Another Vintage Project

This year is the year–of Vintage Projects.


Recently, my mother surrendered two quilts started by HER grandmother, Mina Opal, (my Great-grandmother) in the 1930-40s.  Today we will take a look at the first one.


Mina Opal created 53 applique butterfly blocks.  My mother added one.  She then added sashing and started to build a top (early-to-mid 1980s).  But she was unhappy with the results and put the whole project away for about 35 years.

ASIDE:  Now that I think about it, my mother quit on the quilt about the time Mina Opal became ill and died (1987). Hmm…I wonder if that had something to do with it?

Anyway, when it came to me I asked if there were restrictions on what I could do, because “It won’t look the same when I bring it back.”

With my mother’s (blind-faith) blessing, I have gone to work.  First, pick the entire top apart. It took days.


Clean up and iron each block. This was a tedious but useful process.  It helped me to see the work more closely and to better appreciate the skill and care Mina Opal and my mother, Verna, put into the quilt.  It also gave me clues as to the possible original intent.


It also gave me a reason to AGAIN use my new lint roller.  WHO KNEW one would be so useful?!  I don’t know how I did without one this long.


I chose the largest possible size (9″) for the blocks and squared up. This step was the hardest emotionally so far.  Cutting 80 year old fabric…arrgh!  What if I make a mistake?  But, I went slowly and only did a few blocks at a time.  And double-checked.  A lot.


Time for design decisions….Coming soon!


14 thoughts on “Another Vintage Project

  1. WOW! What an honor it must be to work on this quilt! Looking forward to seeing how you put these blocks together and finish this quilt.

  2. You are so blessed!! Isn’t this one of the reasons we quilt in the first place? You are holding a piece of Mina that has and will endure for years and years. You think of her as you carefully cut and press. I am so excited to see how you decide to set these treasured blocks!!❤️❤️❤️

  3. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! It was sad that your mother put it away and hindsight has found a possible reason – can understand that. Seems there are two options quilters have – continue to assist their grief, or put it away because their grief is too much for them. But finally the quilt sees the light of day and a new pair of eyes to make it super. Go Deanna, Go! I have the pom poms out for you and cheering you on!

  4. Those are so beautiful – what a wonderful treasure. Looking forward to see what you do with the project.

  5. I have a coverlet I picked up in Georgia that is this exact butterfly pattern. I had wanted to quilt it, as it’s just a flimsy top (coverlet) with the edges finished, but everyone I contacted said to leave it as that is what was used in the southern states.

  6. You and your mom are so blessed to be able to share this treasure. So often life sets priorities where our best laid plans get set aside. You are picking up the gauntlet and will make it whole the way it was intended. Your mom has faith in you and you know your Gram would love anything you do.

  7. These older quilts are too precious to consign to the scrap pile. Good for you ! I have a wool quilt that belonged to my great aunt. It’s a whole cloth quilt that she tied with her father’s help. He was a carpenter so each tie is perfectly square from the other. Unfortunately the fabric is starting to disintegrate and I wish I knew what to do with it. The quilt is at least 100 years old. Any suggestions would be welcome.

  8. That’s always been a favorite pattern of mine. I know you will do something good with it, and your mother’s faith will turn out not to have been blind at all. ❤

  9. A number of years ago, my mother in law fell ill and father in law was worn out with her care (even with help from all of us). So, some of his family from out of state… a brother and sister in law came to help out and visit for a week or 10 days. To show our appreciation we got out some beautiful old quilt blocks, added quilt sashings and a back , tied it and send it to them. They were so taken with the blocks and the love that put it together. It truly was a work of love and gratitude. We enjoyed doing it for them.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. It is nice to hear from you.

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