Thursday, February 16, 2006

Orlando Quilts

Here are two of the quilts my grandmother Edith (Skinner) Stutler made for her grandchildren. On the right is a Grandma's Flower Garden. One the left is a Log Cabin. I cherish my grandmother's quilts. I trace the the way she joined one fabric tightly to the next, I delight in how the pattern dances across my bed. Even today I can feel against my skin the texture she made as she stiched the feed sack fabric, even as I struggle to remember the texture of her long, heavy, hair pinned up with large combs or how her hands looked as she stringed beans on the front porch.

Grandma used the same fabric and the same patterns as everyone else. I know her quilts have a lot in common with the quilts her sisters and sisters-in-law made and from the quilts of her friends at the Ladies’ Aid Society. But I suspect that Grandma’s quilts are also as different from anyone else's quilts as she was different from anyone else.

If you have a quilt made by an Orlando woman, would you please submit a photo and whatever information you may have about it and her? It would be nice to see different types of quilts from each woman.

Grandma's early quilts (before about 1955, I'd guess) were pieced either entirely from cotton chicken feed sacks (summer quilts) or worn-out woolen clothing, like men’s suits and women’s coats (winter quilts). Later, scraps from store-bought fabric began to appear in Grandma’s quilts. I believe the one pictured above is entirely feed sacks.

Grandma had a limited number of patterns she worked from, including, among others, Pinwheel, Wedding Ring and Log Cabin. She also did some crazy quilts. I remember all the crazy quilts being woolen winter quilts.

Although I have difficulty understanding her choices, Grandma took great care in chosing the colors and patterns she juxtaposed as she pieced the quilt tops, and also in chosing the fabric for the back of the quilt. She sewed the pieces together on a trundle Singer. That is, a pre-electic sewing machine that was powered by the operator’s feet, working a see-saw device. By hand Grandma quilted together the pieced top, filler and solid bottom.

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