Monday, February 7, 2011

Farmhouse Finds

a colorful handmade quilt

    Warm weather finally graced our little farmstead this weekend. After many days of rain and ice- weather not typical for our area- the warm sunshine was welcoming and energizing.
   Driven outside by the delightful weather, we took this opportunity to begin tackling a rather daunting project: cleaning the big barn/work shop.
   Digging through boxes and bags- many still in storage after one summer's string of damaging storms- not the most favored job for anyone.
   Yet, as we all know, sometimes the best things are found in the most mundane places while doing the most mundane tasks.

a bit more fade, but in fair condition

   Back in the corner amidst boxes, tools and cobwebs- an old trunk was uncovered. My husband's memory fondly recalls the old wooden trunk originally belonging to his grandfather, whom he loved dearly. 
   Over time the trunk came to belong to my husband's parents- at which time his father had it refinished. The strong scent of the varnish was always quite overwhelming, so the trunk was rarely used for anything important.
   After my father-in-law's passing, the trunk came to reside with us. During the damaging storms it was stored away in the barn/work shop and forgotten- until today.

the old trunk, now residing in our farm boy's room

   Opening the old wooden trunk, the strong yet familiar scent of varnish graced our memories. Lifting the upper compartment a discovery was made: old family quilts.
   Contacting my mother-in-law, it seems the quilts were left there since they were only used to move furniture-she knew they were there and did not want them back since she had several old family quilts which were in better condition than these.
   It felt like a holiday- opening each one; seeing the pattern and design of each one. Simplicity born of necessity; the quilts are quite plain- sporting a few stains and tares.
   The kids gathered around the clothesline as my husband and I hung them out (both to air them and to view them). Dazzled by their simple charm, they asked us to determine their history. So we did.
   Recognizing some of the quilting, I contacted my mother-in-law for more details and clarity. It seems these quilts were most likely pieced by my husband's great-grandmother lovingly called "Moony". His grandmother as well as one of his aunts would have most likely been the ones assisting with the assembly and actual quilting; primarily done by a machine "Papa Kelly" had rigged up to run on a train track.
   This quilting was the key for me because this story has been shared in my home several times: you see, I inherited the frame, the tracks, and the antique Singer sewing machine that quilted these quilts.
   Plenty of cleaning was done, but the best part of the day was standing at the kitchen sink seeing my beautiful farmhouse finds gently swaying in the afternoon breeze.



Toyin O. said...

The quilts look really nice:)

simplychele said...

Thank you. We can't wait to see them on a bed:)