Monday, September 7, 2015

Quilt Blocks From My Great Grandmother

My mom recently spent a few days with her sister. One of their projects was to sort through some quilt blocks left to them by my great grandmother, Eunice Fincher. We called her Mama Fincher. My mom has two sisters and Mama Fincher wanted each of them to have a quilt made by her.

We are not sure when these blocks were made but suspect they were much later in her life, because of both the quality of work and the origin of some of the fabrics. My mom recognized two of them as fabric she had purchased with her own money as a teenager to make skirts.

Each block is huge, measuring 18". They are all hand sewn, at least for the piecing. There is some machine sewing, where scraps were lovingly sewn together so there would be a big enough piece of fabric to make the block. They did not have much money and made the most of everything they had.

Do you know the name of this block? I did a little bit of research but have had no luck in finding a good source for identifying it. I know the curved part alone is called "orange peel" but I wasn't sure if the combination with the corner squares had its own unique name as well.

Mama Fincher made enough blocks so that each sister received 19 or 20 blocks. My mom and her sister completed the job of sorting through all the blocks and dividing them into three piles. Mom then enlisted me to help her decide what to do with her set of blocks.

After thinking about it for a while, I thought the best plan of action was to stay as true to the original intention with these blocks as possible. My great grandmother made the blocks and now my grandmother's treadle sewing machine will sew them together. I considered adding some sashing (a strip of fabric between the blocks) to help them go together better since they are not perfectly square, nor are they all exactly the same size. We're going to try it without that first since I am fairly certain that is how the original project would have been finished.

The machine was in good working order not too long ago, and just needs her belt put back in place and she can go some more. My hope is that my mom will sew the blocks together with this machine. I am very fortunate to have the machine living at my house while my mom lives just a few miles away. When the quilt top is together, we will layer it and big stitch hand quilt it. At least that is the plan for now. There is no deadline so we will take our time, enjoying the special job of finishing a quilt that was begun many, many years ago.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday with Lee over at Freshly Pieced.


  1. Hi Debra,
    The last quilt my grandmother made in 2002 as a Christmas gift to me was also this pattern - she was 86 years old and had a stroke a few months after. Anyway, I found the pattern was originally called Rose Dream and was published in the Kansas City Star in 1930. It is also known by several other names. Here's a link - scroll down about half way of the page.

    Thanks for sharing the blocks - I immediately recognized the pattern as the one my grandmother had used.
    ~Melisa Morrison

  2. What a wonderful treasure!!! I cant wait to see what you do with them.

  3. According to my book, it's called Endless Chain, The Broken Square, Lover's Knot, or Cactus Rose, and is a Nancy Cabot block. It's pretty by any name!

  4. These are lovely, real treasure and so special!

  5. I learnt to sew on a machine just like this, 65 years ago here in Mum was a dressmaker.


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