A Quilt of Many Colours

A Quilt of Many Colours

My grandmother was amazing when it came to reuse, recycle, repurpose, refinish… anything ‘RE’ and Gran was already on it. She lived through the Depression, had seven children, and knew better than most how to live frugally.

Gran (I always called her Gran, but she was Grannie to everyone else) was very gifted with her hands. Knitting, sewing, embroidery… just about any handiwork and she could master it. Well, other than crocheting. Gran did not like to crochet. Anyway, for as long as I can remember, my grandmother sewed her own dresses – she always wore dresses. And what you’re about to see is an amazing quilt… yes, of many colours… created by my grandmother from all the scraps of fabric she had left over from the many dresses she made.

Did I mention that Gran used a treadle sewing machine?

It was a beautiful Singer, and in mint condition right to the last day she used it.

Here is a snapshot of the quilt laid out.

Aren’t the colours vibrant? But what amazes me is how she was able to blend the patterns and colours of so many small pieces, and create something that looked so pretty.

Somehow she has just made this work!

I was lucky to grow up living near my grandparents, and I can remember Gran wearing the dresses she made from these fabrics.

Here are some of the ones I liked on her best…

One of the things I noticed in the quilt, but never really paid attention to at the time, is that Gran would buy the same print on a fabric, but in different colours of it. Here’s an example in three different colours…

My guess, there was a great buy on the fabric! Gran always liked blue and yellow, although there seems to be more blue in the quilt than yellow… I thought she looked really good in blue.

But here’s a yellow one that I think is fabulous. It kind of reminds me of the fabric Sarah Richardson used in the main bath of her Sarah’s House series…

What do you think? Do you see a little similarity?

When I really paid attention to the individual fabric pieces I noticed that Gran really seemed to like paisleys. I LOVE paisleys… maybe I got that from her!

She wore this one a lot!

Here’s another ‘same print, different colour’…

In blue…

…and in pink!

And a ‘same print, different colour’ in purple…

…and in green!

I have to say, I was surprised at the green because she always made it clear that she didn’t like green!

Green is one of my favorite colours, but Gran did make some choices that weren’t on my list of favorite picks…

Like this black gingham…

…and this one. I think this one was my least favorite!

There aren’t many of this one in the quilt, but even so it does stand out. I’m pretty sure you’ll see it right away!

Here’s one that I like a lot. I call it the ‘fruit’ fabric.

Isn’t it fun? There’s something about the colours and the fruit that I really like.

And these next ones Gran just seemed to wear a lot. I think they might have been some of her favorites…

No surprise… it’s blue!

I really remember this one!

And the fabric in the center is another one. I think it’s kind of fun and cheery.

Gran never wore a lot of red…

But this is one that she did wear quite a bit. She looked good in red because her hair was jet black, no dye (no joke!), and with very little gray right to her last days. And she lived into her 80’s!

I hope you have enjoyed the glimpse into my Gran’s closet. Did you notice, she only ever used cotton fabric!

This quilt is very special to me because it was given to me for a wedding gift  from my Auntie Sharon when I remarried just a year and a half ago. Auntie Sharon has always been very special in my life, just as my Gran was, and Auntie Sharon has had this quilt tucked away all these years. When I look at it, I always think of my Gran, I see her in these dresses, and the moment never passes without a memory or two. And I never look at this quilt without thinking of my Auntie Sharon too… Timing is everything they say, and what’s so neat is that as I was preparing the photos for this blog, my phone rang… guess who it was?

If you guessed Auntie Sharon, you’re right! Perfect timing, wouldn’t you say?

If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

Photos: Sheila Zeller

Drawing: Treadle and Vintage Singer Models

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7 thoughts on “A Quilt of Many Colours”

  • Sheila,

    Thank you so much for this post. It’s nice to get to know you better, know about your grandmother. What a talented woman. I see why you’re proud of her.

    I’m very, very close to my grandma and I can relate to you here.

    Have a great day!


    Luciane at HomeBunch.com

    • Hi Luciane! Grandmothers are very special, and it’s nice to be close to them… they have so much to teach us. I miss my Gran a lot. She was a really kind lady, and you’re right, she was very talented with her hands. Way more patient than me! 🙂

  • Lovely quilt Sheila! The fabrics look almost vintage and reminicent of my gramma’s sewing style. I wonder if your gram used nylons (the type worn w/a garter) as a batting for the middle layer that where cut into sguares, layerd and pieced together. Thanks for sharing:)

  • Sheila,

    All the fabrics in your Gram’s quilt are from feed sacks.Chicken feed, flour, sugar used to come in fabric bags. That is the reason there are so many of the same print in different colors. The quilt is a real treasure in that it is in such perfect condition but also because it is such an extensive library of feed sack designs in one place. It is so nice that you appreciate your lovely keepsake.

    • Hi Jennifer!
      Thank you for the feedback – I appreciate your insight. I know my Grandmother sewed her own dresses, and remember many of these fabrics from dresses that she wore, but it wouldn’t surprise me that she repurposed feed sack fabric as well. She was very mindful of not wasting anything, and always found a way to give most things a second life… I’m intrigued now to learn more about the fabrics used for feed sacks!
      I appreciate that you stopped by, and took the time to give me a little background history!

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