Saturday, December 12, 2009

A trip down quilt memory lane

I wrote this up for my friend Trina and then I decided I should blog it. This is history, and having searched high and low, there doesn't appear to be much of anything left that was made in Michigan, whether clothing or quilts. So enjoy!

This is likely the oldest of the family quilts. My Grandma said that this quilt "was around as long as I can remember. It was always on Grandma Saal's bed." The back was pieced together, and old clothes were used to make this. In the closeup you can see the seam on the navy blue square.

Grandma Saal (Mary Ahrens Saal, 1881-1959, number 4 in the picture, half hidden by the girl) was the maker, and this one was tied. It was purely for practical use. Grandma doesn't ever remember Grandma Saal quilting proper, because she didn't have the time. She lived in Sterling Township (now Sterling Heights), MI, and a picture of the house is found here (11 down) though more properly the house should be the Carl and Maria Saal house, since the house pre-dates Grandpa Saal. (Likely the house was built by Carl's brother John, even.)
This next quilt has a definite date of 1921. This one was made by Maria Harder Saal (1841-1922, lady in the black dress in the picture), mother-in-law to Mary Ahrens Saal, for her first great-grandchild Leona Hurttgam Hummel (1921-2009, my Grandma). Grandma's parents were married in April 1921 and she was born in October 1921, so this was made sometime during that time. Likely the fabric was purchased special for this quilt as it all matches, and Maria machine-sewed and hand quilted this one (likely on a New Home sewing machine).

This third quilt dates to the mid to late 1920s, most likely before 1929. It was made by Elsie Saal Daus (1908-1975, number 6 in the picture). This was a doll quilt that Aunt Elsie made for her niece Leona, and it's all machine sewn (once again, on a New Home). It's a wonder that this one ever survived, as not only did Leona's kids use it but her granddaughters as well (which is how I got it).

This fourth quilt comes from the other side of the family. It was made by my grandpa's mother, Helene Rohrbeck Hummel (1886-1973). Due to Grandpa's excellent memory, we know that this quilt is ca 1927. Grandpa was sent out to find the perfect Tulip Tree leaf (aka yellow poplar) for this quilt and then had to trace it for his mother, and he is certain that it was in the first couple years he went to school, so that means 1927-1928. He's sure that it wasn't as late as 1929, because by then he wasn't in the house with his ma as much. This was hand-appliqu├ęd, machine pieced, and hand-quilted, made from cotten sateen. Thanks to Grandpa we know that Aunt Lillian, Aunt Emily, and Aunt Annie (her sisters) all came out to the farm and helped her quilt it. This is from the farm on Moravian Drive, at 15 Mile and Schoenherr.

So there's more than you'd probably ever want to know about my family!