Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Documenting Family Quilts-Part 1

Everyone Needs Quilted Memories in the Family!  

And future generations need us to document these quilts now!

Sarah in Pink!

Teen-agers! Well, what can I say. Some females will go to strange lengths to keep that skin beautiful! But I don't think she went out in public with that goop on her face!  No self-respecting 14 year old would — not even in New Orleans where we lived at the time!

The Lone Star quilt on the wall sets off Sarah's pink glow nicely, don't you think?

The name of the portrait quilt below from 1978 is "Sarah in Pink".  My mother-in-law actually made three of these, one for each child, based on the art work we had sent her. (See the photo of all three below.)

Of course, I had no idea she would make a quilt out of the art work when I sent it. I didn't know anyone could do that.....make a quilt out of a child's artwork!

Oh my, how my daughters are going to love me for these photos. All quilts by my prolific mother-in-law, Wini Waters Alexander, born in Yakima, WA and raised in Seattle.

Christmas Eve 1978 

What's Your Story?

We all have a story about how, why and when we got hooked by the quilting bug. I think  when we record our stories, we are leaving behind a very valuable legacy. I hope you will consider writing down your story for your children or grandchildren!

I Owe it All to My Mother-in-Law!

I never would have gotten bitten by the quilt bug if it weren't for my mother-in-law. It was the above three portrait quilts plus one other quilt (below) made of Sarah's art work from age 2-7 that finally lured me into quilting.

What intrigued me most of all about the above quilt was what a carrier of history it was, a child's history. I was hooked!

Wini was proficient in so many different forms of neeldework. 
I think her first love was clothing

In 1978 she made robes for the whole family, along with those quilts you saw above!

Wini made quilts at every stage of the children's lives!  
I'll be showing you more in future posts.

I knew I had photos somewhere of my youngest daughter (Lori) taken about 1977 with two of the doll quilts Wini had made. Finally found them!

Pink Medallion doll quilt ( see above) was lost shortly after Lori received it in 1977. 

I reluctantly allowed Lori to take this precious new birthday gift (above) to her friend's house that day just across the street. It never came back and this is the only photo I have of it. Fortunately I snapped the photo just before she left the house that day. The friend's mama could not find it when I called the next morning. She claimed she hadn't even seen it. I was so upset. The two little girls had stayed home the whole afternoon so it couldn't have been left somewhere else.  I always suspected her little friend might have squirreled it away somewhere to play with later, as little children will sometimes do.  I hope some day it shows up in someone's antique doll quilt collection!  Alas, Wini did not sign her doll quilts like she did all her other quilts.

Above is another one of Wini's birthday gift's to Lori. I confess, I had a very hard time allowing her to play with this one. Each fan is trimmed in lace.

Here's Lori some 30 years later ready for a 2010 Halloween party, black wig and all!

And below a photo prepping for her wedding.  Though she doesn't make quilts (yet), she is a graphic artist!

My son's only daughter --and our only granddaughter -- in my lap with our eldest daughter looking on as her sister preps for her big day. My granddaughter is now learning to sew, thanks to her own mother and Girl Scouts.  In fact, she surprised Lori and made the Ring Pillow for the wedding!

"I'll give the baby Fan Quilt to Lori some day," I told myself those many years ago...."when she has her first baby."  It will be a lovely "baby presentation" quilt.

No baby yet but plenty of time for she just got married in April here on the island.

They are going to make GREAT parents! They already take on the nieces and nephews for several days at a time.

Our wedding day 1968!

Loren, Gary's father, is on the right side of the photo. Wini, Gary's mother, on the left side of the photo. My mother is on the right side of the photo with Loren. Frankly, my wedding was very simple. I did not even set a color scheme, yet both mothers showed up in the same color! The wedding was outdoors in a friend's lovely backyard that had just been re-landscaped with a bubbling waterfall added.

As I uploaded my wedding photo onto the blog, I got to remembering my search for my wedding dress. I found it in a bridal shop in Pasadena, CA that carried used wedding dresses. I don't know if I ever told my daughters this story for I didn't keep the dress. At least five more college friends wore it after I in a space of three years!  I don't remember now who was the last one to wear it, but it led a good long life.

Lori (above) found her dress at a Cancer Fund raising Auction. Her wedding ceremony took place in a wonderful historic church here on the island. It has perfect acoustics, no microphone is ever needed no matter what the event.

Sarah (above-my eldest) found her dress used on eBay so they both carried on the tradition.  (We'd all three rather have money to spend on books than clothes.) Sarah also got married outdoors like Gary and I.

My mother was married in a suit on Easter Sunday 1942.  Pearl Harbor had already been bombed. How quickly their world changed. Yet how much more the world has changed since even those days of crisis in the early 40s!


Karen Alexander


  1. Thanks for sharing the wonderful family memories....I just love the old photos and as always the quilts....and the love that goes into them

  2. I sure enjoyed this post. It brought back a lot of memories of how important Grandmothers are whether they quilt or not. Also, I loved the wedding photos. My mother wore a turquoise dress with covered buttons when she married my father in 1946.

  3. That is a beautiful posting, Karen. I love the wonderful family stories and remembrances.

  4. Thanks, Joanne, for stopping by. A blog is so helpful in disciplining myself to write! EVentually I'll write about some of the quilts on Mother's side of the family that I know about.