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There sure is a lot of traditional type stuff on my blog lately. I haven’t really been in the “art studio” for several months. Initially that was due to the holidays and low-light blah winter months.

Lately it is more due to the fact that I am concentrating almost all my efforts on clearing out and staging our current house and searching for somewhere smaller to live.

6H is for House blog
Maybe a house like this is the right size for me

Yes, we are planning a move and it’s an overwhelming and time consuming process, to say the least. I’ve been trying to stay a little secretive so I don’t jinx anything, but when someone wants to know what’s going on in my life, well…… this is it right now.

Yesterday I was going through the master closet where there was a pile of old quilts stacked in the corner. I pulled them all out and will have to make decisions on what to do with them. They are old family quilts and I have them because I seem to be the archivist of the family.

Of course I wanted all these quilts and coverlets when we cleaned out various elderly relatives’ homes, but they really do no good sitting in the back corner of a closet. And they are not in fantastic condition either, so probably no one beyond me is going to want them.

1Full quilt 75x80 blog
Alphabet Quilt 80" x 75" made in 1930 in Massachusetts

Among the pile I found this gem – it was made for my father by his grandmother. I did a little research and discovered that the alphabet blocks are made from Nancy Page designs. The block patterns would have been printed one at a time, in “serial” fashion, in the newspaper for the public to use and make. In my search I also found many similar quilts made using the Nancy Page patterns. It is very fun and interesting to see quilts similar to mine from various parts of the country!

2XYZ by AFHC blog
Made for my father by his grandmother, Annie Florence Hill Clapp, in 1930

I think I’ve decided what to do with this old, worn quilt. It is not useable as is, but it is such a treasure that I’d like to remake it somehow to prolong its life. The alphabet blocks themselves are in fairly decent condition – some wear on some of the fabrics and some of the embroidery has disintegrated also. The green background fabric is browned and aged, but most areas are actually in fairly good condition as well.

3Number 30 blog
Nancy Page's pattern uses the number "37" and the quilts I've seen also use "37". I believe my great-grandmother used the number "30" for the year she made the quilt - 1930.

My thought is to take it apart and salvage the blocks and probably re-do the missing embroidery. You can see the stitching marks where the embroidery used to be.  The quilt, or perhaps ‘coverlet’ is a better description, was tied, not quilted, so taking it apart would be easy. I would also need to wash it (gently by hand, of course!) and I’d rather only wash the parts I want to use. I especially don’t want to wash a heavy batting if I’m not going to use it.

5Damage at top blog 4Torn D block and top blog
The top edge is especially torn and stained

I could probably re-use the current green print as a sashing. I would put a new stronger backing fabric on and a new cotton batting. And, although I haven’t hand quilted for years, I’d be willing to hand quilt this piece. My thought is to make it as a wall hanging because I don’t think the blocks would stand up to use without getting too damaged.

This is all just an idea at the moment because I don’t have time to take it on as a project. (Remember that part earlier about moving?) But if I make the decision to disassemble the quilt, then I can wash the blocks and fabric and condense the size for packing up to move. That’s really my motivation at the moment.

Of course, none of this deals with the 8 – 10 other quilts in that pile! If you're interested in seeing more, just Google "Nancy Page alphabet patterns".

When I put the question out on Facebook – whether or not to take it apart or leave it as is – I got nine responses to take it apart and remake it so it could continue its life as a family heirloom. Two respondents strongly felt I should leave it as is.

What do you think? 

Until next time -

MCH

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