Sunday, September 19, 2021

Weekly update: quilt rescue and reading


Be sure to read the previous post to see the week's wildflowers and other activities.

On the way back from a lake shore walk we saw two cranes at the edge of a pond in the park.  I was able to get pretty close to them.

This weekend there was an estate sale about three blocks away.   I had walked past the house often but I didn't know the people who lived there.  (I looked them up: he died in 2012 and she died earlier this year.) I went on Saturday when  everything was 50% off.

There were three undistinguished Kenmore sewing machines, a huge bin of embroidery floss in ziploc bags, sorted and numbered by color, the usual assortment of cross-stitch leaflets and evenweave cloth.  

What caught my eye was the stack of old quilts -- $20 each but it was 50% off day, so $10!  Most were in bad shape.  I got two quilts and an unquilted top. 

I think the bow quilt is a kit. The bows look like they were die-cut and the elaborate quilting design ooks like follow-the-dotted line.

I have another quilt from the 1930's that is quilted with blue floss.  

The thread tails are expertly buried on the back.

These Lone Stars are hand-pieced. The background is osnaberg-ish (rough texture).  They all lie flat. 

 A couple of the blocks are in rough shape but I can salvage several others.   

Love the quirky substitutions!

The third quilt is very, very lumpy.  I had to buy it because of the signature blocks -- who were these people? Where did they live? How did the quilt end up in northern Illinois? 

Thanks to I was able to trace the quilt to Itawamba Co., Mississippi.  (Two of the names are Zelon Jackson and Lelon Jackson -- unusual enough to be easy to find.) 

 Beatrice "Beddie" Petty was the grandmother of the man who lived in the house.  The man's mother and three aunts also signed blocks. (Beddie had eight children.)  

Beddie's son, his wife (a block-signer), and their family were among the many people from the Tupelo, MS - Red Bay, AL area who migrated to Waukegan to work in the factories during WWII and into the 1950's.  

I think I've figured out what church all the signers went to.  It's still in business and I'm going to send it to tthem. 

# # # # # # # #

I finished just one book this week.  

Vanishing Fleece was published two years ago. I'm sure that readers who knit know all about it since Clara Parkes is a very well-known chronicler of knitting and wool.  It will be of interest to quiltmakers and anyone who works with fiber and fabric.   

Parkes’ experiment in processing a bale of wool takes her from the New York sheep farm to processors in Texas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Maine. There is a lot that goes into the production. As a result of her investigative reporting I am more informed and far more appreciative —particularly in the science and technology involved.

It's a "shear" delight. I give it five stars!

Linking up with  Monday Making Oh Scrap!,  Design Wall Monday


  1. What a bounty you found just down the street. How fun to actually look up people who signed the quilt and find information about them. Perhaps there are descendants still going to the same church. Must see if the local library has Vanishing Fleece. Sounds interesting to me!

  2. That's why I enjoy going to estate sales. I feel like I'm being given the privilege of walking into someone else's life and exploring their treasures.

  3. What fun finds at the estate sale! Nice detective work on the signature quilt. It's good of you to connect it back with the church. It's like a time capsule!

  4. Congratulations on your finds from the sale! You did very well!

  5. What fun to find a signature quilt and then locate many of the people. You are so kind to send it to their church. I'm sure it will be appreciated.
    I don't knit but Vanishing Fleece sounds interesting anyway. Thanks.

  6. such a wonderful treasure trove! drooling here...

  7. Wow! The quilts you bought at the sale are remarkable! And I love that you tracked down the history of the signature quilt and are sending it to the church! Looking forward to seeing what you do with the stars😊.

  8. Wow! You found some real treasures! I have to say I love how the stars have a few with odd colored diamonds in them! Loved the story of the family who moved to Illinois from Mississippi! Thanks for sharing your finds!!!

  9. Those cranes by the water might be Sandhill Cranes. I saw some once in Utah. See for some photos. The could also be blue cranes. Except that blue cranes are found in South Africa.

    Beautiful photo.

    Marie in Portland OR

  10. Marie in Portland, you're no-reply . . . yes, they are sandhill cranes. This area is a flyway. We see them every season. (We still haven't paid a visit to the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI. Maybe next spring?)

  11. What a dream come true to find those old quilts. It is sad how little value they get these days, but good for you! They all found the best home to be cherished, restored and researched. I thank you for sharing your bounty with us all. It is wake up call for us all to label our quilts, leave notes attached with stories if necessary and keep the legacy going for the next generation.

  12. How cool the quilts found their way to someone who could appreciate them. Those stars are really fun, that's my favorite of the three. It's interesting to hear about the people who signed the blocks in the signature quilt.


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