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    In every family, someone ends up with “the stuff.” It is the goal of The Family Curator to inspire, enlighten, and encourage other family curators in their efforts to preserve and share their own family treasures.

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    Sunday
    Jan112009

    The Curator Quilts, too!

    Detail of Lone Star Christmas Quilt, made by Denise Levenick

    Lately I've been bumping into Genea-Bloggers who are also quilters, such as Dear Myrt and The Chart Chick, and quilting bloggers who are also family historians, like Lillian's Cupboard. It's not an unlikely pairing, as anyone who has inherited a family quilt would know. Quilting is like anything else, in that the craft itself can connect us with the past.

    My dad loves tinkering with cars, polishing the chrome until it gleams like a mirror. I remember my grandfather's tidy garage and pristine auto and know that every time he pulls out a polishing cloth, my dad is reenacting a ritual he observed in his own father's garage. When we bake a cake from a heirloom recipe, sew a doll's dress, or harvest the first tomato of the season we honor and remember those who taught us.

    I didn't have the privilege to learn quilting from my grandmother, but in reading her letters, I have found several references to sewing. Evidently, like many women in the early 20th century, Arline was proficient at creating her own sylish wardrobe. She used a Singer machine that she occasionally mentions, although I don't know if it was a treadle or electric model. And from what I have gathered about her busy life, I doubt that she had time or interest to make heirloom quilts. If she did make quilts, it was probably out of necessity, something so common it didn't even garner a mention in her letters.

    I started quilting in 2000 after a friend dragged me along while she purchased a new sewing machine. I took a class to learn about my new Bernina (of course, I bought one too!), and got to work on my first quilt. It was a crib size Flying Geese pattern made from an Eleanor Burns pattern. My boys are over 6'4" tall and I didn't have grandchildren, but it seemed like a manageable project.

    Since then, I have made dozens more quilts from easy to difficult, from doll-size to queen-size. I don't think I will ever be a "Master" Quilter, but I do enjoy making something enduring and comforting. That crib-size Flying Geese brightens my eldest son's sofa in his New York City apartment, and a western-theme flannel quilt warms my younger son and his new bride in Southern California.

    Next week, I'll be at the Road to California Quilt Show in Ontario, California, viewing quilts, meeting designers, and generally getting inspired to make a new family heirloom. Maybe I'll even bump into a quilting Genea-Quilter; leave a comment if you will be there!

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    Reader Comments (5)

    I'm a quilter, too.

    Road to California is a great show. I used to live in Claremont and miss attending such a big event close to my house.

    January 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAmy (WeTree)

    You not only make beautiful quilts but ones that are very thoughtfully planned for the recipient. Our little Anabelle was lucky enough to receive a very special one made by her Great Aunt NeeNee!

    January 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna

    Quilting and Genealogy is a lot alike. Unless the piece fits exactly, it's not a fit! A wrong size piece can throw the whole quilt off, just as the wrong name can throw your genealogy off ~ "almost" doesn't cut it in either.

    Yes, I'm a quilter, too, and have been for about 30 years. I'd rather quilt than piece, though and have quilted old tops from the 1930's and imagined myself finishing somebody's dream, after all, they must have had a dream when they started those old wedding ring quilts, etc.

    Road to California. . . brings back memories when I lived in Grand Terrace and our group would go together. . . .

    January 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLinda in Lancaster

    Oops! My grammar would make my mother ashamed of me. . . I should have said:
    Quilting and Genealogy ARE a lot alike.

    January 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLinda in Lancaster

    I wish we were all meeting for lunch at Road... I have my tote bag packed and my mad money ready. Looking forward to a fun day.

    Yes, quilting and genealogy is/are a lot alike -- patience, persistence, and piecing things together. I like your analogy, Linda.

    Full report after the show. dl

    January 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDenise Levenick

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