January 10, 2019

Ancestor Quilt

So, as I mentioned in the post about all the quilt fun last month in Melrose, MA, the library hosted an exhibit of quilts inspired by the historical quilt I've been researching.  The exhibit was cleverly titled “Red, White, & Words,” referring to the antique red and white quilt that was inscribed with 222 names of Melrose-area residents at about 1897.


I figured I wasn’t going to have time to make a quilt alongside all the prep I was doing for the exhibit and lecturing and traveling, but then an idea did just pop into my head…. you know how it goes.... and it wasn’t a terribly difficult idea….. 

So I made a tiny 3-block version of the Melrose quilt, inscribed with the names on my own family tree.  It was small, easy to piece, and tied, and I did indeed get it finished and submitted in time.  I even managed to find a red on cream polka dot fabric for the back, just like on the original!

The center block has myself and my husband in the middle, our two children on the sides, and my father and mother at top and bottom.

The top block connects to my father's name.  His brother is at the bottom, and their parents, my grandparents, are in the center.  My great-grandparents are on the left and top.  On the right my grandmother's siblings are memorialized, all but one of whom were killed, as were my grandparents, in the Holocaust. 

The bottom block connects to my mother's name.  Her parents, my grandparents, are in the center.  My great-grandparents are at top and bottom.  My great-great-grandparents are left and right. 

It was a surprisingly powerful feeling to write my ancestors’ names on a quilt!  They are now recorded in a way that is very near and dear to my heart.




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