Thursday, September 29, 2011

Unbelievable Mail!

When we pulled up from the airport on Monday evening, I found this box wedged into my mail box!

I didn’t remember ordering anything, but I was eager to get inside the box and find out what was inside.

I opened the box to find a note that said these items were something that was mistakenly “left out” of the “OTHER” box.


What other box?!

There was no other box --- so far at least --- but I had a great giggle at pawing through what was in THIS box!

Dig through the scissors for the "old" pair I use for paper and tape and all other "non fabric" cutting....

Anticipation is building!!

And ----

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UHOH!!! Millenium fabric! Right there on top!! Bwahahahhaha!! And look! It has CATS ;cD

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And right under it….that BLUE millenium fabric with the 2000’s all over it. Still got this in your stash? It’s time to use it up! Come on, it just reads as BLUE…..cut it small, cut it into strings even. It’s not getting any better just sitting there in your stash ;c)

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Look at all these wonderful vintage 80’s & 90’s calicoes! Some into the 70’s too I think….FUN FUN FUN!! I just love these! I’m going to have such a great time using these in scrap quilts. As I looked through each one, I remembered where I was in my life at the time these prints were popular. Love that bright yellow one you can see peeking out of the left corner!

These were still sitting on my cutting table the next morning when UPS showed up at my doorstep!

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The OTHER box, evidently! A BIG BOX!! With the SAME return address as the small box of calicoes that showed up the day before. My guess is the priority mail box beat the UPS man to my house :c)

But what could be in here? MORE FABRIC?!?!?!

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There were things in bags, things I knew well……you should have heard my squeal! DH did….clear from his recliner in the living room. He had to give up his TV watching for an impromptu quilt show…cuz I stood right there in front of the TV and opened bag after bag….he had no choice, I was blocking his view of the Biggest Loser.. LOL!

This morning I took the quilts out so I could really photograph them in day light on my deck where the light was better.

The story, contained in a letter, goes like this:

((my words and comments in parentheses, or not bolded or italicized!))

Dear Bonnie,

My sister and I have been quilting for about 25 years now and I have been following your blog for the last couple of years. I just finished Hawk’s Nest and I have made Roll Roll Cotton Boll and Goose in the Puddle.

My Sister was diagnosed 3 years ago with Alzheimer’s and we are in the process of moving her into our home. It is small and we are having to weed out a lot of things that we can’t or don’t use.

This box contains 4 old quilts that our grandmothers and great grandmother made many years ago. We talked it over and we want you to have them because we know they will be well cared for. We are the last of our line, no children or other relatives.

About the quilts:

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The ((Satin)) Crazy Quilt was made by my maternal grandmother, Ada Grace Kenney in Greenville, TN.

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There is a date of 1930 embroidered in one corner.

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((Millie’s Dress, and Mildred’s Dress!))

The pieces of paper on it were put on my by grandmother as it is her hand writing.

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The Butterfly Quilt was also made by Ada Grace Kenney but I am not sure of the date. You might tell from the fabric.

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((It’s definitely 1930’s fabrics…and I don’t think it has ever been washed! Look at these lovely butterflies and their black button hole stitch embroidery! The hand quilting is very nice too!))

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The Scrappy ((rail fence)) Quilt was made by my paternal grandmother, Mary Wright in Topton, NC. It has many feed sacks in it as that was the material that was available to her. My fondest memories were of sleeping under the heavy feed sack quilts with all my cousins.

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Close up of the rail fence fabrics! There are some “EARLIER” fabrics in here as well..many turn-of-the-century indigoes and burgundy resists! A lot of Dan-River plaids too! They were popular in the era that this quilt was made as the Dan River Mills are from this area as well. The Mill started in 1882!

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More lovely plaids and pastel solids! Love that earlier indigo too!

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I love these sweet 1920’s florals too…very cute! and I love the red dots on white….

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The small lap Crazy Quilt ((wool)) has a date of 1903 on it and it was made by my great grandmother, Ada Kenney’s mother, in TN. They had a farm in Ottway.

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The backing was added at a later date along with the embroidered hand of my mother, Helen Wright, when she was a young girl.

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((That’s young Helen’s little hand with the H on it!))

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Another hand with a C on it…and look at all those lovely embroidery stitches!

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Here is a block that reads 1903….

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Very fun embroidery detail! I love to see the switching of floss colors here and there….

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I love the one down the center that looks like rakes with 3 tines…

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This quilt has SO MUCH to look at!! Look at that fun floral sprig around the oval patch….

