Sunday, July 3, 2016

Family Reunion Quilts

My mom's family has an annual family reunion at the farm/homestead property that had belonged to my grandparents. Their descendants now own the property in a very small town in southeastern Idaho named Oxford.

Photo of Grandpa Fisher's dairy barn -- complete with a barn quilt
Technically Oxford is a "living ghost town" because fewer than 50 people live there. The official count from the 2010 census was 48. When we have our reunion we literally quadruple the population because there are typically more than 150 people who attend -- including the first generation (my mom and her siblings), my generation (including my 47 cousins and their spouses), their children (great-grandchildren to my grandparents), and now their children's children (my grandparents' great-great grandchildren). I would guess that if everyone were able to attend, we would have close to 300 people in attendance.

To raise money to pay the property taxes and maintain the property, we need to do fund raisers at our reunion. I decided to make a quilt to contribute to a silent auction.

My grandmother was a quilter and I blogged about one of her quilts here. It's no coincidence, therefore, that many of her granddaughters and great-granddaughters are also quilters. So I invited them to donate blocks for the quilt -- which turned out to be three quilts!

I asked the contributors to use traditional fabrics and make a traditional block that would finish 12 inches. One cousin was especially energetic and she made nine blocks -- all with the same block pattern. Although I expected the finished quilts would be sampler-style quilts, since she did multiples of the same block, I made three more so I'd have 12 blocks for the quilt. Of course, the blocks are scrappy, so here's the scrappy setting I came up with for the first quilt.




I'm hoping that since my cousin made most of the blocks, that she'll strive to be the high bidder for this quilt!

For the next quilt I was able to cherry-pick the blocks that I felt worked well together. For the setting, I created a pieced sashing with pieced 9-patch cornerstones.




For the third quilt, I was left with blocks that had very little in common with each other. One cousin sent three blocks that shared some common fabrics, They went well with each other, but not necessarily with the other contributed blocks. My challenge was to unify the blocks in a pleasing way. Here was my solution:


The result was a very nontraditional approach to the quilt setting. Although the donated blocks were great, I felt that I almost needed to create something that downplayed the blocks. The striped alternate blocks did that well. I think this is almost my favorite of the three quilts. I especially love the backing and the scrappy binding.



Here's hoping the quilts garner several hundred dollars towards the funds necessary to maintain my grandparents' property.


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