Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Grandma McMahan's Mittens



Mittens knitted by Theresa McMahan in her early 80’s, Paternal Grandmother, for younger brother Don in 1963. My Grandma McMahan made mittens for all of her many grandchildren. Most of these red mittens were worn out by playing in the Wisconsin snow. I rescued this pair and have treasured them for many years. Grandma would take a look at your hand to see the size and then proceed to knit the mittens without referring to a pattern. She was very intuitive and could always create something. In addition to the mittens, she made children’s clothes by first cutting a pattern out of newspaper. I had many lovely dresses made this way.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Grandma Rowe's Quilt



My Maternal Grandmother, Louise Rowe, made this Wool Quilt from used clothing, flannel backing, wool batting, tied with red yarn. 86”x70”, © early 1900’s
This quilt was, for sure made to be used on a bed to keep warm on winter Wisconsin nights. I have never used it here in California because it is much too warm. I love it’s randomness and improvisational quality and that my grandmother was able to use what she had to make something for comfort. It has several holes in it as well as some patches where it has been mended. The red ties are a very charming addition. This quilt was not meant as art, I don’t think; and it does remind me of the quilts of Gee’s Bend, which were very primitive and utilitarian and then became very famous and were shown at major museums all over the country.
Louise Rowe also participated in making a friendship quilt, which is in the possession of my sister. It’s much more colorful and has the signatures of the women on each block. This is how I know that she had friends who also quilted.