Wednesday, May 15, 2013

This old quilt

I think this blue-and-white quilt was made by my maternal great-grandmother, Agnes Loretta Warren Carter. But I don’t know for sure. It is not marked. I think I remember my mother telling me that Agnes had made it. I have two other quilts, matching pink-and-white twin quilts that she made for my mother, and that my mother saved for me. I used them on my beds as a child, and they are pretty shabby (well loved, I should say) now. I display them in my house on an old ladder.

Agnes Loretta Warren Carter (1877-1951) about 1899.
She was my mother’s father’s mother.
Agnes, about 1947.
I found this old quilt, which I remember as our family’s picnic quilt, wadded up in the garage at my parents’ house when we were helping my father pack up and move last summer. I brought it home and washed it in the washing machine. No need to treat it gently, as it was already in pitiful condition and desperately needed a really good wash.

Even stained, faded, ripped, and with its binding worn through, I still find it charming. Maybe it is because of the memories. Maybe it is because I appreciate quilts, the work that goes into them, and the people who make them. I’ve thought about making it into some primitive table runners, and using them for patriotic holidays. The blue stars would be perfect on a table set for the Fourth of July, with a big vase of American flags or a pot of red geraniums and watermelon. But not yet. For now, I can’t quite bring myself to cut it up. It would be like saying goodbye.


  1. It is very special. But if you cut it up and used the pieces, it wouldn't be saying goodbye. It would be adding another generation's touch to it to pass on down to the next generation. The stained parts could be exaggerated with rust patterns or dye/paint in rust colors. Indigo/blues look great with rust colors. Take a look at a blog called From Studio B if you haven't seen it. She embroiders with indigo colors and rust. I admit it would be scary to take the plunge, though.

  2. Beautiful! That one is really nice.

  3. Hello
    Just dropped by via Ester's Blog. Memories and items from the past are lovely things to have, I love your quilt it is just showing its wrinkles but is still Beautiful.

  4. What a wonderful treasure to have and it looks wonderful, love old quilts.


  5. i love cant cut it up!

  6. Hi...I just the other day heard about Retro-clean. I've ordered some for myself but haven't tried it. It's supposed to remove a lot of the age discoloration from old quilts. Apparently, you soak the quilt in it for a couple the sun is best, and Voila. Much better. It might be worth a try on this beauty. If you decide to use it, let us know how it works out!

  7. Such a lovely quilt and memento from your great-grandmother. I have a churn dash quilt that my grandmother made for me when I was a child. It too is very well-loved and now falling apart. I hesitate to cut it apart for something else especially now that she's gone. Maybe one day I'll do something with it. It's good to have these family treasures.


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