Memories of Grandmother

Grandmother's Quilt with custom designs

A customer (and friend) brought a vintage quilt top pieced by her grandmother. This quilt top had been stowed away for many years. Could I finish it? I would be honored to give it some life.

Close inspection revealed sturdy seams and intact cloth. Made in the traditional manner at the time, pieces of clothing salvaged from mostly worn out or outgrown garments supplied the majority of material.

Grandmother's Quilt Top
Grandmother’s Quilt Top before quilting

I often look to the fabric for a quilting design inspiration. This top included mostly stripes and plaids, with a few floral or prints scattered throughout. I was going to need more help and input from the customer.

Not wanting to add heavy quilting, we looked at some basic designs made of feathery loops and swirls but none seemed to be right. I often use a basic looping pattern that can have custom designs added, an option worth exploring.

I asked the customer what she thought of when remembering Grandmother. Lucky the dog, gardening, homemade strawberry jam, and baking chocolate chips were at the top of the list. I already had pawprint (Lucky the dog) and flower (gardening) designs.

We thought about just a strawberry, but why not have it label a jam jar?

Strawberry Jam Jar Design
Strawberry Jam Jar Design

The chocolate chip cookies were tricky. I searched and found a baking icon that was the basic inspiration for the oven mitt and cookie tray design.

Cookie Tray with Oven Mitt Design
Cookie Tray with Oven Mitt Design

Fairly quickly, the custom designs were created and dropped into the looping pattern. With the okay from the customer, it was time for quilting.

Grandmother's Quilt - custom designs
Grandmother’s Quilt – custom designs include pawprints, a flower, a strawberry jelly jar and a cookie tray with oven mitt.

Simple custom designs truly can make a quilt top more meaningful. Not only can the fabrics evoke memories, but, in this instance, the stitches are reminders of Grandmother in the garden, in the kitchen and with Lucky the dog.

Grandmother's Quilt - finished
Grandmother’s Quilt – ready fpr cuddling


I love the challenge of designing quilting for a particular project…most of the time … my husband will attest that sometimes I get a little crazy during the process.

Wanting to build my portfolio of custom quilting, I was looking for a fun and fast quilt top pattern that could handle a scrappy look and offered areas for some unique quilting designs. The “Primrose” pattern in Fat Quarter Style Book – It’s Sew Emma patterns fit the bill!

Construction of the top moved quickly and was finished in July 2017.  Quilting designs, unfortunately, progressed much like I drive a shift … not very well. While staying busy quilting charity quilts and building my pantograph designs during the next few months,  my attempts to finalize a quilting plan for “Primrose” just wouldn’t settle with me.  I fought the urge to complete the quilt with all-over pattern and I’m glad I did.

With the new year, all of the previous “Primrose” design attempts were scrapped and the final design came together in three days!  I spent portions of the next 3 days stitching and am thrilled with the results!

Moral of the story: Be patient.  Some things just cannot be rushed.  This is a running theme in my life.  Raising children, training horses, making wine … all require patience.  So does quilting.