Saturday Steals: Great Aunt Elaine Patchwork Quilt

My Saturday Steal of the week is going to be a bit different than the ones I’ve posted in the past. It’s a quilt I made during Spring Break of my Junior year, which my sister and I spent with my Great Aunt Elaine (my grandpa’s sister) in McMinnville, Oregon.

My Great Aunt Elaine, I should note, is a world-class quilt maker. In our family, Aunt Elaine quilts are treated like currency; she always brings a limited supply to sell at the every-other-year family reunions, and they always sell for a pretty penny. You haven’t really arrived as a member of our family unless you own an Aunt Elaine quilt (I own two, ho, ho! {But lots of people own more than me}). I doubt Aunt Elaine could even BEGIN to count the number of quilts she has made for herself, her posterity, or just strangers in need. She is a dear, dear lady, and I love her very much.

Incidentally, for all you vintage fiends out there, here is a photo of my Great Aunt Elaine hugging her little brother (my grandpa) when he came home (I think?) from the war, dated 1954. Isn’t it beautiful?

Anyway, the spring of 2003 saw my sister and me shipped off to Oregon for a week of quilt-making and sight-seeing with our Great Aunt Elaine. She showed us an excellent time, wearing us all out taking day trips to various charming villages along the Oregon Coast and practically feeding us clam chowder with IVs on a steady drip (which made us gassy, but HO BOY, WAS IT EVER THE MOST WORTHWHILE GAS I’VE EVER PASSED). It was a delightful week, one that I will always remember with fondness.

But the real point of our trip was for each of us to make a quilt with Great Aunt Elaine.

It was free to make (she has quilting supplies coming out her ears, which she gladly donated to the cause), but we each (Aunt Elaine included) dedicated hours and hours that week to piecing our quilts together.

I chose a more complicated pattern than my sister, which meant that the night before we were due to leave for Arizona, while hers was neatly packed away in an apple box, labeled and ready to go, mine still wasn’t finished (so typical of the sisterly dynamic that’s always existed between the two of us {my sister would leave her Christmas presents IN THEIR PACKAGES for MONTHS so they would stay nice…mine were torn open and busted by December 26th}). As I headed to bed that night, I figured I’d try to work on it when I got home…but I knew that it would be difficult to find the time, since school would be starting up again.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I woke up the next morning to a fully bound, tied, finished, perfect quilt.

I don’t know how long my Great Aunt Elaine stayed up to finish my quilt, but I imagine it was a good portion of the night.

This quilt was my pride and joy; I’d picked out the colour scheme, the pattern, the blocks of fabric; I’d worked hard on it, and so did my Aunt Elaine.

It stayed on my bed all through the rest of high school and college (I say that as though I’m done with college; ha!), up until the day I packed up my bedroom and moved to Canada two and a half years ago.

Once I got here, I found bedding necessities to be quite a different affair than what I was used to in Arizona; a simple lightweight quilt wasn’t going to cut it for the harsh winter months of this frigid northern country. Sadly, I folded up my cherished quilt and stashed it in the hall closet, where it has remained, forlorn, until just last month.

With the (slow, tedious, sneaky, teasing, painstaking) onset of spring, I’ve found myself craving the light, loose feeling of sleeping under simply a sheet and a quilt like I did for the first 21 years of my life. Even though it’s still a bit nippy up here, I decided, for the first time in over two years, to put away the duvet for the summer and haul out my old trusty quilt (although I did need an extra afghan underneath the quilt, and some nights I need yet another blanket layered on top…it’s just not *quite* warm enough for me to pretend I’m in Arizona).

I think this is the first time in Poor Kyle’s life he’s slept under less than a down comforter. I asked him if he minded, and he said that no, he actually liked the change—it was refreshing.

I agreed. Perhaps for different reasons than Poor Kyle was thinking, but I agreed nonetheless.

The cost of this Saturday Steal? Zero dollars, zero cents (for me).

But the worth of this Saturday Steal? Well, let’s just say that I wouldn’t part with it for a million dollars. (Well, maybe a million. But not much less. {No, never mind; I take that back. Not even a million. No amount of money would make up for the loss of this precious heirloom.})

So? Let’s hear it! What’s your Saturday Steal of the week? You have until Saturday at 11:59 p.m. to post your steal!

About Camille

I'm Camille. I have a butt-chin. I live in Canada. I was born in Arizona. I like Diet Dr. Pepper. Hello. You can find me on Twitter @archiveslives, Facebook at, instagram at ArchivesLives, and elsewhere.
This entry was posted in Canada, family, introspection, looking back, Married Life, Overall Good Things, Saturday Steals, this little girl and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Saturday Steals: Great Aunt Elaine Patchwork Quilt

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  2. Ros says:

    That quilt it beautiful. You are so lucky to have had the opportunity to learn how to do it! Hope you enjoy a peaceful Easter weekend. xxx

  3. Chloe says:

    I’ve just come back from our vacation! I’ll post my Saturday Steals, tomorrow! I promise!!
    Because I’ve got some good steals! haha You’ll see :)

  4. Whoa. I made my first quilt ever last weekend. For my visiting teaching companion. And decided I want to quilt forever. It only took me two after-work evenings (well, I was up till two one of the evenings. I was pretty proud of myself.

  5. GRANMAMA says:

    STRAWBERRIES—-your sister and I went to Superstition Ranch MArket and got 1 pound tubs of extra large, prime strawberries for 3 tubs for $1.00. That’s right! I bought 12 of them and made chocolate covered strawberries with the last of the dipping chocolate from YOUR wedding. YUM. I also froze some and am going to make freezer jam with others. It was a steal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (By the way, blueberries were 2 tubs for $1.00. I bought 4.)

  6. dunno says:

    i grew up on handmade quilts. the creation, handiwork, extra pieces of fabric, and the love attached, made them very special to me. i had one made by my gramma morrison from about 5 to 15, i kinda wore it out. and one made by my mom, for some ten years, later. tis a nice way to leave a love note.

  7. Chloe says:

    Boo. The list is closed.
    Anyway, I’ll post here my link. Here is my Saturday (or should I say “Sunday”?) Steal:

  8. Haha, thanks Camille. I’m pretty embarrassed. (I’ve definitely participated in MckLinkys before so I’m not completely a lost cause I guess/hope/who knows … this last time, I tried for several minutes and it was just that the whole site wouldn’t load for me. Not sure why. Boo.) But yay Saturday Steals! And thanks for helping out my incompetent self :)

  9. Chloe says:

    Thanks Camille!! Thanks for adding my link to the list!! :)

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