Appalachian Quilts

Big Grandmas Baby Blanket

This is one of my baby quilts, it was made by Pap’s Grandmother-we called her Big Grandma. I can barely remember her. Big Grandma always had RC Colas in glass bottles. But she didn’t share-unless you were her favorite great grandchild-which I wasn’t. But Pap was her favorite Grandson-maybe that’s why she made the quilt for me.

I don’t think anyone can say the word Appalachia without thinking of handmade quilts. I’ve spent my life sleeping under handmade quilts. I mostly viewed them from a utilitarian point of view-quilts were to keep me warm at night. Only as an adult have I grown to appreciate the beauty of quilts.

I can trace my life by quilts, from the first baby blanket till now. Along the way there was a bright flower child quilt Granny made for my room. After Chitter and Chatter came along she turned it into 2 quilts for them.

Granny made one for my “purple phase room” and she made one for my “80’s modern I’m all grown up look.”

Granny made a crocheted spread for The Deer Hunter and me last Christmas.

Granny’s latest crochet creation for the girls have butterflies-they each got a one.

Some of my favorite quilts are either very worn or not even finished.

My Mamaw (Pap’s Mother) made this one. I love how she stamped part of her name on the corner thats turned down. I also love the colors.

This quilt top was made by Hassie, she babysit me when I was very young. She died several years ago. Hassie was a true old time Appalachian woman.

This quilt was made by Granny and is completely falling apart but I love it. I can remember it being around from the time I was about 4 or 5 years old. If I’m not feeling well-I want this quilt to cover up with.

I have a sun bonnet sue quilt top that is special to me. The Deer Hunter’s mother gave it to me. Her Grandmother, Dolly, made it. Each square’s lady has a different pattern of dress-its truly amazing. I never knew Dolly but I feel a special kinship with her. By my good fortune I’ve ended up with many of her things that enrich my life every day.

Another work of art by Dolly was a month of the year quilt. Each square has a month of the year all done in the neatest embroidery work I’ve ever seen.

The Foxfire book sums up my thoughts on quilts:

“The simple fact is that quilts were handmade by people for people. Every phase of their production was permeated by giving and sharing. From the trading of scraps and patterns to the actual production. Quilting was an essential human activity. There is something about a quilt that says people, friendship, community, family, home, and love.”

I believe this quote still rings true today.

Do you have a favorite quilt? Please leave me a comment I’d love to hear about it!


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  • Reply
    Lyndsey Thomas
    October 29, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    I just loved looking at your grannys quilts how special I am a quilter and love getting ideas from the past the story’s that come with the old quilts are priceless thank you so much for sharing the one you said was your favorite is mine too!

  • Reply
    Lena Marler
    July 15, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Love your website. We have alot of the same. My favorite is homemade blackberry jelly and no one in my family can make it like My Big granny. She is now passed away and I miss her jelly. I am going to try to make it this year myself.

  • Reply
    July 21, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    I have a favorite afghan instead of quilt, in blues and pinks that my sister made for me when I was pregnant with my oldest. I love that blankie…

  • Reply
    Mrs. Hillbilly
    July 20, 2008 at 10:00 am

    I just got a lady quilt in white and red from my grandmother’s neighbor. I used to have one when I was a kid made by my maternal grandmother. I love them both because they are made by different women entirely but clearly show that the pattern was pretty universal. Very cool pictures!

  • Reply
    July 18, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    You are so fortunate to have those quilts, Tipper, lovingly stitched by the hands of relatives!

  • Reply
    Pam Thomas
    July 17, 2008 at 9:43 pm

    The Appalacian quilts are wonderful. I have some blocks made by a friend of the ladies with the umbrellas. She is gone now, but I treasure my blocks. Your music is great.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2008 at 11:19 am

    Those are gorgeous. I love the embroidery and the way you embroider them with your story. Gorgeous relics of a beautiful history.

  • Reply
    July 17, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Stunning! I think my favorite is the geometric quilt.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    July 16, 2008 at 10:31 pm

    Yes, I have a favorite. It was made by my grandmother’s neighbor. The design is the wedding ring and I could tell at some point while making the edging, she ran out of white thread. She continued the stitching with a dark color. 🙂

  • Reply
    Cowboys, Kids, and Sunsets
    July 16, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    I love the 7th one down where she stamped her name on it! How great! Beautiful all of them!

  • Reply
    Granny Sue
    July 16, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    My grandmother used to make comforts, not quilts. We used them hard and I do not know of any in existence today. She was a hard German woman, but thrifty–all her quilts were made from sewing scraps. She wasn’t Appalachian either-they lived in New Orleans and later in Washington DC.
    But I have quilts! None made by me, I’m not so talented. I find mine at auctions and yard sales, thrift shops, etc. My very favorite is a big, heavy comfort made from old upholstery fabrics–rich brocades and velvets–that I sleep under every night. Second favorite is a lovely feed-sack double wedding ring that I bought for $25 at an antique mall. I couldn’t believe the price was right! I use it almost every time I tell stories because to me the rings symbolize stories circling back to us, the patterns represent the many different kinds of stories and the whole quilt represents the world we live in, as well as the creativity of the mountain people.

