Thursday, July 29, 2010

Three Generations Quilt

A few months ago, my 87-year-old grandma sent me five curved-pinwheel quilt blocks.

This adorable woman hand-pieced the blocks in the late 60s and early 70s, but never got around to finishing the quilt. When she heard I had taken up quilting, she wondered if I might want to put these blocks to use.

I did. Not only that, but I roped my mom into the project as well. Because, really, how cool will it be to have a quilt that was worked on by three generations of women, over the course of 40 or 50 years? I might even have to think of some small task I can give my 3-year-old on this quilt. Then we could call it the Four Generations Quilt.

I think the blocks are cute—I haven't seen this curved pinwheel design around much. Grams also sent the cardboard templates she originally used and all of her leftover fabric. Some of the prints she sent look like 30s reproductions, and some are just plain dated, but some of them are actually very retro cool. Like the ones used in this block, which is hands-down my favorite of the bunch.

The only remaining issue was how to use these flower-like blocks in an overall quilt design. So I scanned one of the blocks and played around with it a bit before coming up with the above design. Along with my grandma's five pinwheel blocks, my mom will make three, and I'm making four. That will give us a total of 12 pinwheel blocks. Then I'll make the alternating blocks: A print square (not necessarily blue) in a white frame, and set all the blocks on point.

Something about having the blocks on point seemed to enhance the movement of the whole thing. When I look at this design, I see my daughter blowing on a pinwheel out in the backyard on a summer day. Or maybe I picture a farmhouse windmill lazily turning in the breeze, while hens fuss around nearby. Fitting, I think, for a quilt that had its genesis with a woman who was born and raised on a farm almost 88 years ago.

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