06 July 2007

Grandmother's Flower Garden

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There are three different indoor flea markets on this one stretch of road between my hometown and the next town north of us. I cruise through them on occasion and one time (in Itchy's Flea Market; I always thought the next one down the road should be Scratchy's Flea Market) but I digress. Anyway. You know those plastic bags with handles that a purchased blanket comes in? I found one of those bags with these flower blocks and scraps to make more in one of the booths. It was $32.00. Of course, it went home with me.

And when I got home and was emptying out the bag to fondle my loot there were more goodies! There was a thimble, a pair of stork scissors, needle and thread and, really the best of all, was the sandpaper pattern piece. I made more flowers. And more flowers. And then I put it together and started to quilt. I had no idea what type of quilting pattern to use so I quilted 1/4 inch inside each hexagon. Yes, you read that right! I quilted this one by hand for 4 years.

It's hard to see, but on the edge I added a round of white hexagons all the way around the outside edge like a border and then I trimmed it down so I could do a scalloped edge. By the time I got to putting on the binding, I was getting mighty sick of looking at the thing. I made half blocks for the top and bottom: not a whole block cut in half, but individual half blocks. Can you see the one color that is kind of rare in a quilt like this? Yes, it's the black. I had never seen black used in a GFG. The unknown quiltmaker's fabric dates from the 1960s. My additions date from the 1970's. This was my first Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt.

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My second GFG quilt was an incomplete top that I inherited from my fraternal Grandmother. She was hand piecing this into a top toward the end when her eyesight was failing. The flowers were made at another time in her life and she was using an ugly, coarse utility muslin to set the flowers together. And because her sight was failing she didn't see the gaps and puckers in her seams. I carefully removed the flowers from that hideous muslin

When I tried a layout, I realized that there weren't enough flowers. But that wasn't really a problem because I had that sandpaper pattern (remember that pattern?) from the first quilt that was miraculously the same size! And I had Grandma's Scrap Bag. I made three more blocks. I knew I wanted to do something a bit different than the first GFG, so I searched and found some English Paper Piecing diamonds. And then I found some of 'that green' original fabric from the 1930's at a quilt show -- I bought the whole thing of 36"wide by 1 yard.

Once I had the diamonds made and the central portion together, I knew it needed borders. I used the same white from the flowers and cut extremely wide strips and appliqu├ęd the central portion onto them. I used up the rest of that green for the vine. In fact, I ran out. The butterflies are covering the sections where the vines don't meet up! Leaves are again from Grandma's scrap bag. Remembering how long it took me to hand quilt the other one, I quilting the flowers in this one differently: I went around each row of the flower so that each flower is quilted with three rows of quilting. The border is diagonal quilting. This is my second GFG quilt.

I have a third one that is in my UFO box. I'm a sucker for 1930's orphans, what can I say?

26 comments:

  1. Very nice quilts. I am working a GFG now and it is alot of work. I plan to be done an about 3 years.

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  2. I think everyone has a list of "Dream Quilts"--- and the GFG Has to be on it...Yours are beautiful...

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  3. Great quilts! I haven't tackled a GFG...not sure I will but I sure do admire them.

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  4. I love them both - I admire your perseverance in completing them!

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  5. They are lovely quilts! I did one using english paper piecing and gave it to my dad...just used modern scraps though, how nice to have vintage fabrics in yours!

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  6. These are both gorgeous, and with such wonderful borders too. A GFG is on my list of quilts I want to make before I die.

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  7. You deserve a medal - first for finishing them, and next for finishing them so beautifully! Stunning job, both of them.

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  8. Gorgeous! I am itching to start one of those since they are all the rage right now, but it looks like you were ahead of the curve (you and your grandmother)!

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  9. Wonderful! Thanks for telling us how they came about too--I always like to hear the stories behind the quilts!

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  10. What great quilts -- I love the look of them, but am pretty darned sure I don't have the patience! I love the story behind the one you made with your grandmother's blocks.

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  11. Wow! Great story. Great quilts! Long Live the Hexagon!( and that's from a hexagon Pro! )I am using them in a secret project as well as my I Spy Quilt. Then I think I need to move on...been there done that....lot's more still to tackle.
    You did well!

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  12. Great quilts. I particularly like the second one and you have the memories of your grandma in that one too. Congrats on finishing them both - they are beautiful :)

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  13. What a great find!

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  14. They are both just wonderful quilts! That's a lot of dedication and hard work you put into them both. How fun to find black fabric (a favorite of mine) and I really like the setting solution you came up with for Grandma's GFG The diamonds are just the right touch. You should think about framing up that sandpaper template . . . it deserves a little something special, too *s*

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  15. Ah, Paula... you have the loveliest orphans. You have a magic touch and are a gifted visionary. Applause for you, well done! I love these quilts.

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  16. I thought the first one was beautiful, but the second one is even better. Can't wait to see the third!

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  17. Your commitment to getting things done is amazing, to think that you are now on the third GFG is awesome. The two in the photos are beautiful. Great work. :)

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  18. Both of these a beautiful, but I really like the second one best. You are soooo talented!!

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  19. Neat... I have 5 pieced blocks from the 30's that I would like to turn ingo a quilt - some day...

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  20. Oh, Paula, you are my hero! Those two quilts are beautiful, stunning, superb, outstanding, incredible - OK, I'll stop.

    I wish you lived next door or right down the street (heck I'd be very happy if you were across town - LOL). I've been working on a GFG project since last year and had to set it aside because I can't figure out how to do the path between my hexagon flowers. I can't remember even being stumped like I have been with this one. I just want to set the blocks like the one in your first picture. Like you handquilted the first one, I'd like to handquilt this one when and if I ever finish it.
    The other night I made two small rosettes with 30's with red centers and it put a HUGE smile on my face.

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  21. I couldn't make a choice, both are wonderful.
    ciao ciao

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  22. wow, what can you say? You don't have to say anything those quilts are beautiful! I have never been that big of a grandmothers flower garden fan, but I love yours! Don't take this wrong, the black makes it look sort of like a crocheted granny circle (if there is such a thing) afghan, but in a good way! ;-)
    great great quilts!!
    can't wait to see number 3!!!

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  23. Hi Paula, what great quilts! The one you rescued and the one from family. Love them both, for different reason. Great job on deciding what to do with each. I have finished up and hand quilted 3, all quite different from each other and from yours...LOL. My first was pieced in the Honeycomb tradition, meaning without flowers. I quilted that one at the 1/4" in every hex also..takes a while doesn't it??
    I don't currently have one going, and I think that's ok for right now. I hope you will work with your orphan with us when you find time. It's a not time limit challenge. Tonya's not ready to start yet either. Hugs, Finn

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  24. What a great flea market find! You finished it perfectly. The one from your DGM is very pretty, too. I'll be looking for the 3rd one in the future.

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  25. Absolutely fantastic GFG quilts! I've been wanting to start one but have a few things to do first.

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  26. Well done! Great found and great tops. Thanks for sharing. Maria Daniela in Rome - Italy

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