  • Reply
    Mark Salinas
    July 16, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Great looking quilts…now if My wife or I could knit. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mark Salinas
    July 16, 2008 at 4:09 pm

    Great looking quilts…now if My wife or I could knit. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 16, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing your quilt photos! You know I’m a quilter, but I especially love old quilts — you know the handwork and hard work that went into making them, and you know they were made with love. Lucky you to have had so many quilters in your family! I’m the first in line here, but hopefully will pass it along to the generations to come.

  • Reply
    Petra Michelle
    July 16, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    Hi Tipper, Believe it or not, have never bequeathed a quilt. Your post inspired me to visit the site you suggested for the giveaway. *laughing* It seems everyone in blogland was there! Goes to show you how beloved they are! Such beautiful works of art with so much love in every stitch. Petra

  • Reply
    noble pig
    July 16, 2008 at 11:52 am

    These are beautiful but the first one is probably my favorite.

  • Reply
    July 16, 2008 at 11:49 am

    My Grannie Lucille is the quilter in the family. I own several quilts that she has made. She used to have a quilt frame that hung from her ceiling in the family room. She would lower it when she wanted to work on a quilt. Many years ago she collected blue jeans from me and made me a beautiful quilt from them. Complete with my name embroidered in the corner. She has made crazy quilts, wedding ring quilts, around the world quilts, etc…She is a talented lady.

  • Reply
    July 16, 2008 at 11:49 am

    My mother made a quilt with the little southern girl. By my favorite is one with a butterfly appliqued on it. Many of my early dress fabric is in it. It brings back childhood clothing memories.

  • Reply
    July 16, 2008 at 11:47 am

    I also love quilts. Grandma was a quilter and so is Mom – she’s made a quilt for every member of the family and she tries to personalize each one in some way.
    I loved viewing all of your lovely quilts. They certainly are treasures.
    Please stop by my Writing Nook and pick up a little something that I’ve left for all my commenters.
    Blessings for a great day.

  • Reply
    July 16, 2008 at 9:49 am

    I love your quilts, Tipper. My Mamaw (called “Maw” by us northern grandkids) worked at a shirt factory and brought home bags of scraps that my Great-Mamaw and Great-Aunts made into quilts. I have a quilt my great Aunt (who was also my Godmother) made me when I was a child. I still use it today, although one that I made now lives atop my bed. I have a much older one made by my Great-Aunts that I was given after their deaths and it sits on a bachelors chair in my livingroom, along with a rag doll that I got when I was 6. These are the things I would grab as I left the house if there ever was a fire.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    July 16, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Tipper: I wish I had a quilt story as I read they love that was put in each one. I am so glad you cherish the ones you have and all the memories to go with each one. They are all quite lovely.

  • Reply
    July 16, 2008 at 8:11 am

    It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite. I’ve made over 400 quilts but there are ones that stand out more than others. Those tend to be ones I made for a specific person because with every stitch that person is in my thoughts and prayers.
    One that is definitely a favorite above others is a quilt my bee made for me as a farewell gift when I moved from Raleigh. It is made of homespuns and the blocks are Best Friends blocks which are similar to Bear Paw blocks.

  • Reply
    July 16, 2008 at 8:09 am

    Our families are so similiar. My paternal grandmother quilted everyday. My favorite quilt was the one she gave me when I married…a double wedding ring. I have it put up. But I have several old worn quilts that are lovely.
    One of my earliest memories is cutting out quilt pieces for her.

  • Reply
    July 16, 2008 at 6:51 am

    love the quilts, especially the 3d one and the one with curved piecing of course. and those blackberries….yummmmmm…i just picked about 5 raspberries yesterday, they are almost there. i am picking them way sooner this year. waited to long last year. so much to do today. have a great week!

  • Reply
    The Texican
    July 16, 2008 at 6:29 am

    It always make me feel a sense of connection to the aritisan when I hold a quilt, painting, or arrowhead in my hands. When I know the artist there is a special connection. If the artist is a family member or close acquaintance and there is an element of love attached, then the bond with the object is extra special. Thanks for this great post. Pappy

  • Reply
    July 16, 2008 at 1:38 am

    Love your quilts – so many memories wrapped up in them.
    My favorite quilt? I always like the next one I’m planning to make! It’s so much fun to see one come together!

  • Reply
    July 16, 2008 at 12:09 am

    Hi Tipper,
    A few weeks ago I did a post about some some of the quilts I have inherited. Nothing speaks country like quilts. The time and effort is filled with love.
    I hadn’t been here in a couple of days and I had to smile at your blackberry post – I posted something similar yesterday. Mine aren’t quite this ripe yet.
    Two great posts!

