Tuppence Quilt - A Modern Grandmothers Flower Garden Quilt

I made this Grandmothers Flower Garden quilt early in the Covid lockdowns. Do you ever find yourself wanting to remember that time? Often it can feel like the whole world has moved on, glad to have it over. I'm glad we're in the next season also, but I still find myself wanting to dwell on it. To process it. To feel and not forget.

tuppence quilt, a modern grandmothers flower garden quilt

Sometimes I Feel Myself Needing to Remember

In March 2020, we had just moved into our first home, which felt like a complete miracle of timing. A miracle I said a prayer of thanks for many times over in the long years of uncertainty that followed. Before we moved, I don't think I had ever been so stressed. We had a mortgage for our new house build, while still paying rent. Tales of Cloth wasn't yet earning enough to pay me, and was only just covering the wage of my single employee. When it didn't, it came out of Tim's pay. 

When we did our family budget, the only spending we had complete control over was our streaming services, and our grocery bill. We didn't tip over into even more debt if I stuck to a budget of $100 per week for groceries, avoided any unexpected catastrophes like the car breaking down, and put nothing on the credit card that I couldn't pay back straight away. I became a total pro at cooking beans and rice.

We moved into our new home at the same time as my employee moved on and I decided to not to replace her. Almost overnight, we stopped paying rent and I started paying myself a wage. The relief was unspeakable. 

And then, a week later, the world closed down and my husband went on leave without pay. 

I remember the stress and the uncertainty of that time, but also my deep sense of gratitude. We were so lucky! Imagine if Covid had hit just one month earlier. We had so narrowly avoided a darker pit, that the one we were in felt all the more manageable. 

tuppence quilt, a modern grandmothers flower garden quilt blocks
tuppence quilt, a modern grandmothers flower garden quilt top

Grandmothers Flower Garden Quilts - A Beautiful Heritage

Even though English Paper Piecing was the common method of patchwork piecing in England from the 1800s, it took off in America during the Great Depression of the 1930s, which was during a huge resurgence of quilting in the country. And, the star of the show at that time was the Grandmothers Flower Garden Quilt

We often think of it being obvious that folks would take up patchwork when things are tough, because they need to use up every scrap. We assume they quilted out of necessity because they couldn't afford blankets or to let go of disused clothing. But actually, a big drive behind the patchwork boom of the 30s, was to reconnect with traditional crafts.

Women didn't just cobble together what they had, but they spent money on patchwork supplies. They designed and shared blocks, they started mail order businesses selling templates or were paid a small income from sending their blocks into the local newspaper. They entered national competitions in the hope of winning both financial prizes and recognition. In the huge upheaval of raising a post-war family in severe economic times, with another war on the horizon, women made quilts. They made quilts to work with their hands again, to connect with themselves and others, to celebrate a new bride, to raise money for a family in need, or to make social and political commentary. Isn't it beautiful how like us they were? 

I remember stitching together these flowers and remembering them. I felt grateful for where I was, and grateful for these women who were just like me. Women who modeled making beautiful quilts from scraps, and making beauty in tough times. I don't know why it makes such a difference to look back and find people just like you, but it really does. It's why it's so important to remember.

tuppence quilt, a modern grandmothers flower garden quilt blowing in the wind

So many of us felt that pull during Covid to look back to the old crafts. We cooked and baked bread and crocheted and wove and made videos and quilted. Sometimes we were too tired and sad to do any of it. And, sometimes the social dislocation and uncertainty drove us to create. Because when you have no control over the world around you, or even your plans for tomorrow, you can create a little world of peace and purpose with your hands. Something that at the end of the day reminded you that you were here, and you did something that can't easily be undone. Something that lives on to tell your story.

tuppence quilt, a modern grandmothers flower garden quilt

Would you like to make your own Grandmothers Flower Garden Quilt?

Do you feel the pull to record your story in stitches? Or, do you have a Grandmothers Flower Garden Quilt in your family history? Tap into the beautiful heritage of these quilts and record your own story by stitching Tuppence Quilt, a modern take on the Grandmothers Garden Quilt. It's one of three different EPP Hexie Quilts in the Small Change Quilts Pattern, available below.

1 comment

  • Scottie Hugghis

    I purchasing you Etsy shop and you have not responded. I have not other way to reach you. Please communicate.

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