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My name is Karen Anne and my sister’s name is Marie Elena……we were raised in Topton, NC which is a one-sign town in the Smoky Mountains in Cherokee County.

The way I look at it, the quilts are going HOME.

Dear Karen and Marie:

I can’t thank you enough for the priceless gift of sharing your family heirlooms with me! I’m happy to be adopted into your family! I am overjoyed and overwhelmed to think you would send these so far to someone you barely know.

I love these quilts, and I will share them and care for them…..really, you have no idea how floored and excited I am to have these with me!

In deepest gratitude ---

PS. As this posts this morning, I am on my way to Oak Ridge, TN for two workshops this weekend! I'm driving very close to where these quilts originated. They really HAVE come home!


  1. That is such a beautiful story for these quilts!
    Blessing out to Karen & Marie ♥

  2. That is so very sweet and I'm sure you will cherish these quilts for years to come.

  3. I'm gonna try this again! My last post went who knows where, lol. So, Bonnie you are a pretty special person/quilter to all of us. I got tears in my eyes when I read your post. Happy Sewing!

  4. Anonymous7:51 AM EDT

    How wonderful! But Bonnie, I must tell you that you write your blog every day, I read with wonder and awe and feel as if I know you. I bet these ladies feel the same way as if they know you too. I can hardly wait to meet you when you come to Maine.

  5. I would still be speechless.
    What a priceless gift.
    Truly beautiful quilts. I could look at that embroidery all day.

  6. Maybe this wonderful gift will give you an idea just how much you are appreciated by quilters far and wide! Thanks for all your generosity and fun!

  7. This is wonderful, they choose the right person to take care of the quilts, still a pity that there is nobody in their family to appreciate them !

  8. wow... you touch people everyday my sweets!

  9. I think the givers chose just the right person for their treasures. It must be hard to part with them since the quilts have memories. I like the embroidered hand shapes with initials.

    I used some "2000" fabric in quilts for a good while after 2000. Fortunately it was an off white and was easy to work into quilts.

  10. Wonderful story! I think they chose rightly when they sent their quilts to you. Best of luck to them - and you!

  11. I always love getting mail (that isn't bills) but this one takes the cake! So wonderful - thanks for sharing.

  12. What a gift and they are back home again. These quilts were sent to the right person. You will be a great caregiver.

  13. Wow. This post brought tears to my eyes this morning. What a loving gesture! Thanks for sharing this with us Bonnie!

  14. Wow! What a great story you now have to tell and beautiful quilts to share. I guess you will have to pinch yorself again to make sure that you are relly here and so very blessed.As always I enjoy reading of your adventures.

  15. What a beautiful gift! I too, had tears while reading the story. Lovely embroidery on the crazy quilt. All the quilts are wonderful. So glad they found such a loving home to care for them.

  16. WOW...what an honor to you Bonnie. I guess you are now the keeper of the quilts. I have one quilt from each of my grandmothers and they are both treasures. GREAT story. Karen Anne..if you are reading this. WOW. You are a GREAT sister to be caring for you sister in such an honorable way.

  17. What a wonderful story! That would have been a difficult thing for me to do. These ladies obviously loved these quilts and made a great choice for a loving home for them. You are indeed a "Quilt Angel"! Thank you for sharing your love of quilts with everyone.

  18. They couldn't have picked a better person to care for these priceless treasures! What an amazing gift :)

  19. What a wonderful gift, not only the quilts but the family legacy that is attached to them. They say that when you give you always get twice as much in return. Bonnie you are one of the givingest person in the quilt world- you truly deserve to be the keeper of these gems.

    Terry in S. Calif.

  20. What a terrific, heartwarming story! Just a touch of sadness for Karen and Marie, but how thoughtful that they shared their heritage with you. I'm very sure that those precious quilts will be well cared for and receive the adoration/admiration/attention they richly deserve! The handwork on that small crazy quilt is exquisite!!

    Thanks for sharing with us, Bonnie!

    babsnwv at gmail dot com

  21. I got chills as I read this, Bonnie. On one side, it is sad that there are no other family members to receive and love these precious pieces. But on the other side, they chose well. You will love, appreciate and value these beautiful vintage quilts. They are home.

  22. Wow I just read this post and what an honor. The story was very moving. These ladies definitely felt a connection to you thru your posts. I just started blogging this year and was lucky enough to find your blog. I find it inspiring and very helpful. One day I may start implementing some of your ideas and tips when I finish unpacking.