  • Reply
    July 15, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    My hubby and I sleep under a beautiful cathedral window quilt my grandma stitched for me. Every stitch is by hand, and if you have ever seen a cathedral window quilt, you will know that’s a lot of stitches! She has made one for every one of her children and grandchildren. She used to have one on her bed made by my great-grandmother. I loved looking at all of the fabrics and wondering what long-forgotten piece of clothing they came from.
    I, too, have spent all of my life sleeping under a homemade quilt. And I definitely have one at my mom’s house that is THE sick day quilt. And the boys both sleep with baby quilts made by my grandma.
    I’m inspired to post some pics…maybe later this week.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    These are so beautiful. I’m a quilter and I have several quilts my grandmother made. They are so precious to me. Thanks for sharing these.

  • Reply
    Carolyn A.
    July 15, 2008 at 9:57 pm

    Sorry Tipper, have never had a quilt myself. The women in our family were just not good at sitting down and committing to sewing squares together. I have crocheted a 100 square afghan/blanket for someone’s wedding though. Will have to send you that picture. Your quilts are so lovely and are to be treasured as memories of those who loved making them.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2008 at 9:28 pm

    I have a quilt top packed away that my Great Aunt made. She is one of my favorite memories, she passed away when I was 11. I am thankful I have something she made to bring back warm memories.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 15, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    I love quilts too they are all so unique and have more colors than granny’s flowerbed!
    I remember being at my grandmothers in the winter and you couldn’t even turn over in the bed. The quilts were all filled with cotton batting and they were heavy! The heat from the heater in the living room didn’t quite get to the bedrooms so you had to put several quilts on top of you to stay warm.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Beautiful quilts, one and all. I have 3 favorite quilts. One my grandmother made. It was always at her house. It wasn’t grand; she was blind. But it’s the comfort of childhood thing. I have two from someone who was an adopted grandmother. She made both of them when she was a teenager. One was girls in big dresses like yours, only the base color was yellow. But all girls were differently dressed. The other is a wedding ring quilt she made, and that just gave me the greatest idea for a post!
    It is so wonderful you appreciate the history and beauty of the quilts.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Tipper I love your collection of quilts! I hope to have this sort of legacy for my family in the years to come. I have a few old quilts from others tucked away – one made completely of men’s ties!

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    July 15, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    I have two quilts that my grandmother’s double-first cousin and her mother made. They are priceless to me. This cousin lived with my grandparents for over 20 years so it was as if I had another “extra” grandmother. Her gentle ways blessed me beyond measure. She gave them to me as wedding gifts and actually apologize because she couldn’t afford to purchase us something. I loved her so. When my brother died a few years ago, my mother and I put one of those quilts on top of the casket with a spray on top…yes we did. She loved and petted him so much…we thought it was only fitting that her love still “cover” him. Corny, I guess…but that’s just us.

  • Reply
    July 15, 2008 at 6:29 pm

    Beautiful! I can relate to growing up under a handmade quilt. In fact, I recently took photos of some of the quilts I have that were made by my Grandma and my Mama.
    I never took up quilting — too tedious for me. But I certainly admire those who create this kind of art.
    Thank you for sharing yours.

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    July 15, 2008 at 6:23 pm

    What a lovely, beautiful post to go with these amazing quilts! You are one blessed woman to have been handed down these treasures. I’m sure you know that. I don’t have a great quilt heritage like this.
    My children do, with my mom and one of my sisters making quilts for them, though. I do have memories of my Grandma’s quilts, but when she died, they all went to other family members. I would love to have one of her quilts, but she had a big family and I’m the last of her grandkids!
    You’ve inspired me. I WILL finish that bird quilt I’m working on for my son. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 15, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Goodness! I’m commenting on your blog twice in one day! I have 3 quilts that I LOVE. One was made for my mother out of all the scrapes of her mother’s maternity clothes. It is the little girl pattern and I love it. It just shows the love. I find it to be a very happy quilt. The second quilt is a two tone blue one that was passed down through my family. I cannot remember at this time who made it, but I love it so much that I keep it safely hidden from my two little ones so that it does not become damaged. The sad part is that I don’t get to look at it. I love that quilt.
    Third, well, and fourth, are the baby quilts all made by hand for my babies from my mother in law. They are beautiful and too precious for words. I love those quilts and I cannot wait for my kids to appreciate them like I do. I don’t think many people truly understand the time it takes to make a quilt. I’ve tried. I cannot imagine giving such a precious piece of work away to someone who did not truly understand what it stands for. Once again, I LOVE your blog!

  • Reply
    Valarie Lea
    July 15, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    Those quilts are so pretty. 🙂 I love all the quilts my husbands grandmother made for us. They are the best.

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