Sunday, November 29, 2015

Frank's wool utility quilt - part one of two

My Uncle Frank arrived from Ireland for a two weeks' visit and brought this old woolen utility quilt - to see if it could be fixed up.  Challenge accepted! 

This is a utility quilt made for him by his Mom, my Grandma Mary Lou, who taught me to quilt.   We think she made it in the 1970's.  She made it from family clothing, so it holds a lot of meaning and comfort for Frank.  He can point to his sister's (my Mom) jackets, his mod plaid pants from the sixties, etc. etc.

Some of the fabric is really deteriorating, but the quilt has held up remarkably well considering it is used outdoors, had never been washed, and had plenty of dirt and dog hair on it and I dare say in it.

 My brother and his family came up from North Carolina for Thanksgiving and so my niece Alyssa and I started to work, removing the binding, which took no time at all.

And removing the black yarn ties...

Inside was this wool batt, covered in a loose woven fabric that looked like cheesecloth:

So interesting to see how Grandma had foundation pieced it:

 And for some reason, Grandma embedded her Uncle Randall's WWII dog tag inside the quilt.  Alyssa and I couldn't find it, but Frank knew it was there, and once he located it, we decided to cut it out and have a look.

Ties out, and ready to gently wash and dry:

We shopped for new backing and batting, and a couple of woolens for patches, and then it was time to cut and pin some patches 

A little machine blanket stitch on Alyssa's "new" machine:

 The next morning, goodbyes but not before a quick family pic in the rain:

left to right:   niece Alyssa in front, me, sis in law Janette, cousin Dana, niece Megan, sonTommy, Uncle Frank, brother David 

Yesterday I picked up where Alyssa left off, and finished patching up the top.  Gave the top another good wash and dry.

The stained-glass beauty of a backlit top.... a wabi sabi quilt if ever there was one:

Stay tuned as I attempt to sandwich, tie, and bind this before Frank returns to Ireland!  Today I stayed home from church which I hate to do, but I have a terrible cold and have lost my voice, and just need the rest I think.  Listening to some good Sabbath music, thinking fond thoughts of my dear Mom who passed away this time of year 16 years ago, and of Grandma Mary Lou who passed away two years ago and whose quilting legacy lives on in the sweet young hands of Alyssa....

Life is so good.



  1. Oh..My...what a wonderful post. A dog tag in the and the finding of the treasure...awesome. Mending of family it all so much.

  2. I love the hidden dogtags wow! Beauty of an heirloom, glad you are stitching it back to life!

  3. A beautiful quilt, with a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing all those photos so we could see the variety of fabrics used. Was Uncle Randall lost at war? Was his dog tag included in the quilt so his memory would live on?
    Hope you are starting to feel better.

    1. Jenny - Uncle Randall ("Windy") was not lost at war, no. He was a favorite uncle but we are not sure why Grandma included the dog tag!

  4. What a fantastic quilt and and even finer story. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post.

  5. Reading this is like receiving an unexpected gift and rare treat. I love the details of all you shared ~ ~ and totally admire your gumption in diving right in to give it another 50 years!!! Well done!


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