Category: hand piecing



Among my  ‘treasures’ are a number of hand pieced quilt blocks. I doubt they will ever be put together in any quilt top. I do not know who made them or when. They came to me in boxes, from estate sales, from friends who happened on them, here and there. Some are protected now in plastic bags, some framed and hanging on the wall.
Made patiently and with varied degrees of skill, from the long gone flour sacks and feed sacks. Some larger  pieces still wait, washed and carefully folded as they have for years. Some day they will find a use, of that, I am sure.
A friend sent me this poem, it brought back a lot of memories and reinforced the reason that the blocks are kept.
They are where I can see and touch them,  gaining inspiration and always a sense of wonder at the crafting.
 
The FLOUR SACK
BY COLLEEN B. HUBERT                                                            
 
IN THAT LONG AGO TIME WHEN THINGS WERE SAVED,
WHEN ROADS WERE GRAVELED AND BARRELS WERE STAVED,
WHEN WORN-OUT CLOTHING WAS USED AS RAGS,
AND THERE WERE NO PLASTIC WRAP OR BAGS,
AND THE WELL AND THE PUMP WERE WAY OUT BACK,
A VERSATILE ITEM, WAS THE FLOUR SACK.
PILLSBURY’S BEST, MOTHER’S AND GOLD MEDAL, TOO
STAMPED THEIR NAMES PROUDLY IN PURPLE AND BLUE.
 
THE STRING SEWN ON TOP WAS PULLED AND KEPT;
THE FLOUR EMPTIED AND SPILLS WERE SWEPT.
THE BAG WAS FOLDED AND STORED IN A SACK
THAT DURABLE, PRACTICAL FLOUR SACK.
THE SACK COULD BE FILLED WITH FEATHERS AND DOWN,
FOR A PILLOW, OR IT WOULD MAKE A NICE SLEEPING GOWN.
IT COULD CARRY A BOOK AND BE A SCHOOL BAG,
OR BECOME A MAIL SACK SLUNG OVER A NAG.
IT MADE A VERY CONVENIENT PACK,
THAT ADAPTABLE, COTTON FLOUR SACK.BLEACHED AND SEWN, IT WAS DUTIFULLY WORN
AS BIBS, DIAPERS, OR KERCHIEF ADORNED.
IT WAS MADE INTO SKIRTS, BLOUSES AND SLIPS.
AND MOM BRAIDED RUGS FROM ONE HUNDRED STRIPS
SHE MADE RUFFLED CURTAINS FOR THE HOUSE OR SHACK,
FROM THAT HUMBLE BUT TREASURED FLOUR SACK!AS A STRAINER FOR MILK OR APPLE JUICE,
TO WAVE MEN IN, IT WAS A VERY GOOD USE,
AS A SLING FOR A SPRAINED WRIST OR A BREAK,
TO HELP MOTHER ROLL UP A JELLY CAKE,
AS A WINDOW SHADE OR TO STUFF A CRACK,
WE USED A STURDY, COMMON FLOUR SACK!

AS DISH TOWELS, EMBROIDERED OR NOT,

THEY COVERED UP DOUGH, HELPED PASS PANS SO HOT,
TIED UP DISHES FOR NEIGHBORS IN NEED,
AND FOR MEN OUT IN THE FIELD TO SEED.
THEY DRIED DISHES FROM PAN, NOT RACK
THAT ABSORBENT, HANDY FLOUR SACK!
WE POLISHED AND CLEANED STOVE AND TABLE,
SCOURED AND SCRUBBED FROM CELLAR TO GABLE,
WE DUSTED THE BUREAU AND OAK BED POST,
MADE COSTUMES FOR OCTOBER (A SCARY GHOST)
AND A PARACHUTE FOR A CAT NAMED JACK.
FROM THAT LOWLY, USEFUL OLD FLOUR SACK!

SO NOW MY FRIENDS, WHEN THEY ASK YOU
AS CURIOUS YOUNGSTERS OFTEN DO,
“BEFORE PLASTIC WRAP, ELMER’S GLUE
AND PAPER TOWELS, WHAT DID YOU DO?”
TELL THEM LOUDLY AND WITH PRIDE DON’T LACK,
“GRANDMOTHER HAD THAT WONDERFUL FLOUR SACK!”

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I was looking through a box of ‘gifted’ fabrics and hand-made quilt blocks the other day. Many of the blocks are made of polyester and double knits. Fabrics of the 1960’s and 70’s. Few  quilt makers today would even consider using these as we have returned to traditional cottons. It doesn’t mater if I never use them, I will hang on to them, at least for now.

The effort and care put in to them by the maker is enough reason to keep them, if only to look at from time to time.

I had, at one time, a lovingly appliqued “Sunbonnet Sue” top made by my maternal grandmother from the beloved feedsack fabrics of the 1930’s and ’40’s.  The  hand stitched blocks arrived and I put it together after her death. A good friend hand quilted it. Sadly, it was lost when our house burned. A treasure that can never be replaced – but always remembered.

There have been others, made from sewing  scraps, old clothing cut into pieces and these days fresh fabrics bought just for the purpose of making a special quilt. Not just in my world; I happened onto this blog post from Tipper Pressley this morning. Like the quilts she mentions and refers to Vintage Vera’s remarks, most of the quilts I have loved were more for use than show.

Testimonies of someone’s love and the frugality that ‘used to be’ . http://www.blindpigandtheacorn.com/blind_pig_the_acorn/2011/02/appalachia-through-my-eyes-quilts-feel-like-home.html


> Mother’s star throw

It took most of the summer of 2006 to make 9 of these star blocks. I had decided to hand piece these blocks.
I took them with me on camping trips and stitched away while DH fished.
My hand sewing skills were pretty rusty when I started and some of the blocks were pretty skewed by the time I had redone them once or twice.
After some practice, however, the blocks began to look better. At first, it was frustrating, but after a while as I got more proficient, I began to relax and enjoy what I was doing.
I used the best 5 to make this throw for my mother. The lilac floral fabric made me think of her while I was working on the blocks.
It also has a folded bias border and is free hand machine quilted.