A vintage Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt

This is a variation of a Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilt that my mother-in-law’s grandmother made before my MIL was born. This queen-size quilt is one of my MIL’s most cherished possessions. It was a treat to see and study it up close.

I compared the fabrics in the quilt with my fabric dating guides published by AQS. I also looked at the block construction, quilting and binding. This quilt was made from old clothing, curtains, tablecloths, sheets, dishtowels and whatever else was available at the time. Some of the scraps dated to the early 1900s, but most were from the 1920s – 1940s. The majority of the blocks were probably made by my MIL’s grandmother, but the quilt was most likely completed by someone else.

Why do I think this?

The GFG blocks are two different sizes. Most of the blocks were made by the same skilled quilter, with fabrics carefully chosen to coordinate and precisely stitched together. The remaining blocks were made from larger hexagons with random color placement and not as precise hand-stitching. It could be that my MIL’s grandmother made the blocks over many years and the larger blocks were made toward the end of her life when her hand-stitching was less precise. However, I really think someone else made the remaining blocks due to (1) differences in stitching and (2) some fabrics dating to the late 1940’s/early 1950’s in the quilt when compared to my AQS guides. The primary quilt maker passed away in the early 1940s and probably left an uncompleted quilt top. To me, it appears as if someone else pieced additional blocks from scraps and added those blocks to get the top to a certain size, then hand quilted it and had the purple binding applied/sewn by machine. The backing fabric is a single flat sheet.

Vintage quilts are always a mystery and all we can do is look at the clues to try to uncover the story the quilt is trying to tell us.