Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Remembering Quilting parties

Historical Photo: 
  The five Sullivan brothers died together on the USS Juneau in WWII.

The USN will not longer post the only siblings in a family on the same ship.

In Waterloo, Iowa, sitting at the kitchen table one brother spoke up about the bombing of Pearl Harbor where a close friend died:
George turned to his brothers and said purposefully, “Well, fellas, I guess this settles it. You know what we’ve been saying we’d do if something like this ever happened. And we’re going to do it together, and if it comes to the worst, why, we’ll be together in that, too.”

            (The quilt patterns I remember similar to mama's.)

Mama did a lot of praying and quilting during WWII.....
I know we have at least two quilters here in Blogsville. But this post:
By Lisa, stirred so many childhood memories. (I didn’t know she was older than me?  LOL) The Quilt of memories.

Most of the older folk know what a quilting frame is. For years mama had one hanging from the living room ceiling. Many times there was a quilt ‘under construction’. When the frame wasn’t being used dad had fixed small ropes to pull it up to the ceiling out of the way. Back then many ceilings were 9’ high.

Many times mama would work alone but usually at least four women would work on the task over all. Alternately working on quilts for each family, At least once a year mama would make what she called a missions quilt. AS in Lisa’s quilt mama would cut 4” squares but sell them to people. Most paid a dollar for a square. Mama would stitch their names into the square by hand. Then put them all together with her sewing machine.  When all the squares were sold, everyone’s name who bought a square was put in the hat and at church one Sunday the name was drawn. The winner got the quilt. One or two years everyone buying a square agreed to an auction of the quilt. All monies went to missions.

I played under that quilt many times as mama worked on it. Also when the women worked with her. Mama and those women were praying women. I heard a lot of prayers while under that quilting frame. In the early years it was praying for an end to the war and the safe return of sons, husbands, brothers and friends. Looking up was never a ‘pretty’ sight, it was a mess of colors, hanging string and some clippings. Mama always told me that is how we saw our lives or problems, but the Lord was looking down and he saw a pretty design, ‘if we were good’.

When Sherry’s mama passed away, mama took the ribbons from all the wreaths and unknown to Sherry made a quilt of the ribbons from Susie’s grave. What a thrill to Sherry. What goes around comes around. Sherry and Shirl took care of mama in her last years.

Thanks Lisa for the memory kick!

(UPDATE: Sherry just told me mama made 4 quilts from those ribbons. One for each daughter and their daddy!)
Nite Shipslog

PS: Little known facts about the USA, from Cousin Tony:
Western Michigan is home to a giant lavender labyrinth so big you can see it on Google Earth.
******     *******
        Joan Crawford in her 38 Lincoln.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

Quilts do bring back a lot of memories for me. My grand mother made a lot of them. I think everyone in the family got at least one and maybe more. Rarely were her hands idle. Most families were larger back during WWiI and I know at least 4 of my uncles were in the military at the time...all of them Navy but not on the same ship, but we did lose one of them.

Paula said...

I remember the quilting frames in the ceiling of our dining room. Mama tried to teach me to quilt when Melvin was in Japan with the Army be cause we were already engaged. We made two for us and I was through. I did love to Embroidery. (sp) I did pillow cases, cup towels and even did a work shirt for Lynda with all her class mates names on it. She told me she still has it. Yes I too remember several neighbor ladies would come in the afternoon to quilt.


quilting holds a fascination for me though i've never done it myself. a wonderful hobby, indeed.

Mevely317 said...

I never witnessed quilts being made, but I treasure the two my mother crafted from used articles of clothing, blankets, etc. Sometimes I look down at the one covering our day bed and try to recall what it used to be. (And sometimes my rememberer aches!)

The Sullivan Brothers story is heartbreaking. Reminds me of that splendid movie, "Saving Private Ryan."

Chatty Crone said...

That was a sad story about the brothers. I had heard that before.

So you remember quilting. I want a quilt so incredibly bad! They are hard to make - and they are very valuable because of the time it takes to make.

Lisa said...

OK, this one was a tear jerker. I can just see those precious ladies sitting around quilting and praying. I love the idea of the Mission Quilt. Its become a lost art. You can run out to Walmart now and buy quilts, but nothing compares to the "old fashion" quilts. I have a few of them from Grandmaws long gone. The old quilts are thick and heavy. Even the one I made could never compare to those old ones.

Thanks for the shoutout

Dar said...

I remember Mom talking about the quilting bees of her youth. I wanted to learn how to quilt, did the fast easy way but did use a quilting frame belonging to Bill's uncle. Like Lisa said, the ones made now do not begin to compare to the old, heavy ones of our ancestors. I can see you playing under your Mama's frame and loved her explanation to you of the meaning of the mess underneath and what God saw from above. Priceless wisdom.
As for the Sullivan brothers, I remember hearing the sad story. I thought of it many times when 3 of our boys were out of the country at the same time while serving our country. I was nervous but blessed.
love n' hugs from up north. It's warmer out but nights remain chilly

Glenda said...

The lavender labyrinth sounds so wonderful, I googled it and the photos are incredible, would love to wander that area.
We grew up with quilts made by Grandma, your Mama was truly inspired to take ribbon from flowers to make quilts. You've featured some lovely examples, takes me back to the farm.

Rick Watson said...

My mom didn't quilt by my great grandmother did. I have spent time under that frame. It felt like a tent.
Jilda's mom and her grandmother quilted too. Some of their pieces were works of art.