Friday, September 25, 2009
I know I've mentioned it before, but it deserves repeating: my family is quilty. My grandmother on my mom's side spent her lifetime making something out of nothing. She had her very own sewing room (which I suspect may have been more about a quiet escape just a pocket door away from her 9 children--but they were all angels, so I'm sure that's not it).
Last Christmas I went to her house which hasn't been lived in for years and got the quilts out of the cedar chest in her room. They had probably been there for 60 years or more, never used. Maybe she had quilts and used them, but I don't think so. Besides a few glorious chenille numbers in the girls rooms, and denim blankets in the boys' room, I don't remember seeing anything on the beds that resembled these quilts.
Now I'm a pack-rat (my mom would tell you it skipped a generation) but I also believe in using the quilts you have--at least displaying them. I have several up around my house. They're out of direct sunlight, which is important. Sadly, it's hard for me to get direct sunlight in my house. That's another point.
But these quilts are still in great shape because they were put away. Some have a few small stains, or heavy creases, but mom and I are working on them.
We did this photo shoot as part of a larger project. I want to make an album of our family quilts on Blurb--so everyone can have a copy. I intend to have a wide shot and detail shots of each of them, and also include any information I can find on them.
It's so important to have record of these things. With these quilts, we have no idea where they came from except that they belonged to my grandma. Sadly, she's gone now, and we can't ask her. I could just kick myself that we didn't ask her last Christmas.
Here are a couple of quilts that belong to me. First, the black and gold is one my mom made for my college graduation (still my favorite of all).
And then the wedding quilt my aunt made for me. I love color, what can I say?
So here are some tips if you want to make your own family quilt record, whether in book form or otherwise:
- Take photos with the quilt as flat as possible. Hanging up is best because you can get the whole thing without being at an angle.
- Take the photo with a high-resolution camera in the shade, or on a slightly cloudy day. This way there won't be harsh shadows or washed out images.
- Get an assistant!
- Gather all the quilts you can whether you know something about them or not.
- Document the following:
- Name of owner:
- Name of creator/quilter (sometimes they're different):
- Date created:
- Name of pattern if any:
- Materials used and where they might have come from (like a child's dress or the flea market)
- Any special notes about the occasion, the story of why it was made, or really anything. You don't know what will be important in future generations, so as much information as possible is great!
I'm going to use Blurb to make this book. I hope to make one with the other side of my family also, but it will probably be harder to get those quilts all together. I'm hoping for QuiltFest 2010, ladies!
And you know I'm excited about designing the book. Maybe I'll even do some freelancing books for other people. You could send me your photos and I could lay them out in book form and send it to you...hmm. I'm always entreprenuering!
The only thing out there on the web I can find about family quilt documentation is this site in Australia. You need to save your heritage! When one generation passes away, all the information is lost. I can't bear to think of my hard work being donated to Goodwill or otherwise.