Four Generations – It’s in the Blood

When my mother was pregnant with me, my fraternal grandfather asked her to name me after his mother. My great-grandmother (1859-1944) was of Scottish descent and known as a quiet “angelic” woman. The family history states the following regarding her life:

Her rocking chair stood in the living room by the south window. She always kept a basket of quilt scraps and mending beside it, ready to be worked on. She was good at sewing, quilting, crocheting, and weaving. She was the best quilter I ever knew. Her stitches were so small and even. Between the kitchen and the milk house was a porch that was screened in on the south. It was used for work such as stringing beans, churning butter, and other chores. She kept her loom there.

I’m so privileged to possess two of her quilts, Goose in the Pond and Snail’s Trail. You can see in these photos the tiny stitches and the intricate quilt patterns she used. It amazes me that she embarked on such challenging projects, considering the busy life she led.

My maternal grandmother was of French descent and emigrated to this country from Lithuania. She and my grandfather settled in Illinois, where she sewed “professionally,” designing and constructing wedding gowns and fine clothing for women within her community. Cut from the same cloth as my fraternal great-grandmother, she excelled at sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, weaving, and lace-making.

So I ask you, what was a girl to do with such a family history?


N. Rene West
Time Treasured


  1. Twila Grace said,

    February 11, 2007 at 7:26 am

    Your grandmother’s work is awesome. Very neat. What wonderful pieces to have as inspiration. If only she could see what you’re doing today, and the two of you could share information. My grandmother was a hand quilter, but I think she’d approve of the machine quilting that I do. In fact, I think she’d be elated that I’m carrying on with what was her passion, too.

  2. fembellish said,

    February 11, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Thank you for your kind comments. My great-grandmother’s work is very dear to me. I too do most of my quilting by machine and agree that our forebears would approve. They were practical people. The thing that amazes me is how detailed their stitching was considering their daily work load, poor lighting conditions, and limited tools.

    I’m glad you’re carrying on the passion that your grandmother held dear. Our grandmothers truly would be elated to see us immersed in our piecework.

  3. billie mcalister said,

    July 3, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    Your quilts are beautiful. But I was wondering if you could answer a couple of questions for me this will be my first quilt.
    How big should my squares be. It will be for a full size bed
    how many for the with and length.
    Thanks for your help.

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