changed into a study of light and dark. With the street light coming in my room, all that can be seen are light and dark blotches. It is a mottled effect and I love that view of it also.

It is just a humble nine patch quilt, but it enchants me.
I also write posts about Aunt Marie’s phenomenal quilts. Here are links to those posts. Get ready to be amazed!
The Gallatin Quilt
Mystery Stars
Pixelated Ponies

1 comment:

  1. Found it! Great solution that would have me putting it back in the cedar chest unfinished. Love hearing your stories.


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