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Sharing Our Quilts Sunday Rob and Cheryl

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    Sharing Our Quilts Sunday Rob and Cheryl

    As I have shared here before, I am a fourth-generation quilter. It’s possible that quilting may even go back further in my family, but I can only verify that my maternal great-grandmother was a quilter as I heard stories from my mother about her work. So on my first day of sharing, I’d like to give everyone a brief history of how my family was shaped by the fabric arts.

    Of course, referring to it as “fabric arts” would have been too hi-falutin’ for my great-grandmother. Lola Broster2.jpg
    Lola Adella (Wade) Broster was born in the southeastern Illinois river community of Grayville on July 30, 1880. She was a farmer’s wife, working in the fields alongside her husband, Charles. She had four children. Vera, Harry, Grace and Mary Maxine, who was my grandmother.

    Unfortunately, I don’t know of any of her quilts that have survived. They would have been “useful” quilts, meaning they were made to keep the cold southern Illinois winters at bay. Like most women of her time, she rarely used store-bought fabrics, relying instead of feed sacks and clothing scraps to make her quilts.

    My grandmother, Mary Maxine Broster, was born on September 25, 1913. My grandfather, John W. Ridens, was a dashing young man almost 18 years her senior when they met. He was a veteran of the American Expeditionary Force in World War I, and I remember seeing a picture of him in his uniform. He was a dashing, handsome young man. Like her mother's quilts Grandma’s quilts were also of the “useful” variety and were made from whatever was available.

    I never knew my great-grandmother, as I was born just about a year or so before she died in 1965. However, I have deeply fond memories of my grandmother.
    Grandma Ridens was a quiet, soft-spoken woman, although she did have a temper at times. I remember once when my grandfather, who could best be described as “salty,” was complaining about something saying “G-D this” and “G-D that.” Suddenly, my grandmother looked at him and said “G-D, G-D, G-D. That’s all you ever say.” I can clearly remember the shock I felt at the first time I ever heard her cuss, because it was so rare.

    Grandma also had a streak of vanity. Grandpa was mowing the yard one day when he backed the mower over his foot. He had a severe cut on his big toe, which would have to be amputated. He was sitting in the car waiting for my grandmother to take him to the doctor. Where was she? In the house, refusing to leave until she could put on her makeup. He later said “I was sitting in the car with my foot bleeding like crazy and she had to put on her G-D makeup.”

    My grandmother, great Aunt Vera and family friend Lillian Siegert often held old-fashioned “quilting bees” which my mother also attended. I don’t really remember them that well, but I do remember going to a few with Mom. I know there were other women involved as well, but I can’t remember any of them.

    The only quilt I know of in existence that Grandma made now belongs to my sister. It was a Grandmother’s Flower Garden. Grandma has planned to make each of us a quilt, but only completed this one before her untimely death in 1979.

    Grandma's Flower Garden.jpg
    Even though I don’t have one of her quilts, I do have part of one. When Grandma died, Mom and my aunts and uncle took one of her Grandmother’s Flower Garden quilts (she must have really liked that pattern) and cut it up, giving each of her grandchildren a section. Here is mine.
    Partial GFG.jpg

    I don’t show this next photo because of the completely adorable head at the bottom of the photo (although he is cute as a bug’s ear), but to provide some continuity to our story. The photo was taken at my grandparent’s house in December of 1968 at Christmastime. It is also one of the few photos that all of my family are in.

    Family Picture.JPG

    This is where my memories of Grandma’s quilting took place. My grandparent’s house was not that big, but I can remember the living room (where we all were in this picture) being completely engulfed with a huge quilt frame and all those women sitting around talking, laughing and occasionally getting some sewing done. Just as an aside, in just over six months after this picture was taken, my father would be dead and my mother would have the unenviable task of raising those four children on her own.

    Mom was always either quilting, sewing or doing some type of crafty endeavor. One of the earliest things I can remember her doing was this towel, with the handprints of my brother and sisters appliqued onto it. When Mom made this I’m not sure, but given the size of our hands I have to think it couldn’t have been too many years after the family photo was taken.

    Of course, Mom also quilted. Some of you may remember me posting this photo, but I will show it again for those who may have missed it. Mom made a variation of this quilt for all of us kids for Christmas in 1996. Each of her quilts was hand-quilted.

    Mom's Quilt.jpg
    Mom also branched out into other types of quilting. I can remember her doing Redwork as well as applique, both of which she got very good at. Sadly, I don’t have any of those quilts.

