Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Ruby McKim Pattern - My Mother's Flower Garden Quilt

 
My mother had a wonderful experience living at Watkins Scholarship Hall while she was a student at Kansas University during the 1940's.  She began her freshman year in 1945 right at the end of World War II and graduated in 1949.  Watkins Hall had regular house meetings, which she and the other residents were required to attend.  Although the girls could not read or do homework during these meetings, they could knit and do handwork; so my mother began to embroider these flower blocks during the meetings.  The twenty-five patterns of the Flower Garden Quilt were published from 1929-30 by the well-known quilt designer Ruby McKim.  One or two of the patterns appeared weekly in newspapers.  Women would cut out the patterns, collecting them over the weeks so they could create the quilt.    
 
 
After my mother graduated from KU, she taught junior high home economics for a year before marrying my father.  She had completed embroidering all twenty-five flower blocks and sewn the blocks together by hand.  Then she had three daughters, and life got busy!  The unfinished quilt top was put away and stored in her hope chest for years until she gave it to me a few years ago.  
 
I finally decided I needed to finish the quilt for my mom.  I googled Ruby McKim and discovered that her granddaughter was reviving the patterns and work that her grandmother had done.  I ordered a book from her here.
              
 

I took the blocks apart and put solid yellow sashing strips between the blocks, with a white, blue, and yellow print for the corner blocks.  I used a narrow solid navy border and then a wider border using the corner block fabric.  I quilted 1/4" from the sashing seams, using yellow perle cotton and rather large stitches.  I wanted to feature the embroidery work my mother had done so many years ago.  The quilt now hangs on my parents' living room wall.     

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post here.

18 comments:

  1. oh it's just beautiful! what a treasure.

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  2. Thank you, Sara! It was a fun collaboration.

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  3. Oh, this is just beautiful. I'm glad that you were able to finish it for your mom.

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  4. Oh, does that ever remind me of my college days. We had a required meeting each day in the Chapel. I likewise used the time in that manner. I knit a lot of socks there too and had to find needles that wouldn't make noise when dropped. I'm glad that treasure got such a good finish.

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  5. Your parents must love it, what a wonderful quilt after so many years.

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  6. What a lovely quilt, a lovely way to honour your mother's past and a lovely heritage piece for your family.

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  7. I love Ruby McKim's patterns and these are wonderful. I really like the way you sashed it together too. Beautiful quilt.I know your Mom see's a lot of love everytime she looks at it. I just finished an embroidered block quilt for my cousin and sent it back to her. I have a story about it on my blog. It was a long time getting it finished. Maybe your quilt and hers are cousins!!! ;-0

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  8. BEAUTIFUL!!! I love the Ruby Short McKim embroidery patterns. I'm working on her Roly Poly Circus and was thinking of using polka dots to update the look. After seeing yours I'm sure I will now! Your Mom must be so happy!

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  9. What a wonderful quilt and what a history with it! You did a great finish! Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

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  10. I had never heard of Ruby McKim, but it reminds me of my mother-in-law cutting patterns from Capper's Weekly newspaper. It also reminds me of McCall's having paper dolls in magazines that I collected. The quilt is really beautiful. I love the way you framed the squares and made them stand out!

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    1. Char, my sisters and I used to cut those paper dolls out of the McCall's magazines our grandma had stacked in her closet. You might enjoy these websites: http://www.thebleudoor.com/betsymccallhome.htm and http://tpettit.best.vwh.net/dolls/pd_scans/betsy_mccall/

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  11. Ruby McKim was the author if the first quilting book that I ever bought. I still have it & refer to it all the time. It is great that her grand-daughter is republishing her old patterns, I have bought several of them.

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  12. The quilt is a treasure hanging on our wall! Other handwork during house meetings was knitting--mostly socks for current boy friends, argyle socks to be precise. If you remember those, with many hanging bobbins of the wool yarn, you know they took a long time. I worked on them during my entire college life plus a year of teaching. As life changed, so did the boy friends! I finally finished them for my husband. They were wool, of course, and lasted until they accidentally ended up in the heat of the washer and drier. They became miniature versions of their former selves and that was the end of the socks. They had served their purpose of keeping my hands busy during house meetings.

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  13. The first quilting book I ever bought was a Dover re-publication of McKims patchwork patterns. That was way back in the early 70's--and the patchwork patterns were not very accurate. Obviously that didn't deter me--just convinced me that I had to learn to draft my own patterns!

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  14. Beautiful quilt and collaboration by you and mom!

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