My mom’s mom, my grandmother, was named Verna, and her sister was Irene. Verna and Irene were the daughters of Great Grandma Manuel, and growing up her picture had a prominent place in our home. We simply knew mom's grandma, my great-grandma Manuel as the “White haired lady”. I vaguely remember her from when I was VERY little…..
I only remember meeting Auntie Irene a few times growing up, but once, when my boys were small, She and her daughter Carol ((Mom’s other cousin)) made a visit out to Idaho and I got to know her a lot better then. As Grandma's sister, she was so much like my Grandmother in so many ways, and Grandma had passed away years before.
Auntie Irene was always busy with needlework of some kind. She quilted, she crocheted, she embroidered, she sewed. It’s the way things were always done. Never an idle hand to be seen.
Auntie Irene was married in 1938, and her sewing and handcrafting continued through her life! After her passing, her handworks were distributed amongst family members. Finally, what was “unclaimed” came to reside at Auntie Joy’s house, and I was told that I could “have my pick” of what was left. What treasures were to be found?!
1930’s butterflies on muslin feedsacks! We believe that the butterflies were embroidered early on in Auntie Irene’s married life, and then set aside until later in her life when she decided to put them together with 1970s calico. The calico is a poly blend, as getting 100% cotton in the 70s was pretty much limited. I’d like to take these apart and re-set them, but at the same time, I know that Auntie Irene did these….so I’m hemming and hawwing on whether to take them apart, or leave them as is as quilt it.
It really REALLY needs washing. It is so smoky from years of living in a smokers home that I can hardly stand to have it in the same room right now. It’s airing out in the garage. And that adds to the dilemma. I don’t want to wash it and have the seams shred. It may be airing out for a LONG TIME! But I just love to see her hand stitches on these cute butterflies!
I love this orange one! Can you see the cute french knot eyes? There is some yellow staining on the muslin, but that doesn’t bother me as much as the smell.
I love this purple print too! Several of the prints are ones that I recognize as being “reproductions” more recently, but these are definitely the real deal!
I love this sweet print too! I can’t believe that no one wanted this top --- but then --- how many would have known how to finish it?
So what do you think I should do? Wash it or not? Quilt it as is? Take it apart, re-set it, quilt it, THEN wash it? Give me your thoughts!
Dear Auntie Irene ---
I am so HAPPY to have part of your quilting legacy live on to brighten my home! I cherish the memories we’ve made over the years, I’ll forever remember you smiling and laughing and think of how you were always so cheerful to be around!
I’ll remember how even at 90 you were often found dancing alone in your living room or kitchen just because your feet couldn’t stand still with that kind of music playing! ((There is a life lesson in that! NEVER STOP DANCING!))
I’ll always remember the time I brought my boys out to meet you at the orchard in Eagle, Idaho --- when we were there to pick peaches and apricots and have a picnic! There were no forks for the potato salad, and you said, never fear! And we all found forked twigs to eat our lunch with. These memories are so special to me!
I love holding the work of your hands in my own hands…and forever in my heart!