Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Keeping Quilt

Remember that guild challenge I was working on with the old wool blazers from Goodwill?


As in, done done. All the way done. With a label.

Here was the challenge: choose a children's book that has something to do with quilts. One of our guild members has a phenomenal collection, and she donated many of them to this project. I have several books myself, but had no idea the vast possibilities for this challenge.

After choosing a book, we each were to make a quilt that represented the quilt in the book in some way. Some books had vivid illustrations, and some only had descriptive language. The quilt was to be 36" x 45" (ish). The quilt and book will be donated and used for educational purposes.

I chose the book The Keeping Quilt, written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco. I love this book for several reasons. One is that it is a true story. There is a real "keeping quilt" handed down by the author's family for generations. Here is a picture of her with it.

Another reason is that it seems to me to capture all of the best things about quilting: memories preserved, the community of women, recycling, and art. In the book, a family emigrates to America. The girl's clothing is soon outgrown and worn out, but her mother suggests using it to create a quilt, to remember "the old country."

All of the women in the community come together to create the beautiful quilt, adorned with primitive shapes of animals, flowers, and hearts. The finished quilt is used by the girl throughout her life as a picnic blanket as she is being courted, the huppa at her wedding, and to swaddle her newborn daughter. The story and the quilt are handed down from generation to generation, until the author is holding her own child wrapped in it.

Here is my challenge quilt interpreting this wonderful story.

I am especially proud of the fact that, in my attempt to keep to the story, everything I used except the thread and batting came from the thrift store. And I even used scraps of batting! The wool was from those jackets, and the backround and backing were from an old sheet. The red on the scalloped edge was a shirt. (Only $3!) I had originally planned to hand applique and hand quilt it, in order to be truly authentic, but I had to face the fact that I HATE hand applique and was running out of time for hand quilting. Oh well...

Now a challenge for you: I am in charge of my guild's challenge for 2010. What are your favorite guild challenges? Do you like a wacky fabric to work with? A theme? Lots of rules to make you step outside of your comfort zone? Or would you rather have broad leeway to make whatever you want?

I need to decide within the next month and I have no idea, so keep those cards and letters coming.

Tomorrow I'll update you on Organized Christmas, and then MORE quilty goodness!


  1. Me, I like a specific block that must be interpreted in the quilt. Basic, yes, but it leaves me lots of room to play.

  2. My weekly group has done fabrics, blocks, drawing a crayon and a couple others. This year's fabric is the fruit ladies -- I chose it and they HATE it. Next year is the paint chip challenge. Find 3 paint chips with names to match your initials and then make something using those colors.


Thanks for joining the conversation!

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