Mom’s Grandmothers Flower Garden Quilt
Maker: Alyce Adair Wyckoff Broberg Eick
Owner: (daughter) Elaine Adair Broberg Bradford Moore, Alliance, Nebraska
Mom, age 21, made this quilt in 1936-37, while awaiting her first child, Kristin, my older sister. My folks lived in Chicago at that time. Mom loved color and gardens! The lively fabrics were from homemade garments for nieces, aged 3 or 4, who lived nearby with Uncle Bert and Aunt Kate.
This quilt had remained folded and unused (“save it for good!”) on Mom’s wood shelves in a farm bathroom for 25-30 years, and when the quilt was finally inspected, we were shocked to learn the wood acids had eaten holes clear through the quilt. The center fold lines across the quilt were GONE, including fabric in the rosettes and pathways. Other places, while still intact, were weakened or shredded. The binding needed replacing and the quilt was very dirty. Then it came to me, “the quilter”, and it sat another 10 years, but NOT on a wood shelf.
I didn’t know the “right” approach to repair this quilt – the general consensus was that “Hexagons were difficult!” One day in 2014, I gathered courage, template plastic, hand sewing materials, repro fabrics, and started making hexagon rosettes. After a few false starts, several poorly made templates, I realized, I LIKED this process and in one week, had the 5 rosettes needed. I was addicted!!!
I remade entire or partial rosettes and hand appliqued them over the partially destroyed parts. I did NOT remove the damaged parts, but left them in, and did not remove any of Mom’s hand quilting. The new fabrics blended in very well! For the back areas that were so damaged or gone along that fold line, I cut a strip of thin cotton batting and backing along the entire width, and quilted it all together from the front. In places that were not damaged, I basted the front to the back with blind basting stitches. I replaced the worn binding, and gently machine washed the quilt one time. My purpose was to repair the quilt, not make it look like new.
I still hear my Mom’s preaching -- “It’s never as hard as you think it is.” I am the only quilter in my family – it was up to me to save it.