I really love quilts. The problem is that I already have too many. My mother and grandma (her mother-in-law) pretty much quilted their way through the Great Depression. Mother stored many of the tops until the ‘60s, when they were hand quilted by a neighbor, mainly because until we moved into this house she didn’t have room for the bulk. She did the bindings herself, by hand. That didn’t mean that we didn’t have plenty of quilts to use that she and grandma had previously quilted, because we did. Dealing with wintertime, was a matter of putting another quilt or two on the bed.
One quilt that she never finished, however, was a set of blocks of the state flowers. They were not her usual style. I think they are done with some sort of fabric paint or crayon and then outline-embroidered in a silk or rayon thread with a running stitch. Ever since I moved back into her house in 2000, I’ve been looking for those blocks, and I had just about decided that she had thrown them away. In removing the very last items to pack from her cedar-lined quilt closet, I was startled when a manila envelope fell on my foot from the very top shelf. It is the blocks. I am not photographing them at the moment because she had tissue-wrapped them very carefully, and I also discovered that the envelope holds the original newspaper advertising for the pattern, a handwritten list of the blocks and states, and two pages of about-to-fade documentation. I put everything back in its envelope and put the envelope carefully into a dresser that will be moved with the drawers intact.
Now, I have a question, what do I do with the blocks when I get settled? Do I preserve them “as is,” or do I make them into a quilt? If I quilt them, how do I preserve the nature of the craft used? I suppose I can look at the original newspaper illustration and see what I can determine that would be authentic. It’s an interesting question, and I welcome suggestions. There are only 48 blocks because there were only 48 states at that time.