  23. Unbelievable is right! Amazing that they sent them to YOU! How did they get your address, is my Question!? I've thought of sending you some fabric from my stash. You have inspired so many with your Books and Blog. I'm so glad I am one of your Followers...

  24. What a compliment to you Bonnie! What a great idea these ladies had, I am sure they have a found a good home

  25. You have been selected the care taker and I could not have picked a better one than you. What a wonderful compliment - aren't quilters the best ever. Thank you so much for sharing these treasures with all of us. The felt they knew you just like we do - you have never met a stranger. Judy C in NC

  26. How precious a gift! They are so beautiful and carefully made..I would have squeeled too!

  27. You have to feel truly blessed. Good people have good lives.

  28. I have to agree with the earlier entry of how you really put yourself out there on your blog, we who follow you feel like we really know you!
    (of course I have been lucky enough to meet you and get a hug) So of course they wanted you to have these quilts to love and share with all of us. They know you will keep that history with those quilts and hopefully they'll go to a museum someday with a bit of their family history since they have no more family to share it with. You do feel like family! Big Hugs.

    Happy Sewing and safe travel

  29. Wow! What a special privilege you have been given - caretaker of these fabulous quilts. We all know they are in good hands.
    Linda in Southern Illinois

  30. Totally unbelievable!! Amazing and I had tears in my eyes too. How touching xx

  31. Anonymous2:03 PM EDT

    Quilters are special people! What a generous gift to just the right person.

  32. What a blessing! I have quilts made by my great-great aunt who had no children. They were passed down to nieces that had no children. Eventually they ended up with my father a great great nephew and now they are mine. I guess they aren't really mine, I just feel like the care-taker and am grateful for the responsibility. What generous people there are out there. . .

  33. Oh my goodness!! What treasures you have there Bonnie! Aren't quilters the best!


  34. Anonymous3:44 PM EDT

    Hi Bonnie,
    Can't get to your "Hexie-Uh-Oh" post. Get the "page not found" message when I click on it. Can open all the posts before that one, and the one after. Others might be having trouble, too. Don't want to miss a single one of your posts!....Terry

  35. Bonnie, I nearly cried when I saw these treasures that these dear ladies had passed on to you. They were wise; they knew you'd take good care of them and treasure them.

  36. For me that was a goose bump story! How fabulous.

  37. sue sullivan4:25 PM EDT

    Beautiful! So nice of these ladies to gift these quilts to someone who knows and cares about them! and so nice to share the story about each quilt. i am all bleary eyed.

  38. Anonymous12:25 AM EDT

    Oh My....I was referred to your blog from another quilter and I'm so blessed to have been...What a treasure of memories you have been sent and they've clearly been placed in loving hands that will cherish them and take wonderful care of them!!! I am so blessed to have been directed to your blog!!!!!

  39. Oh Bonnie! This gift perfectly sums up the impact you have had on the quilty world. While the letter certainly made me tear up, I was also so grateful to you for making these quilts (and so many more!) appreciated for what they are. I know there are other families, faced with the same circumstances, who would have sold the quilts at a garage sale or given them to Goodwill, rolling the dice on whether they ended up being cherished or used as a dog bed.
    What a gift to be entrusted with. The quilts appear to be in great shape.
    Thank you!

  40. Hi! Greetings from Finland! I love the story!! :)

  41. I couldn't think of a better person to be a keeper of treasured quilts. They knew...as we all know that you will honor these beautiful quilts and the history that came to you with them. Many thanks for all you do and all you share with us.

  42. That is an amazing story!! How wonderful that these two ladies are entrusting you with their family's quilting heirlooms :)

  43. Wow, that is amazing. I've never read your blog before, but what a great post to stumble in on. It really makes me regret that some of the quilts I have from my grandmother and great grandmother aren't in better shape.

  44. (A little late to comment!) I had tears in my eyes when I read the sisters' note. You've been entrusted with some splendid quilts and wonderful memories.

  45. Beautiful Quilts...beautiful memories! I just LoVe all the gorgeous embroidery stitches on the crazy patch. They must have taught themselves to do that. Out talents all come from somewhere , somebody that cared enough to pass it along. Hopefully they will create more memories and be passed along for many years to come. I too am lucky as I have many of my husbands Grandmothers very old crazy quilts with beautiful stitches too. I treasure everyone of them and have shared them with my girls.
    Have a wonderful week. Hugs Marg.


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