The idea of the 13 quilts stems from the dowry quilts our pioneer women would complete before they were married.
"All young ladies were expected to marry shortly after their education, possessing a dowry of quilts, usually thirteen—a baker's dozen. Twelve quilt tops were to be finished before her engagement."From: http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/parkin22.html
"When a woman was pledged to marry, the thirteenth quilt—called the Bride's or Wedding Quilt—was designed and quilted."
It was said that making the 13 quilts would allow the girls to improve on their skills and prepare them for marriage. It also allowed them to bring something to the marriage, in a time when there was very little to spare. With 13 quilts the brides would start life with one quilt for each month of the year, plus a special Wedding quilt.
Shortly after her engagement my daughter, Nyshma, decided to complete a quilt dowry. A lofty goal for someone that had never completed a quilt on her own. She felt comfortable with the sewing machine and had made a few quilt blocks here and there, but making a full quilt from start to finish was never achieved. That first year she came home for Christmas and worked on her first quilt.
A for Andrea (Original pattern by Camille Roskelley)
She learned the basics on this project including raw edge applique.
Next came Stashbuster from a back issue of American Patchwork and Quilting
(sorry don't recall the exact issue and designer at this time)
This one was the most complex quilt she had attempted at that time. She showed some serious organizational skills here. I only gave a few pointers on how to piece on an angle (the bunny ear thing) but didn't touch this one at all.
I think after that one she wanted to make sure Ryan got a quilt to keep him warm while he was finishing his degree in Rochester, NY.
She decided on a very masculine quilt from a book that we picked up from the library. For this she learned to work with big whole cloth pieces. Cutting large pieces of cloth which at times is very awkward.
I loved the next one! I am a huge buggy barn fan but the truth is that I had not been able to figure out the whole stack and slash thing that the most appealing patterns use. I have about 4 or 5 of their books but I never had made one quilt. For this one, the student became the teacher. She threw herself into the project and became an expert!
Hospitality from Buggy Barn's Certifiably Crazy
At this point I was able to convince her to join me on my yearly retreat with the Dallas quilt guild. She was the talk of the retreat because a) she was the youngest attendee and b) she had a very modern looking quilt and was breezing right through it.
Wild Things (pattern by Camille Roskelley)
She put 3 distinct borders on Wild Things and was ready to never put another border on a quilt for the rest of her quilting ventures! LOL!
That is why she altered the Piece of Cake pattern by Camille Roskelley from a lap quilt to a baby quilt. She just did not want to deal with adding borders to the piece! LOL!
Piece of Life was made using Make Life by Sweetwater for Moda
The last quilt she finished in Texas was named The Green Monster. She wanted to make a wonky nine patch but her blocks ended up a bit bigger than she expected. Then the quilt decided that it needed a border and it grew... and grew... and grew...
The Green Monster with all it's borders!
At this point Nyshma was flying solo and was feeling fairly confident. She was ready for a challenge. Shiloh by Bonnie Blue Quilts was selected and she learned to making flying geese with the help of Monique Dillard's Fit to be Geese Ruler. It was at this time that she moved to NH and she was unable to finish the quilt since I, bad mother that I am, did not 'lend' her my rulers. I know! I was EVIL. I just envisioned the 'Let me Borrow it' becoming 'Sorry, you will never see them again'.
Not to dispare, because I bought her a set of her own the rulers (big and small) for Christmas and, as time started ticking off this past summer, Shiloh was completed. This is my favorite of all! And, I got to be the first to cuddle under it while I bound it before the wedding!!
While Shiloh waited to be finished there was time for some simplicity and Nyshma found it in Rachel Griffith's postage stamp quilt along.
Sunkissed Stamps became quilt #9.
And as if on a roll, thanks to T-Brenda who wanted a demo of the buggy barn method,
quilt #10 was started soon after.
House of Stars from Buggy Barn's Star Crossing
We are getting down to the wire here...
I had requested to make quilt #13 (yes, I'll come back to 11 & 12 shortly), which was the wedding quilt. Nyshma selected Bali Wedding Star as the pattern and I started working on it... and then stopped. Call it lack of enthusiasm, loss love, what ever you want, but I could not finish that quilt. BUT, I had finished another quilt that I thought would fit right in and I brought it to the table as a substitute.
Nyshma accepted Beth (pattern Elizabeth by Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.)
as her Wedding quilt until I complete Bali Wedding Stars.
as her Wedding quilt until I complete Bali Wedding Stars.
If you have been paying close attention you know that we have 11 quilts accounted for, but you might not realize that most of them are still just tops.
With the big day fast approaching and time becoming precious, Nyshma reached out to Margaret (Mainely Quilts of Love) who had recently completed the quilting on Beth, and who had quilted almost everything Nysh has ever made, to see if she could, possibly, take 5-6 tops to be quilted before the wedding. Margaret must have known how much this project meant to my daughter because she stepped up to bat on this one and agreed to do it.
At 4 weeks away from the wedding, I finally convince Dre to allow me to take one of the two quilts left to make, off her plate.
She wanted to make a companion quilt to the piece she made for her fiancee, Ryan. For it to compliment the earlier quilt she wanted to use the left over batik from that quilt. So, she put the fabric in the mail and selected a pattern from Kim Diehl's book Simple Comfort called Twilight Hopscotch. It arrived just in time for me to take to a retreat I was planning to attend and I start piecing immediately.
When I was close to finishing, I emailed Margaret who had just finished the other quilts and crossed my fingers. We were 3 weeks away from the wedding and the top had to travel from Texas to Maine. She told me that she was going on vacation the following week and was leaving on Thursday... BUT... if I got the quilt to her house by Tuesday she would do it before she left. Can you believe it??
An express mail package left my house to Maine on Saturday, it arrived on Monday and Nyshma had quilt #11 in her hands that following Saturday.
To compliment the earlier piece called "Ryan's Quilt", this one was named "Dre's Quilt" (Dre comes from AnDREa - her middle name)
We were 2 weeks away from the wedding with one quilt left to complete and 5 quilts in need of binding. Bindings were attached and some were actually bound (thanks T-Brenda!), but unfortunately, quilt #12 was not completed in time for the wedding.
Family Homecoming (pattern from the book Simplify by Camile Roskelley) was cut, and many of it's blocks pieced, but as the house began to fill with family and friends, the sound of the sewing machine was silenced.
The night before the wedding, as we packed the quilts and prepared to load the car, Nyshma decided to chose a quilt with sufficient emotional value to stand in for that last wedding quilt.
She selected the first quilt I made for her. I was just learning to quilt myself (I'm a first generation quilter - self taught) and she was about 9 years old. Over the years, this quilt has been well loved. It traveled with her to college and now, with a home of her own, it rests on the arm of the sofa in her living room.
First Star made a good stand in for quilt #12.
On the day of her wedding, while friends laughed and danced and saluted the couple,
13 quilts were displayed. Standing as testament to the determination of a new quilter.
Sorry for the poor quality of the photo. The Venue was very dark.
Thank you, Margaret for your exceptional work and for helping make this dream come true for Nyshma!