Monday, June 3, 2013

My Grandmother's Suitcase of UFO's

When my Grandmother passed away, I became the caretaker of all her quilty things.  The saying is 'if walls could talk' ... but I wish that these quilt blocks could talk!

I have a suspicion that some of the things in this suitcase are from my Great Grandmother, and maybe even a Great Great Grandmother or two.  But the blocks aren't talking, and I'll never really know.

On the right is a set of pieced blocks, ready to be topped in the ducks feet pattern.  I'll post these another day.

Today I became focused on what lay beneath in the suitcase.
An assortment of indigo blocks.  Most are hand pieced.
Some are machine pieced. Some are poorly pieced.
Some are artfully pieced.

These and all the blocks in the pictures below are just one each's.

They were maybe left over from other projects

"I made this one and I don't want to make anymore"

An assortment of stars and star-ish blocks.

The lone star on the left is interesting ... the diamonds
are set in a way that they look like swallows in flight.
I don't think I've ever seen that before.

And an assortment of circle-ish blocks.

The large wagon wheel on the lower right has the brown paper
pattern pinned to it with a piece of fabric in another corner so I
think that it might be left over from a project.

I thought this little block was particularly interesting ... and
how difficult it would be to piece into a block.

Is it maybe intended to be appliqued?

And someone along the way had the same idea that I had
as I went through all these disparate little blocks ... to sew
them all together into a scrappy willy-nilly quilt.

I love the ocean waves blocks.
With indigo centers.

One of my fore-mother's loved indigo or wore a lot of indigo.

I'm sure somewhere among these blocks are
remnants of the clothing of a grand parent I never had the
chance to meet.

That is a wonderful part of old family quilts.

Chances are that indigo fabric was Grandma's old dress.


  1. How cool is that? You have treasure in that suitcase~! Thanks for sharing. Please show pictures if you put them together somehow.

    1. I've been working on a little project from 3 blocks in the suitcase that I'll hopefully post the next week or so. There are some little peek-a-boo's of one of them in the pics above ... table toppers from Lone Star blocks.

  2. I also inherited many orphan blocks and ufo blocks. Plan on putting the orphan's in a sampler quilt. Have basket blocks appliqued on Morton salt bags (when I put them together, I made sure some of them still had the Morton's Salt logo. Also inherited a hand-pieced grandmother's flower garden flimsy that is huge. Thinking about the quilting for that. Probably use a muslin back. Have Dresden plate blocks, butterfly blocks, sunbonnet sue blocks, etc. Have had them for several years; now that I'm retired I can work on completing what my husband's mother and grandmother started.

    1. Lucky girl, you have quite a nice collection it sounds like ... you better get to work! I find it is very satisfying to finish up something for my grandmother, the next generation picking up where the one before left off. That feeling of continuity is very heart warming.

      And thank you for providing the right word for these blocks ... orphans! The whole time I was doing this post I knew there was a better word that UFO's but couldn't think of it.

      So when I do eventually get around to putting all these blocks in a quilt, I am going to call it the Orphan Quilt. I like it.

  3. This post just reached out and grabbed me! I love things like this! I have a box full of squares of feed sack fabrics, many of which I remember dresses being made from. I don't know what to do with them: leave as is, or try to piece blocks from them.

    I also have a lot of really old and fragile embroidery designs which came from my husband's great-aunt. A blogging friend suggested I put them over a light box and trace them since they would tear so easily if I tried to transfer them to cloth.

    I'll be anxious to see what you do with your precious blocks.

    1. Oh,I would love to see a post of your feed sacks ... I'm sure the peanut gallery would have lots of ideas for you ... and then voila, another project on your plate :}

      Do you have a scanner? Maybe you could scan the embroidery patterns and that would give you something stable to use in the light box to hand transfer to cloth.

      I have several more posts worth of Grandma's things from that little suitcase. And I have a couple small projects in process involving blocks from the suitcase that I'll post soon.

      I'm good accumulating ideas and plans, but short it seems on the time to get them all done. Little by little though, things do eventually get done.

  4. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I'll be anxiously waiting to see more photos and how you plan to use them!

    1. My list of wanna do's is starting to outpace my have to do's and time to do's ... progress getting all these little orphans into a project will be slow but I will persevere, block by block!

  5. I think those are sampler blocks. Think about photo copiers, so how better to share a pattern than to make one block, or to save that idea for later?