Thursday, January 12, 2017

String Quilt Legacy

String quilt, made by my grandmother, Frances Timson Heggestad, c. 1965-1970.  Grandma made all of the string quilts in this post.  My grandmother was extremely frugal, used scraps from everyone she knew, used and reused fabric to make these glorious, colorful string quilts.  Grandma foundation pieced the blocks on pieces of plain cotton - probably old sheets.
This quilt is owned by my uncle, Orville Heggestad, and is being repaired/retied by my cousin, Julie Heggestad. Julie just sent me these photos - I had never seen this quilt before.

Detail of Orville's quilt.  I love seeing old fabrics that I recognize!  The red/blue/white checked print was a shorts and top outfit that I had as a girl.

This is MY string quilt.  Look familiar? Same fun polka dot print running through the quilt, lots of the same prints.  I can hear my grandma humming (she loved music) when I look over these riot of color. 

Detail of my quilt.  It is "just a coverlet", no batting - but with the top layer, backing, and the cotton base of the string-pieced blocks, this is warm - and heavy!

This is another of Grandma's string quilts that I own.  I used it a LOT when I was first out of college.  I lived in an efficiency apartment and slept on an old sofa bed, and the quilt was unfortunately damaged by the bed (when I folded it up every day).  It is old, and well-loved, and the pieces are so worn and soft they feel like silk.
A number of years ago, I took the quilt apart, with the idea of repairing it.  I removed all of the ties holding the layers together.  The ties were made from a thick cotton thread - perhaps from feed sacks?  

Detail showing some of the damage.  I am inspired to get busy and repair/restore this quilt.  I plan to just replace the damaged pieces, add a soft batting - wool? and a backing, and tie it again.

Surprise! When I took my old quilt apart, look what I found inside, instead of a batting - another quilt!  This is a handmade Dresden plate design, hand-quilted (with more of the blue thread from feed sacks).  I doubt that Grandma made the quilt - I imagine it was gifted to her, and she used it as a quilt batt.
Grandma made LOTS and LOTS of quilts - but mostly for charity (world relief).  She lived a very frugal lifestyle on a very limited income, but still found ways to give to others.  

1 comment:

Linda Swanekamp said...

Beautiful inspiration! Thanks. I have no quilt legacy and hope my quilts start one.

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