My sisters (including my in-law sisters), my Mom and I had a 5 inch charm exchange last year with the plan to bring completed quilts to our family reunion in July. Sadly, Mom was the only one who finished hers. It is gorgeous. She used a disappearing nine patch pattern for hers.
I had laid out so many designs on the design table and couldn’t make anything work for me. In frustration, I put all the squares in a plastic grocery sack and pulled them out randomly and sewed them in long strips. (I teach a private preschool in my home. That is all the fun back drop items you see on the walls.)
It took forever and I didn’t even use all the charms. I was sewing late one night waiting for my daughter to come home. She wanted to talk when she got home and we stayed up quite late. We decided it was the ugliest quilt ever so we thought of old ugly names to call it. About 1 a.m. Gertrude was the winning name. (No offense to anyone with that name.) I tried to nickname her Gertie, but Miss America said I couldn’t nickname a quilt. Gertrude stuck.
Then I hung Gertrude’s strips on a hanger and put her downstairs for a few more months. This week I brought Gertrude upstairs to my sewing room and randomly took the strips and sewed them together. No choices, no matching anything! Gertrude is comprised of many types and qualities of fabric – even a few stretchy ones and some old ones from my Grandma M. And yes, quite a few UGLY prints. The charms are not all 5 inches square because there are very few nested seams. I am going to have to add partial charms to quite a few ends to make the side even. Gertrude ended up being a California King sized quilt…can you believe it?!
I am home alone with a nasty cold,,,so yes, my bee pillow pet and a baby doll are helping me hold up Gertrude. You can see the non-nested seams. Perfection was not an option on this quilt. My Great Aunt P (whom I love dearly) gave me a set of flowered sheets when I graduated and moved off to college. I am going to use them for the backing of Gertrude.
Even more amazing to me is….I LOVE Gertrude. It feels like a big hug from my family when I hold her. All my sisters live in different states and I rarely get to see them. It is fun to see the charms and know who they came from and what was originally made from the fabric. I had a great time telling my family the history behind some of the charms. I gathered my courage to do GSP (grocery sack piecing) from a gorgeous quilt on my Grandpa G’s bed. It is a tumbler quilt and is as random as Gertrude. I love to sit on his bed and look at and feel all the fabrics and wonder who made it and where all the charms came from. There is no quilt label and he doesn’t know details. Gertrude will have a label…not because I expect her to be an heirloom…I just want my family to remember her story. Thanks to my sisters and mom for sharing all the love that is pieced into this quilt.