Thursday, November 14, 2013

Aunt Jane of Kentucky "Aunt Jane's Album" and Calico Spools Quilt Block

In the Quilters' Book Club this month, we're reading Aunt Jane of Kentucky by Eliza Calvert Hall, written in 1898.  It comes highly recommended by author Sandra Dallas.  A community of volunteers converted the book to digital format.  If you have a Kindle or a Kindle app, you can get it from here.  If you want to read it directly from your computer, you can do so here, courtesy of Project Gutenberg.  It's a public domain book so is available free in either format.  (I am reading it on my computer and my iPad with no Kindle app, and that is working fine for me.) 

This book consists of nine short stories. The third story (30 pages long) is called "Aunt Jane's Album."  If you only have time to read one story, this is the one I would recommend.  Here are a couple of quotes from the story:  

"I've had a heap o' comfort all my life makin' quilts, and now in my old age I wouldn't take a fortune for 'em. . . You see, some folks has albums to put folks' pictures in to remember 'em by, and some folks has a book and writes down the things that happen every day so they won't forgit 'em; but, honey, these quilts is my albums and my di'ries"
" 'most all my work has been the kind that 'perishes with the usin',' as the Bible says. That's the discouragin' thing about a woman's work. . . When I'm dead and gone there ain't anybody goin' to think o' the floors I've swept, and the tables I've scrubbed, and the old clothes I've patched, and the stockin's I've darned. . . But when one o' my grandchildren or great-grandchildren sees one o' these quilts, they'll think about Aunt Jane, and, wherever I am then, I'll know I ain't forgotten.

If you'd like to make a quilt block to represent "Aunt Jane's Album," here are some ideas:

Calico Spools Quilt Block Pattern shown above

Spool Quilt Block shown below

You've seen how Aunt Jane feels about the quilts she's made.  How do you feel about yours?  Inquiring minds want to know!  Please reply in the comments sections below for a chance to win a copy of Jennifer Chiaverini's just-released book, An Elm Creek Quilts Companion, courtesy of Plume Books.  If you are reading this via email, you must click on the title of my blog post to be able to comment and read the comments of others

You might also enjoy reading my previous blog post about a precious old family quilt here.


  1. I have never made a quilt. I have a longing to "some day". The other thing I liked about Aunt Jane's quilts in this chapter, is that she remembered where different scraps came from and that stirred more memories for her. Do today's quilters still share scraps?

  2. I remember where I got fabrics or what else I used it in.

  3. I have always felt the very same way. Before my housework is finished, the food is eaten, the dishes are dirty again, the laundry basket is full and waiting for tomorrow, and Nikko is dropping dog hair all over the place. The clothing I made has been outgrown, the knitted things, worn out (or even lost) but quilts don't get too small ... they still fit the bed and give warmth and hold memories of the clothing in their fabrics. Thhey also bring joy to others when I can't afford to buy a gift,

  4. The scrap quilts I've made have memories because of the fabrics in them. The other quilts have memories because of the occasions they were made for. I enjoy thinking about them myself. I don't know if anybody else will think of them that way, though.

  5. They quilts I have made all have special meanings. Whether it be the fabrics used, the class I made them at or the persons or occasion I have given them for.
    I just attended a class today & made a quilt top for a friends daughters 18th birthday.
    I hope it will keep her warm for many years to come.

  6. I rarely think about the quilt as a whole. I enjoying making blocks. If I finish the flimsy before my attention is distracted to yet another QAL that's good too. Someday I'll have them quilted or learn to do it myself if time allows. If not, some quilter is going to have a great time at my Estate sale.....grin.

  7. Most of the quilts I've made, I've given away. I tend to 'hoard' the extra pieces of fabric from those quilts as my 'album' of memories. When I look at those leftover pieces, I remember the process of making that quilt. I keep a record of how many hours it takes to hand quilt each quilt. I tell the new owner, so that they will know that if I put in that many hours on their new quilt, that they know that I love them enough to give up those hours, just for them. I hope that they will remember me when they use that quilt, even after I am gone.

  8. Mostly I wish I would get them finished in a more timely manner ;-). A good friend who quilts told me that it's important to remember that once you give a quilt away it is no longer yours. No fair complaining about what the new owner does or doesn't do with it.


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