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Sharing Our Quilts Monday Rob and Cheryl

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    Sharing Our Quilts Monday Rob and Cheryl

    My apologies for not having this up sooner, but a basset hound who shall remain nameless wouldn't let me out of my recliner this morning, demanding (and getting) control over precious lap space.

    Before going onto today's show, I wanted to post a couple of photos that I had planned to put in yesterday, but due to the 10-photo limit imposed here, I had to delete them. The first photo is one of the few I've seen that has my grandparents, my great Aunt Vera and family friend Lillian (in that order from the left in the photo), who made up the core of the quilting bees I mentioned. I don't know when this picture was taken, but my guess is probably either Thanksgiving or Christmas. I'm also not sure where it was taken, given that my grandparents did not have a bay window, and neither did Aunt Vera. It might be Lillian's house.
    Grandma Grandpa Aunt Vera and Lillian.JPG

    The second photo is one I've posted here before. It was the last quilt Mom ever made, and in a sense, draws her story to a close. As far as I know, this was the only quilt she ever entered in a show, and it won Best of Show. My mother was never the type of person to brag, but you could tell, especially when she got her picture in the paper, she was rightfully proud.

    Now, on with the show.

    What is is that draws us to a particular hobby or interest? I would be hard-pressed to say what it was that drew Cheryl into sewing first and then quilting. I know that before Mom died, Cheryl and I went to the quilt museum in Paducah, although too much time has passed for me to remember why we chose that location above any other. We wanted to take Mom, but she had become too ill to travel, and in fact would be gone in just a few months. It wasn't until the year after Mom passed that we attended our first quilt show in Paducah (a habit interrupted only by the COVID-19 pandemic which cancelled this year's show). When we went to the museum, we were both impressed with the quality of the items on display, but I was more impressed with the historic quilts, some going as far back as the early 1800s. Looking up close at the stitching work and handcrafting that those women put into their work opened my eyes to not only the quality workmanship inherent in those quilts, but the artistic flair that was, most likely, a side effect to the main purpose of the quilt, which was to keep one warm during a cold pioneer winter.

    I can tell you, however, exactly what it was that drew Cheryl to one of her favorite, and most-cherished memories. When she was four years old, Cheryl had to undergo an emergency appendectomy. An emergency surgery at any age is a harrowing experience, but for a four-year-old, it is doubly traumatic. In order to help her through the recovery process, Cheryl's mother bought her a doll. A Raggedy Ann doll to be exact. Cheryl was immediately drawn to the doll. She remembers carrying it around with her every where she went. She clung to that doll so tightly, that eventually it fell apart, no matter how often her mom would repair it. Finally, it was also nothing but a distant memory.

    Fast forward to a couple of years after Cheryl and I were married. She saw an advertisement for one of those ceramic tchotchkes that often appear in the back of the Parade magazine in the Sunday paper. It was Raggedy Ann. She showed it to me and told me the story about the surgery and the doll and how she grew to love it.

    Being the astute husband that I am (and having no earthly idea at the time what I was going to get Cheryl for Christmas), I searched high and low trying to find a Raggedy Ann doll that I could surprise her with. We were married in 1996, just about the time when the internet was taking off, but before shopping on the web became ubiquitous. I was having no luck until I happened to be in the local K-Mart one day looking for something else. Walking by the toy section, I noticed the last doll they had on their shelf. Needless to say, I grabbed it.

    Cheryl couldn't believe that I found the doll, because over the years she had looked and wasn't able to find one. Finally, she had let it go from her memory.

    For those of you unaware, Raggedy Ann was created in 1915 by a writer named Johnny Gruelle. Gruelle was born in Arcola, Illinois, which is in the east-central part of the state. After I surprised Cheryl with the doll, we discovered that every year Arcola held a festival in honor of Gruelle that brought in people worldwide. Apparently, Raggedy Ann is a phenomenon among Japanese. The first time we went to the festival we noticed there were dozens of Japanese women dressed like Raggedy Ann. It was fascinating. In addition to the festival, there was a small museum in town that housed many of Gruelle's artificats.

    I took this photo of the museum on one of our visits there. I can't find our other photos of the trips we've taken.

    The festival is no longer held, and the museum that hosted much of Gruelle's artifacts, donated by one of his granddaughters, is long-closed, but going every year, along with the ease of shopping online, soon brought this about.
    Rags 1.jpg
    This is at our front door.

    Rags 2.jpg
    On the quilt rack where Mom's gift to me hangs.

    Rags 3.jpg
    In her sewing room.