    For a time Mom was into doll making. After she died, each of us went through her things and took what we wanted. I remember her making this doll, and while it didn’t hold any particular meaning to me, I wanted it because she had made it. It sits in our living room.

    Mom's Doll.jpg
    For some reason, Mom also went through what I call her “rabbit period.” One year for Christmas she gave each of us two rabbits that she had made. Here are ours.

    The Rabbits.jpg
    After Mom died, Cheryl wanted some more things to go along with them, so she took this pillow and the other rabbit at the top of the picture.
    Rabbit Pillow.jpg

    So there you have the history of my family’s love of quilting along four generations. The remainder of our journey won’t be this detailed, and most (if not all) of it will be items made by Cheryl, but I know I’m correct when I say she has been just as influenced by Mom’s love of quilting as I have. The very first quilt that Cheryl ever made was given to Mom as a gift. Mom hung it in her sewing room with pride. It wasn’t Cheryl’s best work, but my Mom loved it as if it was a museum-quality piece.

    More tomorrow!

    Last edited by Rob the HOAQ; October 4, 2020, 10:03 AM.
    There's nothing more directly linked to who we are than the fabric that we make.
    --Ken Burns

    Thank you for sharing your history of quilting in your family. Delightful stories and great quilts, doll and rabbits!!! What treasures you have!!!


      This is awesome, Rob. It’s wonderful to hear about your quilting roots and see faces and their quilts. Thank you so much!

      Scottie Mom Barb


        I loved reading about your family's history of quilting. I'm glad to see some of their work is now in your hands and you are continuing the journey by adding your pieces. Look forward to tomorrow's post!
        If you could choose to be anything choose kindness.

        Visit my Flickr page, sewing and cakes![email protected]/


          Hello Rob, I see from your writing that apart from loving patchwork, the love transmited by the women in your family, you are an incredible writer and you have magnificently detailed the dayly life of those years. Thank you for showing us some of your family treasures and we look forward to seeing some of Cheryl´s fantastic work and some of her latest quilts


            So interesting, loved reading it. You have writing skills also


              Lovely quilting history. I was sitting to have my first tea of the day when I started reading. Gave me a feeling of nostalgia. When I was little we used to visit my great grandmother ( in Massilion Ohio ) She had a sun porch of violets and quilts. I think this write up is wonderful to compliment your pictures. Well done and thank you.


                Thank you so much for the history & background & how you are continuing the quilting legend in your family. I loved reading about the generations back & how very talented the women in your life were. I'm looking forward to seeing the beauties that Cheryl has made.


                  I enjoyed reading your history, fantastic memories.


                    Beautiful stories of the beautiful women in your life. Their love of quilting shines through your written story all these years later. Their gift is your gift. The quilts, bunnies, and doll are true treasures. I'm glad you are now the keeper.

                    Thanks for a wonderful day!


                      Thanks for sharing. Brings back loads of memories for me just reading it. We had many Christmas pictures like the one you shared, also with 4 kids, but I only had sisters.


                        Interesting background info. on your family's quilting. Love the rabbits. The flower garden quilt is lovely. It sounds like your dad died young. My maternal grandmother became a widow at a young age; my mom was 7 when her dad died. She was the only girl with 3 brothers who used to harass her. They burned the hair off one of her dolls & frequently made her life miserable. They lived on a farm in rural Ill. I have one quilt that was passed down. I'm not sure if my grandma or grt. grandma made it. It's white with red hand embroidered names on it. Thanks for sharing.


                          Thank you for sharing. Our histories are worthy of sharing. I think my kids at school heard more family stories than my own kids. Of course, they weren't interested in hearing about the olden days. lol, I'm trying to make sure that my grands hear the stories about their great great grands that I know.
                          “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” Maya Angelou


                            Thanks, Rob. Do your sisters quilt as well?
                            No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.


                              Joy, he was 39 when he died. According to his autopsy report, which was lost over the years, he had a heart attack, but a neurosurgeon friend of mine said, when I described what happened, said it sounded more like an aneurysm to him. Dad came home at lunch and told Mom that he had a terrible headache. Mom tried to get him to stay home, but he wouldn't do it. When he got back to work (he was a mechanic at a farm dealership) he was climbing a tractor getting ready to work on and fell off, dead before he hit the ground.

                              There's nothing more directly linked to who we are than the fabric that we make.
                              --Ken Burns