The feedsack quilt my great-grandmother never finished (but I did)
What to do with a family heirloom that had been sitting in a trunk for 60 years?
The unfinished hexagon charm quilt top sat in the family trunk for years, decades.
This 85-inch-by-76-inch masterpiece wasn’t exactly forgotten, but in just two generations, we’d collectively forgotten who made it. Was it Karolina, the Swedish ancestor who immigrated to the U.S. in 1893 and died in 1932, or was it her daughter, Esther, a seamstress who died on Easter in 1959?
I don’t remember when my late grandmother, first showed me this artifact, but I remember its smell. Musty and acrid, like rotten mothballs.
The stitches were sturdy, but I wasn’t sure it would survive the washing machine. But what I saw wasn’t a family object that belonged in a trunk. I saw a UFO — quilter’s parlance for unfinished object — that belonged on a bed.
I started quilting when my youngest son was born, in 2010, the same year I started The Feminist Kitchen. I’ve long loved sewing, a hobby that both my mother and grandmother hated, which is why this quilt top from our foremothers sat unfinished for so long.