I have to tell you, while my family seems to be on the shrinking side of things over the past few years, at one time they were quite a fertile people. I’ve recently begun researching my family’s geneolgy, and as a result of this research I currently have an application filed with the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). During my hunt, I’ve discovered some quite large groups of sibs. My maternal great-grandfather was one of over a dozen siblings. And that’s not even the largest grouping I found! A couple of generations further back I located a sibling group of nearly twenty. Consequently, each generation since then had fairly large families, until mine. My generation slowed things down a bit with the most children being born to we first-cousins at a grand total of five. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon these days, this paring down of family size. The reasons are many and some quite obvious. Nonetheless, it’s been interesting trying to wrap my head around the hugeness of my branches and the depth of my roots.
You might be asking right about now, what the heck any of that has to do with the art of quilting. Well, it’s from these very roots my love of the craft sprouts and grows. My mom recently visited and she brought with her my baby quilt that my maternal great-grandmother had hand-pieced and hand-quilted for me when mom was pregnant. It’s a treasure! I already had in one of my many keepsake boxes the quilt this same woman hand-pieced and hand-quilted for my son, her great-great grandbaby. Quilting is something that’s been passed along in my family for generations. I’m sure at first keeping warm was the driving factor for all the quilts I’ve seen pass through the hands of the generations, but at some point the necessity of warmth became less a factor and the actual art and entertainment of that craft moved more front and center. During the transition is when the art of hand-embroidering became a more prominent factor in the quilting in our family. And this sort of ties back into the breadth and width of our family population.
I can remember when I was very young, the wonder and amazement of hearing the announcement of another family member being “on the way.” While the mother-to-be was busy growing the new tiny human who’d join the ranks of our brood, the rest of the hens would be busy piecing and embroidering quilts. Being the recipient of one of the handmand quilts was an honor and highly anticipated. I don’t know many in my family who don’t have a handmande treasure tucked away somewhere, either that was theirs when they were a baby or was made for one of their own children and they’re waiting until the right time to pass it on to that child’s keepsake box.
It was kind of with these memories in mind, I wanted to share with the world the beauty of not just pieced quilts, but also something many have told me they’ve never seen, the hand-embroidered quilt. The art of quilting, and most especially hand-embroidered blocks and tops, seems to be waning. Not as many people make these treasures to present to the mother-to-be at the spring baby shower. But through services like mine, gift-givers have the chance to present a handmande heirloom that can be passed down for generations to come in the form of an art that’s been passed down in my family for generations.
This week I’ve quilted five new baby quilts which still need hemming but will be available for purchase in the Etsy store beginning in April. Have a mother-to-be in your family? Have a spring shower coming up? Why not hop over to the store and take a look? You might just find the handmade quilt for baby that’ll be appreciated for years to come.
What’s a tradition in your family that seems to be waning but you’d love to preserve? Share with me! Be sure to find and follow me on Facebook for more frequent updates on what I’m working on.