Friday, September 25, 2009

Here is the third one of the old quilts made by my grandmother, Ruby, in the 1960's. It is a Dresden Plate Diadem Setting. This quilt is in the poorest condition of the three. We plan to have it repaired eventually. You can see some of the damage in the following pictures.

The biggest problem for this old quilt is that the edge stitching around the shapes has come out. Also, some of the pieces seem to have been ripped off completely. Still the quilt is bright and vibrant. I see a couple of the fabrics from dresses my mother made for me as a little girl in this quilt as well as the other two posted yesterday and the day before.

Some stories about my grandmother's life are in the earlier blogs.

The homesteads in Toole County, Montana, where my grandparents, great grandparents and great aunt lived, were miles apart, because families were homesteading whole sections of land (640 acres). One day Ruby rode out on her pony to visit neighbors who had been expected at a gathering in town the day before. She took her little dog, Gip, with her. No one had seen the neighbors for a while. When she arrived, there was no one around the farm at all and the stock had not been fed. All were thirsty for water and hungry for food. She went up on the porch of the house and knocked at the door.

No one answered. She knocked again and again but no one came. She went over to a window and looked in to see what she could. It was hard to see through the dirty glass but what she could make out was a big shock to her. She ran to her pony, jumped up on her and galloped as fast as she could home. It appeared to her that everyone in the house was dead. There were several bodies in the room she had looked into through the glass. When the authorities sorted it out, the father of the house appeared to have shot his wife and five children, then, turned the gun on himself. Ruby had known them all.

There were hard times on the high prairies, always. The wind blew constantly and, at times, fiercely. Ruby said many times, "Everything blew away....." The families, first, built a house on the land and made the required improvements for ownership, gradually. During the first five years, while they were "proving up" on the homesteads, they lived in Shelby during the winter. As soon as the Allens could afford it, they moved to Portland, Oregon, where some of the Steele family lived. Ruby couldn't get her laundry dry, she said, so they moved up to Spokane, where the climate was drier. She liked Spokane very much and it is a beautiful spot, still, today.

Well, I'm going to go stitch another memory or two into a quilt. Happy Stitching!

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