Just a note: you might need a handkerchief for this post.
Thank you to Robin Fonville at Branderwood House for not only sharing these beautiful quilts, but also the touching story behind them. Here is the story of the quilts in her own words:
These were both made by my grandma who died of cancer when I was 3 months old in 1977. The cathedral window was her prized quilt. It was made completely by hand as were all of her quilts. It was also my papa’s favorite quilt. My parents were living with my grandparents at the time of her death while they were building a house, which they ended up selling and stayed with my papa for several more years.
I was how he coped with losing my grandma. He held me, he took me everywhere he went, he did everything with me and loved me so much and I adored him. He died when I was 11 from a sudden heart attack on his farm doing what he loved most which was the best way for him to go. When it came time to go through his things I remember my mom and dad talking about how there were two quilts missing.
My dad was the youngest of 5 and they figured that they went to one of the sisters. About a year later I was at my aunts and she asked me to come to her room and she had the cathedral window quilt on her bed. She told me that she took it the day after he died because it was his favorite and she knew that he would want me to have it. I have cherished it ever since. It is one of the first things I would grab in a house fire. The other quilt, I don’t have but my aunt does, is my grandma’s last quilt that she finished just before she died. A lone star quilt. I’m in the process of attempting to make one in similar colors, but of course its a very slow go 😉
Cathedral windows are a “quilt as you go” type of pattern. They consist of folding fabric, inserting the colored “windows”, folding the fabric back (it curves to form the window frame), stitching it down, and then stitching the windows together–no backing or quilting necessary.
If you are interested in trying your hand at cathedral windows, here are some tutorials/patterns to get you started:
Heirloom Quilt shared by Katie Bowlby from Katie’s Korner
Great Grandmother Diantha’s Quilt (shared by me)
Log Cabin Quilt from Rebecca Verna Birchell shared by Heather Ashby
A Family Quilt Auction in Kentucky shared by Joni Morgan from Sunday Farming Quilter
Irish Chain shared by Marti Dyer-Allison from 52 Quilts
“Crazy Quilt” from Cathy Winer
“Picnic Quilt” from Jennifer Barnes
Cathedral Window Quilt from Robin Fonville
Double Wedding Ring Quilt from Kacey Platky from Little House in Vine Crest Woods
I am looking for quilts that are beautiful, quilts that have great stories, quilts that are funky or fun, quilts that are unique, quilts that were made by your great great grandmother–basically, great vintage quilts. I will be posting on Sundays, and once a month I plan to post a block tutorial based on one of the vintage quilts featured here.