That Time I Saved My Grandma’s Vintage Sailboat Quilt


One of my most treasured possessions is this raggedy old quilt. It’s not the prettiest quilt ever, and it’s not in the best condition, but it’s special to my family and to me.

My Dad, whom I lost this summer, lost his mother when he was only eight years old. Sick with the polio epidemic, she was far away and in the hospital for weeks when she passed. He only got to see her a couple of times and then she was gone. Ironically, I went through a similar situation this summer, when my Dad was far away in the hospital, and I only got to see him a couple of times before we lost him.

This quilt was the last quilt she made before she passed away. It was made on her treadle sewing machine, one that my Dad learned to sew on. The squares are all cut from old clothes, the batting is an old blanket and the backing an old sheet. Meant to be used, it has been used and loved and heavily worn over the many years it has been in our family.

I have always loved this quilt, even when I was a little kid. My Mom didn’t do patchwork, and we had no other quilts. I knew, even as a little girl, that I wanted to learn to make things like this when I grew up. This quilt is the quilt that made me a quilter. While quilting hasn’t always been able to take the front position in my life, it’s always been there, a constant thread. In the last year or so quilting has become a major part of my personal journey and therapy in becoming a better version of myself.

Several years ago I decided that I’d like to make a smaller-sized replica to hang on my bedroom wall. I took pictures of each boat and printed them out in miniature, and spent hours and hours at the fabric store trying to find the closest match possible. Over the years I have gotten it out from time to time to look at it, but hadn’t really started working on it until this summer.

A few years ago I did make a miniature sailboat quilt, but all in dark blue, as a gift to my Dad. He loved boats and he loved fishing, and I know he missed his Mom, even all these years later.

This summer I decided finally to finish the color-accurate replica. I started it at the beginning of the summer, and I am still working on it. Here’s my latest:

Now, more than ever, I am wanting to finish my little replica, so I can have a reminder of my Dad and the legacy of his Mother. Rather than making me sad, this quilt and my little reproduction make me feel comfortingly connected. Not just to my Dad, but to everyone.

I’ll be sure to share the miniature quilt as I make more progress, but for now I really just wanted you to see the quilt that started the whole thing.

Do you quilt? Or have another passion? Do you remember the time, place or thing that got you started?

Love, Angela



14 responses to “That Time I Saved My Grandma’s Vintage Sailboat Quilt”

  1. So good to have you back in my inbox! As you might remember, I quilt, too. My mom taught me. I’ve made 2 baby quilts in the past couple of months and I’m proud to say, my daughter (who is 45) has just finished her first one for her son (my grandson, who is 19)!! So I totally understand where you are coming from! Love your idea of making a miniature of the original! Dona

    1. That’s right, Dona! I had forgotten that you quilt. I would love to see pictures of your quilts sometime. It’s really therapeutic, isn’t it? ~Angela~

  2. I’m glad you found a very personal way to honor your father’s memory. I don’t qilt, but would love to. I thought of your question and it made me realise the first time I cross-stitched was during holidays in Brittany, where I know live.

    1. I have always wanted to try cross-stitch but haven’t actually done a project yet! I am fascinated by all of those hand-work type crafts — knitting, crochet, crewel, embroidery. Maybe this coming year I can finally find enough space and time to enjoy the slower pace of life I would like and do those things. Thanks for visiting! ~Angela~

  3. I love that you’re replicating your Grandma’s quilt. You make me want to take up quilting so my grandkids will have something to remember me by. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Sue, I can’t recommend it enough. I know that many people don’t like it, but I just think it’s the most relaxing, creative hobby and I can’t imagine life without it! ~Angela~

  4. Anita Sollars Avatar
    Anita Sollars

    Dear Angela, I had been away from my computer for awhile, having to go out of state. Catching up on your blog, I learned that your father had passed away. I’m so, so sorry to hear of his passing & will keep you & your family in my heart & prayers. Thinking of you, Anita

    1. Thank you so much, Anita. Everyone’s support has been such a blessing to me. ~Angela~

  5. I love your quilt story! I love old quilts and especially love the history behind them. It makes the quilt come alive. I started quilting about 2 years ago (more avidly…I have done a couple quilts in the past but would not have called myself a quilter). I do love quilting. Having fun searching out the pattern, then the colors, and putting the quilt all together. It’s art. I am excited to see the rest of your blocks come together. What a great way to honor your family!

    1. Isn’t it fun? I really do love it. I could spend all of my time quilting, truly, I never get tired of it. I’d love to see pictures of your quilts, are they on your blog? ~Angela~

      1. I don’t think I do have a quilt posted on my blog. I will have to do that!!

        1. Yes, please! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. I’m still hand-quilting the one I was working at last summer at your house. Barely at all, since my hands get tired from the typing in the morning. I don’t have a quilt from my grandmother, but I can sew because of her. We do have several lovely quilts made from my great-grandmother’s quilting group, the Friendly 7. I totally picture them gossiping over a quilt together.

    1. How neat to have those old quilts and know about that group! I’d love to be a fly on the wall there. Did you ever see the play “Quilters”? It was great. I’d love to see the progress on your quilt when you have time! ~Angela~

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