Whimsical and Homespun Art Creations with a Little Rural Living Thrown In

Thursday, September 15, 2011

365 Vintage Hummingbirds for a Quilt ~ With The Help of Barbara Brackman

I have to share with you a treasured item that my younger sister recently picked up for me at my Grandma's sale.   She found this box amongst the various items and opened it up.  To her surprise there was a note written in our Great Grandmother's hand that read, "365 Hummingbirds in this box - July 4th, 1940".  She knew that these were something that would be of interest to me, so she purchased them.  I cannot express in words the excitement that I felt being the recipient of these hand sewn treasures.  They are approximately 4 1/4 inches long from point to point and are made from various prints of that time period.  Just breath taking!

I can imagine how wonderful it would be to create a quilt that will be a culmination of Great Grandma's and my handiwork.  The process being more than 70 years in the making!  The only problem with this dream is my lack of quilting knowledge.    I didn't relish the idea of a long search with no results, so I jumped immediately to a quilt historian and author that I have admired for years... Barbara Brackman.  I have been a follower of both her blogs for quite some time now.  You can find them listed under fiber artists on my side bar entitled:  Barbara Brackman Material Culture and her newest blog Civil War Quilts or just click on their names in this post.   She is currently posting the instructions for Civil War Era blocks that I intend to make into a quilt someday with her fabric line inspired from that time period.  I highly recommend reading her blogs even if you are not a quilter.  The history revealed in her posts is some of the best reading around!

So for those that were as intrigued as myself by the little Hummingbirds, the following in quotes is the info that Barbara Brackman was kind enough to send to me in an email...

"You have a common example of an unfinished Hummingbird quilt.  It's a beautiful box."

"Here is what the finished quilt is suppose to look like.  Some people finished out the birds into a block."

"Either on the diagonal or north/south axis."

"Others set the birds together with an octagon shape."

"That may be the case above.  I think that is why there are so many unfinished examples in boxes.  Fitting the birds into the octagons was no easy task."

"Don't forget you can make a mini quilt and frame a picture of your Great Grandma with the unfinished blocks."

I am grateful for all of Barbara's help and direction on these quilt pieces.  I am anxious to contribute my part to the production of this quilt but will definitely work on perfecting my skills first.  My Great Grandma passed away not long after completing these blocks, and I want to do my absolute best for my part in this family heirloom.  I am honored to be leaving my mark in our family history.

I thought that I would end this post with a photo from our travels on the 127 Yardsale.  You might need to click on the pic to see this one clear.  These are old sewing machines that were stacked up and waiting for an upcycler to make them into new treasures.  I couldn't help looking at them and imagining all of the hands throughout the years that created garments and quilts on these wonderful machines.  Can you imagine the excitement that must have been felt on the day these brilliant little gems were purchased?  Quite the investment!  The freedom it must have gave to the hand piecing seamstress.  Ahhh... If only they could tell their stories... *sigh*


Darlene's Quilts and Stuff said...

I grew up in the 1950's and never saw a garage sale or rummage sale. I am sue they had these someplace but not in my neighborhood.

Brenda said...

Thanks for stopping by Darlene! :)

Leanne said...

Hi Brenda
What an amazing assortment of blocks you have. have fun with them.

Brenda said...

Thanks for dropping by Leanne... I am so lucky to have them in my home and look forward to creating with them! :)

Dawn said...

What a treasure you have. You can enjoy the blocks in a basket on the table to look through until you are ready to put them together. I love that you have her note with them.

Brenda said...

Thanks Dawn... That is a great idea! :)