Monday, April 20, 2009

Grandma's Kitchen

Grandma's Kitchen
54" x 69"

I designed this quilt right after I finished teaching my "Apron Club" quilt. I had agreed to teach the aprons on a monthly basis over a years time, I was actually worried about filling the class because I didn't know if there were others out there who loved aprons as much as I did. (at that time, you couldn't find apron patterns or the apron theme anywhere!) I felt pretty alone in my love of aprons and all things vintage because back then there were no blogs either. You can imagine my delight and surprise to see so MANY women from all over sign up for my class.
It was so fun to meet once a month to applique and talk about our grandmas. I would bring many of the aprons from my collection and many of my students would bring show and tell which consisted of photos of their grandmas and an apron or two and some other things that once belonged to them. So many of the items and conversations were centered around memories of their grandmas which obviously led to the subject of their grandmas kitchens.
When the year was nearly over, my students expressed the desire to keep meeting (we had really bonded as a group and formed friendships- we called ourselves the apron club, which is how I named the quilt) They asked if I would design another quilt and continue teaching it on a monthly basis. That is when the idea of my "Applique Clubs" came about. I started a new club with a new quilt which of course was the obvious choice of "Grandma's Kitchen". I still design and teach that way. I only teach each of my quilts once and I design them as I go along throughout the club. Of course I know what the quilt will look like, but my students don't- they find out that day when they show up for class and pick up their kit. That's when they know which block they will be working on and what it looks like. I find that the element of surprise appeals to them and I really enjoy designing this way. My clubs last for about a year (give or take a few months) and when the class is over, the pattern for that quilt is available on the market.
I am so grateful to my students whom I consider friends. I love meeting new women when each applique club starts and continue to enjoy those who join every club that I offer and are "veterans" of my clubs. They could probably teach my designs better than I can and often help me when there are so many students that I can't get to at once.
When I designed this quilt, the first block I did was the old mixer just like my moms and grandma's. It's the kind that I learned to use as a girl. I added a green jade-ite bowl to the one on my block for an extra punch of color to go with the black and white.

I really love the "kitch" style which is very 1950's and is how I remember both of my grandmothers kitchens. It was fun to add some of the things that I remember and add the details with embroidery. I added the task and day of the week embroidery to represent the floursack dishtowels that were so popular back then. Neither of my grandmothers hands and eyes are steady enough any longer to make these, but my mother still does and in fact, she embroidered me a set for my birthday last year. They are days of the week (my favorite) with runaway dishes. She also made a set for each of her other daughters and each daughter-in-law along with grandaughters and grandaughters-in-law. WOW! My mother is amazing.
Of course I put an apron in the quilt- our grandmas couldn't do without one and neither could this quilt!! I added the hot pads along with the crochet one because they used to make hot pads with left over fabric in all different shapes and designs. Patterns for these hot-pads could be found in the paper, magazines or even in the embroidery pattern envelopes. They were often made for charity bazaars, gifts and of course- their own kitchens. I have a collection of these also in my kitchen and especially have several crochet ones. I really like the red & white, green & white, yellow & white, etc..
I added a few other things that I remember from their kitchens that we don't really use anymore. They are the depression glass hand juicer, floursifter, eggbeater and wire dishrack. And don't forget the jello mold- we used to use those all the time for Sunday dinner or church socials when I was a girl.
Do you remember the tins for flour, sugar? They had such cute floral patterns on them. Some were decorated by adding decals. Everything for the kitchen back then was all about bright and cheerful colors with a lot of black in floor patterns and small appliances.
Those were the days when the kitchen really was the heart of the home. Everyone would gather there to visit and of course-there was also a lot of cooking and baking going on in both of my grandma's kitchens! That's where I would always find them. I made a block that you can write your own grandmas recipe on the card next to the recipe file.
I also added a few scriptures here and there because I love scriptures and there are a few that remind me of my grandmas and kitchens.
You can put whatever you want in the quart canning jar- I chose fabric that reminded me of canned peaches! My grandmothers always canned everything! My mother canned whatever my Dad grew in his garden and fruit trees and that was A LOT! When we were old enough, we all helped and I still do it today and I am teaching my children to continue on the tradition. You can't buy anything that even comes close to that home-canned taste!The lemon-ade pitcher and cakestand remind me of all the fancy dishes they had in their cupboards and used for entertaining. They NEVER made a cake in a 9x12. That just would not be presentable!
I added the mixing bowls because they had so many different colors and styles back then that I love!! The yelloware bowl with the blue stripe is just like the one that my Mom learned to cook with and my grandma gave it to me!! I keep it on my kitchen shelf along with many other vintage finds. The pyrex bowl at the top of the stack is just like the one that my Mom got as a wedding gift. They came in a set of 3 and had lids on them. Yes- I love pyrex too!
Can you see the block with the tin cookie cutter? My grandma had a lot of these different shaped cutters with red or green handles. The one I drew is just like one my Mom had and my sisters and I used as girls when baking.

We used to gather a lot at my grandma's house's for dinner. I have lots of wonderful memories of Aunts, Uncles and cousins being there too. I also added a cookie jar because that was the first place my brothers, sisters, cousins and I would go when we went in the kitchen!What about your memories of your grandma or mother and her kitchen? Would you like to share? Please add your comments! I would love to hear from you.
I added scallops and ric-rac on the border of the quilt because it looked feminine and vintage. I hope that you enjoy making this quilt and it brings back a lot of good memories for you. I would love to see your blocks or your quilt when complete!

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