Quilts That Take Us Back

When we think of quilting and Memorial Day, we can’t help but think about those quilts that were used in all the homes of soldiers in World War II. Many museums have had exhibits on quilts from the Civil War. There are a few, too, that date to the Revolution. But we know that the hundreds of thousands of men and women who served in World War II grew up under quilts, most of which were made by hand by their mothers or wives or aunts.

There were many popular patterns at that time, most dating from the revival of interest in quilting during the Depression. Many families had a Log Cabin, an Irish Chain, a Storm at Sea, Tumbling Blocks, Flying Geese, Le Moyne Star, a Nine Patch, or a Lone Star in boy’s rooms. Signature Quilts were often made to raise money for the Red Cross. Girls who joined the WACS or WAVES or other branches may have slept under a Sunbonnet Sue, a Butterfly, a Flower Basket, and had a Yo-Yo or appliqued quilt for a bedspread.

Here are a few quilts, posted by our readers that have the feel of those days. Thanks go to Susan, Carissa and Alena for sharing them with us. Most are new, but the look takes us back…

from: Susan Corral: “Disappearing nine patch queen size quilt. Created and designed by me the novice Susan Corral Completed April 15, 2014.”

from: Carissa Daly: “Sometimes we can find the most wonderful things in our own home if we only look. The other day I decided to sort through all the stuff in my cedar chests, throw out what I didn’t want, wash & repair what I wanted to keep, & attach labels. I found this beautiful quilt that I didn’t know I had. Mom gave it to me years ago, & I had put it in a chest & forgot about it. I called her this morning to find out who made it, but she couldn’t remember the quilt. However, she did tell me about her mother & sisters quilting when they were young & still at home, so I have concluded that it was made by my Aunt Frankie. If Aunt Frankie was still living, she would now be at least 98 years old. Mom said Aunt Frankie was very particular about her quilting, everything had to be cut & sewn straight & true. The pattern for this quilt is called “Around the World,” & the quilt is really remarkable. It is hand pieced, & the corners fit exactly true. All the checkered or striped fabric is cut exactly straight, & all the striped pieces go in the same direction. One checked square had to be pieced to make it big enough, & she perfectly matched the lines so it wouldn’t show. If she wasn’t able to complete a round row with the same material, whatever material was used to substitute was placed on the top as well as the bottom in the same place to maintain symmetry. It also has 2 rows of border. The quilting is done with tiny little stitches. I assume the material is mostly feed sack. It is 87″ x 101″, which is quite large for a quilt from that time period, & since the batting is not carded cotton but a thin muslin sheet, I suspect this was made to be used as a bedspread. There are a couple little tears on the back that I plan to repair, but I will not wash it since it is so fragile. It appears clean & no brown spots, so fortunately doesn’t need washing,”

from: Alena Mae Doty: “This is my Storm at Sea quilt…”

from Nancy with 24 Blocks: “This is a closeup of one of a well-used vintage family quilt. It would have been used by an uncle who fought in World War II. It was made by my Grandmother and a great aunt. We called the pattern “Blocked Star”, a variety of Tumbling Blocks. You can see some material from shirts. It went through a fire in 1945.

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