Monday, January 9, 2012

A Shared Project

Genealogy & quilting are both loves of mine and I’m happy when I can do a project that incorporates both. This wall hanging is a project I shared with my Nana, Helen F. (Coyle) Gardner, who was born 9 January, one hundred fifteen years ago today.

 She was the oldest child of Michael and Mary Josephine (Mullane) Coyle in New York City. On 9 May 1921 she married Nathaniel Gardner and they had one child, my mother. 

My Nana, Helen, began a sewing project many years ago. She had sewed small circles of scrap fabrics and then stitched them together to make a bed cover for her daughter’s [Alberta Joy (Gardner) Brown] bed. She used fabrics from dresses, aprons and other things she had sewn. After a dress was beyond repair she’d cut it up and snip off the buttons, using the fabric and the buttons for future projects. She also saved string and foil and used pencils till they were short nubs. Not only had my Nana lived through the Depression, she was also a widow on a limited income. She saved every penny. For whatever reason, this project went unfinished. She put the pieces in a paper bag where they remained, passing form her little house to my mother’s attic to my sewing room.

Most of the colorful circles, or yoyos, stayed in good shape. I cut away the blackened circles and evaluated what was left. I decided to separate some sections to make wall hangings, one for each of my three brothers and one for me. Now we each have a part of this great memento of both our mother and her mother.  


  1. That is the best project ever. Don't you just love the feel of old material? I can tell you do. Those yo-yos would send my imagination in 1000 directions wondering who wore this dress and that apron. I have some old quilts from my great-grandmother, but I don't know if the fabric has such a rich history.

  2. Thanks, ladies. I have a few more pieces of my Nana's original work. I need to make something for the next generation, my children, nieces & nephews. A goal for 2012.


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