In the spring of 1933 my great grandmother, Effie Bernice Hunt, began a labor of love at her kitchen table: a 25 week-long handmade quilt making project of 25 appliqué quilt blocks. Each handmade quilt block featured a different flower beloved in the Pacific Northwest and ranged from the camellia, to the gladiolus to bluebells. The patterns were published weekly in the Sunday Oregonian newspaper. A full 60 years later I assembled those fragile polished cotton, handmade quilt blocks into the gorgeous finished “Modernistic Flower Appliqué Quilt.” Effie had very thoughtfully tucked the directions in among the completed appliqué quilt blocks for the final quilt assembly or visit www.instant-software-products.com what a beautiful handmade quilt and portrait of the past she bequeathed to me! The family story goes that the heart or Effie’s handmade quilt making operation, and she made many appliqué quilts and patchwork quilts, was at the kitchen table in front of her beloved, huge radio set stationed smack in the middle of everything. My particular appliqué quilt was gradually given birth to over a weekly basis beginning in the spring of 1933.
While the entire family’s life revolved around that kitchen “command center,” my father remembers being shooed out to play when his grandmother claimed her “alone time.” The kitchen resolutely became off limits but for handmade quilt making and radio time! Set aside this time daily to work on the weekly handmade quilt block, to soak up her favorite radio dramas and to listen to the world’s breaking news. She is remembered as being a history buff and a news junkie! Imagine some of the awareness sewn into my handmade quilt: in 1933 Hitler became the German chancellor, the Nazi’s began their reign of terror, Franklin D. Roosevelt was inaugurated as President of the United States and the New Deal was launched. Postage for a letter then was only 3 cents too! So, on May 28,1933 the Sunday newspaper published the first weekly appliqué quilt block pattern: ”The Tulip,” “associated with Holland and spring and brilliance of hue…the tulip may be made one of the most colorful in the quilt.” Buff or black were the suggested color choices for the basis of the handmade quilt blocks and I love how she chose black. The colors of the flowers are so vivid and striking on this background that they literally jump out from the appliqué quilt. On Sunday, June 25th,
It pictures two yellow spurred blossoms with one head-on view and another viewed from the side. My favorite part of this handmade quilt block is the three plump, round leaves which are so identifiable with the nasturtium plant. I have grown these flowers for years because the flowers are so delicious to eat in salads! On Sunday, July 30th, “The Bluebell.” The quilter is advised to make the blue bells light in color for conspicuousness and to make the stitching a darker blue. The stitching used to connect the bells to the stem and to form the stamens is to be orange. For some reason Effie did not connect the bells to the stem with orange stitching but left them free floating. Perhaps this was more modern to her eye? Almost two months later on October 1, was published: “The Morning Glory.” The handmade quilt designer wrote that this flower was included “…to go to www.newbies-guide-to-making-software.com enable the user of the appliqué quilt who retires with the poppy to greet the day with the morning glory! Following in Effie’s footsteps and being a history buff myself, I can imagine that while sewing this handmade quilt block Effie could have been listening to news stories about the repeal of prohibition — what a contrast! And so, here is just a small historical vignette about my great grandmother’s personal context for the art of handmade quilt making in the 1930’s. What a wonderful gift and historical portrait Effie left behind. I feel so lucky to daily gaze upon this beautiful “Modernistic Flower Appliqué Quilt” and to be reminded of her life and the world as she knew it.
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