Friday, June 17, 2011

Mary Ellen's Sunflowers

My Dad's mother, Ruth, was quite the storyteller when it came to family history.  I can't recall yesterday, but Granmommie could recollect back to when Noah loaded up the ark with the kids and livestock, what everyone was wearing, how the cows invaded the lions' space and that so-and-so's lumbago started acting up 15 minutes into the trip.  I'm telling you, the woman could remember everything.  She'd frequently begin a reminiscence with 'Now, I'm sure you've heard this story leventy-seven (or a hunnerd) times...'.  For those who cannot speak Texan (or maybe that's just hick), 'hunnerd' is 100 and 'leventy-seven' is a whole helluva lot.  But, I digress.  

My grandparents, Edward and Ruth, at our wedding

In all my time with her, I never heard her mention quilts.  There was cross-stitch, embroidery, tatting and crochet..but no quilting.  So, it came as a surprise after she and Grandad passed away, that my Mom and Aunt unearthed a number of quilts and quilt tops.  Probably not a surprise to them, but to one who can't remember her kids' names (I only have two kids), it was a surprise.  After dividing them up, Mom gave me several from her stack.  The prevailing opinion is that my great-grandmother, Mary Ellen, made these quilts although, no one's absolutely certain because none of the quilts have a label.

My great-grandparents, Jesse and Mary

This is where it (finally) gets interesting.  Mom also brought forth a gorgeous hand-pieced and appliqued top of what I'll gingerly describe as orange sherbet and mint green.  The appliqued sunflowers are dimensional, although it's kind of hard to tell from the pictures.  It was stored with the backing fabric...all it needs is to be quilted.

Can you hear the JAWS theme music yet?  Da-dum, Da-dum, DUMDUMDUMDUM!  Yep, this is the point at which my Dear Mother says 'It just wouldn't be right to machine quilt this and since you've already hand-quilted one before....'  You know, if you put a 'B' on the end of 'da-dum' you get 'da-dumb', as in 'da-dumb girl couldn't say no'. 

While I must agree that only hand-quilting will do, my poor hands haven't recovered from my last foray into that arthritis-inducing, back-killing art known as hand-quilting.  Plus, I've no idea what quilt motif/style to use here.  So, it's sat all this time, waiting for someone to get the lead out and finish it.  I admit, I am scared to death to quilt this thing.  What if I choose the wrong style, what if my stitches look like crap, how long is it gonna take?  Nope, no pressure here!  Wish me luck.


  1. You will do a great job hand quilting it! I can just hear Grandmommie telling you, "that's the prettiest thing I ever looked at in my life", when you get it finished.

  2. You are so fortunate to have had quilters in the family to pass on such treasures. You are blessed.
    Hugs, Etty