I grew up sleeping under it at our cabin at Pinecrest, in the Sierras of California. It was my favorite quilt. I loved all the different colored dresses on the little girls and the funny boys in overalls. I didn't know its story then, but I loved it.
My dad sold the cabin in the 70's, the quilt was packed in a trunk, and I saw it now and then at my folks' place. And then one day, after my mom had gotten sick and couldn't tell me where things were anymore, I went looking for it and couldn't find it. I asked my dad. No idea. Whew. I wondered where in the world it could have gone. Several years passed, and still no sign of it anywhere.
Then one day when I was helping my dad move stuff out of the old barn, I caught a glimpse of green and white and thought, "What in the world???" I pulled that green and white off of some old boards, and there it was. "My" quilt. Very dirty, but still intact!
I took it home and it sat for awhile. I wasn't sure what I should do to care for it. Eventually, it started smelling moldy and I decided it was time to take it apart and see what I could do with it.
It was a tied quilt, so I took out all the ties and separated the top from the back. What I found inside was amazing to me. Several old wool sweaters had been taken apart and opened up flat and then stitched to a flannel sheet to form the batting. I recognized two of them from pictures. One had been my uncle's and one my mother's. Truly a Depression Quilt. I washed both the top and back and then set them away again, waiting until I knew what to do next.
In the meantime, I talked with my uncle, and he told me that it was their aunt - his and my mom's -who had made the quilt for my mom in 1937 or '38. I got inspired to restore it, but still didn't really know what to do.
In 2011, Maggie and I were blessed to fall into an incredible quilt group. I took the quilt top and asked them what they would do with it, and I was given good advice, which I followed.
So, after soaking it in Oxyclean, repairing some of the embroidery, then using some of the uneven border fabric to patch the holes caused by the ties pulling through, I sandwiched it with cotton batting, and basted it.
The fabrics in this treasure are a wonderful representation of the patterns available in the 30's. The prints are sweet. The solids wonderful. The back is a delightful patchwork of 3 different fabrics. I just love the historicity a piece like this contains.
So, in memory of my mom, Winifred Brown Thompson, I have this fabulous reminder of her childhood and mine because Helen Moe took the time to make and gift to Mom a quilt during the Depression. Thank you, Aunt Helen.