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Feb 28, 2011

22 Pillows for Christmas

Feb 28, 2011
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February seems to have been the month of Pillows....  with Sew Mama Sew's Pillow of the Day and frequent tutorial posts, pillows are on our minds!

I thought I'd celebrate the last day of Pillow Month with a special family story.

Meet Grandma Hattie.  Well, actually great-grandma Hattie.  She was my husband's maternal grandmother's mother.  Did you follow that?  Born in 1909, she was the youngest of eight children.  Her sisters and aunts were quilters and farmers wives in Michigan.  She was a smart and progressive lady, learning to drive at the age 13 and attending university for 2 years.  After having her first daughter, Marjorie, she still worked part time as a bookkeeper for her two brothers' hardware and grocery store.

Between bookkeeping and 4 children, she still found time to sew and quilt with the women of her family with babes in arms and children under the quilt frames.



This photo was taken circa 1976 or 1977.  Hattie had 4 children and 18 grand-children. She made pillows for all of them for Christmas that year.  An unbelievable 22 pillows!  Of course in the 70s, there were no rotary cutters, so all of these pillows' patterns were cut with scissors using tracing paper.


Many of these pillows are still displayed in my husband's families homes.  Remembering her for the great woman she was.  I only met her once that I can remember, and it was before my quilting days.  I never got the chance to absorb any of the craft from her before she passed in 2002 (at 93) shortly after my husband and I were married.


One of the things that draws me to quilting is the legacy of it.  Someday I would love to have a stack of quilts or pillows a mile high to pass on to my children and grandchildren, just like Hattie.  And hoping they know the care that was taken in selecting the fabric and sewing each stitch with love.

Hattie's story and these pictures were put together with the help of Hattie's daughter, Patricia.  Thank you so much for sharing Aunt Pat (she is a quilter herself and we have had a good time chatting about all these things!).

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15 comments:

  1. WOW! Wonderful, but mostly makes me grateful for rotary cutters!

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  2. What a wonderful picture and legacy. Thanks for sharing with us.

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  3. Love this story. What a legacy to leave. And those pillows...beautiful.

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  4. What a great story! She sounds like an incredible woman.

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  5. Neat, thanks for sharing this! I love hearing the heirloom stories of quilts and other quilty goodies :)

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  6. Thanks that was beautiful, a great way to start my morning! I actually have a beautiful quilt hanging in my childrens nursery that my mom and her completed in 1982 for my birth! It is done with such detail! And now my children will have a peice of her and my moms legacy! Despite her struggles with her vision later on she still continued to do what she loved! Thanks

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  7. I agree - I hope that quilting becomes a legacy I can leave behind for my family for generations. (Right now the "famiy" is just myself, my husband, and our dog... but one day there will be others to share with :))

    This is such a great picture and story - thanks for sharing!

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  8. This is a wonderful story! I completely agree about the "legacy" aspect of quilting. I have a quilt that was made by my great-grandmother (who passed away before I was born), along with a quilting bee she was part of. It was on my bed for years as a child, so it's a little worse for wear, but I guess that's part of its history now. : ) Thanks for sharing!

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  9. AM, you did a great job in honoring her. G-ma Able would be so proud of your talent. Thank you for sharing.
    liz

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  10. Wonderful! My grandmother was an apparel sewer and while my mom gave me a box of dresses she made for my sister and I they haven't gotten much use. Clothing just doesn't have the same timeless appeal (and utility) as a quilt.

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  11. I have one of her pillows! (passed down from my grandpa, Jerry Kronk, her son) It looks different than the ones you have pictured.. it actually has small stitched flowers and plants on it. I miss her!

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  12. We do not have any type of tradition in my family like that. I am hoping to start a quilting tradition with my three little girls. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful and inspirational story.

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  13. very cool! I love family stories like that :-)
    DH's great grandma was a quilter and we happen to have one of her quilts... its tattered and well worn, but I love it!

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  14. Lovely story! What an amazing woman!

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