Wednesday, September 24, 2008

q is for quilt

the quilt above is not one of my quilts nor is it one of the most artfully constructed quilts I've ever seen, but the story of this quilt is one of my favorite quilt stories. and because it has such an interesting story, with so many wonderful life lessons, I believe it is one of the most beautiful quilts I've seen.

we encountered this quilt in march at the annual quilt show at the metrolakes farmpark. margarette heintz of mentor, ohio began working on this quilt sometime during the 1940s. during the 1940s mrs. heintz embroidered most of the 8-inch squares for the quilt. the design on the squares came from iron-on transfers and feature the state bird and state flower for all of the states (only 48 at the time she began work on the quilt). in 1950 she took a hiatus of over twenty-five years while she focused her creative energies on raising her children. in 1976, mrs. heintz rediscovered her squares, created a few more squares - including squares for two more states and the squares which marked the bi-centennial of the united states. she assembled all of the squares and finished the quilt top. after the quilt top was complete mrs. heintz apparently lost her groove. she states that no one in her family had any interest in the quilt. so she packed the top up and put it away for thirty more years! in 2007, at the age of 86, mrs. heintz pulled out the top and without any assistance put the quilt together. it was her first, last and only quilt! she named the quilt 'forever' because that is 'how long it took to make.'

I love to quilt and came to quilting quite naturally as I come from a long line of "women of the cloth." one of my earliest memories is of playing with my cousin under the quilting frame at my grandmother's house waiting for the call to thread more needles. I made my first quilt in the mid 1970s while on a college break. I discovered my mother's scrap bag and constructed a very simple quilt composed entirely of fabric scraps from clothes that my mom made for my sister and I.

after my first quilt my quilting fairy went into hibernation until 1990. unlike mrs. heintz, I started and completed my first quilt in a timely manner and went on to make many quilts from 1990 until the present day. although I pride myself on finishing quilts, I have several quilts that have been 'under construction' for a while, but I hope none of these quilts will rival the length of time mrs. heintz's forever quilt was in progress. I enjoy making quilts that celebrate or commemorate special events in people's lives. I have made quilts that mark the entire cycle of life from birth to death I also volunteer my quilting fairy to help raise awareness about the tragic occasions when birth and death collide as I am part of a circle of quilters who contribute blocks to the safe motherhood quilt project.

detail of a beautiful award winning quilt from the 2008 quilt show at the farmpark.


Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

That award-winning quilt is exquisite! Absolutely beautiful work. I confess, as one who only knows that a needle as a sore end and a slightly less sore end, I've never quite got quilting, or anything that involves needles and threads!

d. chedwick said...

The Forever quilt is so beautiful. I would love to have it! I like that the fabrics are not modern, too. Do you have trouble finding fabric that is not made in C****?

R.L. Bourges said...

Gorgeous. And the forever quilter lived in MENTOR, Ohio? Wonder how the town ever got such a name?

I loved looking at the quilts. Thinkg the rainbow fishies are great and so is the quilt made of favorite shirts of a loved one.

As for the safe motherhood project, I have to say I was shocked while living in the States at the lack of care available for pregnant women: mindboggling. What do the supposed Pro-Lifers have to say about letting young (and older) women live through their pregnancies with practically no supervision or assistance in time of need? I'll stop, I feel a rant coming down the ramp :-)

This for you -

The wonderful Souleiado Museum in Tarascon:

and a few examples of Proven├žal needlework known as boutis


Bob Dylan said...

The Q came pretty quickly... Can you make quiches? I know you can bake a cherry pie... so...

not many Q foods.

I know you like Q tips

Bob Dylan said...

from Wikipedia:

Mentor Ohio is named after the Greek figure Mentor, in keeping with the Connecticut Western Reserve settlers' tradition, as well as that of most other Americans at the time, of celebrating aspects of Greek classicism (nearby Solon, Macedonia, Euclid, and Akron also were named using that principle).

tut-tut said...

I have a stack of those state birds that my grandmother had. I embroider on them from time to time . . .

Betty said...

Beautiful quilts and I love the story.
Unfortunately quilting is not so big here in the UK, though I have a friend in Scotland who makes fabulous ones.
One of my fridge magnets, which I picked up on a trip to Atlanta, bears the motto: When life goes to pieces, try quilting.

Ernest de Cugnac said...

Quilting is interesting, even for me on the sidelines, for the way an object encapsulates both utility and a story. You have shared a particularly interesting one there.

On the utility side, I imagine that quilts were/are really important for surviving the harsh continental winters you have.

Coffee Messiah said...

An art that never dies! ; )

mouse (aka kimy) said...

av - the award winning quilt blew my mind - perfect points - intrestingly the top quilting wasn't done by hand by by machine...this is the biggest change I've seen over the years is the ascendancy of the machine quilting. I - unfortunately or fortunately - still quilt by hand.

ched - personally I buy fairly pricey fabrics and they are NOT made in c**** - my most important issue is quality and will not buy crappy cloth!

rlb -thanks for always adding more levels and layers of information! look forward to the links!

bob - I almost posted about quiches!! I do make quiches and love to play with different types of quiches... as a pie girl I am both sweet and savory!

when we lived in new haven we had a quince tree at one of our flats and I tried to make quince jelly - it was AWFUL!

I (heart) q-tips (even though I know they are bad)

tut - they were the rage....what a treasure!!!

betty - wise advice on your magnet!

ernie - very nicely put regarding story and utility....that is what draws me to quilting....

coffee - I do love the way quilts will give for as long as a remnant remains....I remember you writing of a wonderful quilting friend.

lettuce said...

thats a great story.

My sister and I made a patchwork coverlet (not properly quilted tho) which took years and years - but was finished (more by chance than by design) just in time for my parents 40th anniv.
It had some bits in it from bridesmaids dresses from both our weddings - and remnants of one of the dresses i most loved when i was a teenager...
such a precious thing.