    That just scratches the surface of her collection. Much of it remains in storage because we just don't have enough room to showcase everything we have. Plus, some of the items are put in cabinets to keep them from the paws of that unnamed basset hound. We lost one of our Christmas ornaments during the move.

    As you might expect, we would start collecting Raggedy Ann fabric. Here is just part of the collection, mainly purchased in Arcola, although some of it also came from a place called RaggedyLand, which is your one-stop shop for all things Raggedy Ann.
    As much as Cheryl loves Raggedy Ann, and as much as she's done with the fabric, she only has made one quilt. She took some novelty fabric along with some coordinating colors and fussy-cut the doll photos to make this one. It was one of the earlier quilts she had made. It also is significant in that this is the only quilt that Cheryl has hand-quilted.
    Raggedy Ann.jpg
    That's all for today. I promise in the days to come there will be many more quilts and a little less story, but given the importance of Raggedy Ann in her life, I felt it necessary to highlight this.

    More tomorrow!

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

    I enjoyed this, Rob. I love Raggedy Ann & Andy. My Mom made me a set that were 36” tall one year for Christmas. I think there was a McCalls pattern for them in various sizes. They were passed along for another generation to love them. Cheryl has quite a nice collection. Thank you for sharing..

    Scottie Mom Barb


      I had a Raggedy Ann, too. Her dress was pink, since I was such a girly girl.

      Thinking about my childhood and my baby dolls. I did have a Chatty Cathy, of course, one day I decided to give her a bath. It didn't work out well! After Howard and I got married, Dad found one of those Parade ads with a porcelain Chatty Cathy. Needless to day, I got a Chatty Cathy for Christmas that year. At least this one won't get a sore throat from having a bath. I did learn something from the experience.
      “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” Maya Angelou


        My mom had bought my son and daughter the dolls when they were young. A Raggedy Andy for him and a Raggedy Ann for her. Both were about 36" in length. They wore them out!

        Not sure if there was actually an "Andy" version or if was Ann wearing pants.


          Loved your story. I had Raggedy Ann when growing up and both my kids had one, Raggedy Ann for Jennifer and Andy for Jim. I love the quilt.

          Katrina, I had a Chatty Cathy as well. My friend and I sat in the front yard one day and kept pulling the string to see how long it would take for her to say "I Love You". It was a contest between the two of us. Needless to say she didn't talk too much after that!


            Thanks for sharing, Rob. I well remember those dolls, although I never had one myself.


              Thanks for sharing, Funny because I have a raggedy Ann and Andy sleeping bag that I have carried around with me. I still have it after many military moves. It's stored in a bin but have never been able to part with it. Perfect condition.


                Thanks for more history/background of your family. That's a great story about Cheryl's love & collection of Raggedy Ann dolls. What a treat that must have been to visit Arcola during the festival. Her quilt is absolutely precious! I love the fussy cutting she did for each block and especially am happy she hand quilted it.


                  Wonderful story and history. Such precious memories. Thanks for sharing.
                  Rainy days are for quilting. Thank goodness I live in a rainforest! 😁


                    Thanks again for the story to go along with your quilts! I enjoyed reading it.
                    For each of my 3 granddaughters' first birthday, I made them Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls.

                    Adelaide's Raggedy Ann & Andy 9-14 (1).JPG

                    Andy became one granddaughter's favorite toy. He went everywhere with her. The Halloween that she was 3 yrs old, my daughter made her a Raggedy Ann costume and she carried Andy with her for trick or treat. My daughter and her boyfriend both wore red yarn wigs and my daughter wore a blue dress and white apron. So they were the Raggedy Family that year. Below are pictures of when my daughter was Raggedy Ann one year for Halloween and her daughter as Ann.

                    20171102_185929.jpg daughter 30 yrs ago IMG_4224.jpg granddaughter
                    Last edited by Dove; October 5, 2020, 09:37 PM.
                    ~ Carol from PA


                      Originally posted by JCY View Post
                      Thanks for sharing, Rob. I well remember those dolls, although I never had one myself.
                      Neither did I Joy!
                      Blessed are the children of the piecemakers for they shall inherit the quilts!



                        Cheryl made herself a costume a few years ago to wear to work for Halloween. She won a prize for it at the office. Unfortunately, it's among the pictures I can't find. You daughter and granddaughter look great! Love the dolls!

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


                          I never had a Raggedy Ann doll as a child, but I remember sewing both Ann and Andy when I was in high school. As I recall, officially licensed dolls had a heart with "I love you" on their torso. The McCall's pattern included a transfer to embroider the heart on the doll's torso. I wonder what ever happened to those dolls I made.


                            A beautiful love story about the dolls and as they say the rest is history. I love them displayed with the loved quilt too!