My mother passed this quilt block along to me this week. It was made by my great grandmother, Minnie Duncan, who was born in 1877 and died in 1968. We shared a birthday. I don't remember her as an active person. My main memory of her was a story she told me when I was little. She lived in Northeast Texas which is populated with pine forests called the Piney Woods. She and her sister were walking in the woods behind their house when they came across a bear. (I'll bet you didn't know there were bears in Texas!) Their faithful dog ran at the bear while my great grandmother and her sister ran away. The dog was killed, but the sisters lived to tell the story.
I'm not sure yet what I will do with this little block, but I love it because it is a mystery. The colors are strange. I thought at first that maybe what I'm seeing as pink had been red and had faded, but behind the seams the fabric is still pink. (Could it be that it fades even without sunlight? I don't know.) There is pink in the print at the corners also. The inside block (the aqua, red, and pink) are sewn by hand. The blue and print are added by machine. Could it be that these were made by two different people? Did she make the inside block before she was blessed with a sewing machine?
The quilt on the left is also very old but is from my husband's side of the family. It was a utility quilt - made only for warmth and not for looks. It is literally falling apart. My husband's Aunt Rubye gave it to us to use as a pallet for our boys. It is so ragged, the insides have become visible. It was a treasure all this time, for inside is an extremely old quilt that is so worn, there is only a ghost image of it left.
The cotton batting was hand carded and all stitching is by hand. I have no idea who might have made the quilt inside, but the outer layer was from the 1930's or 40's, so the inside quilt was much older than that. It turns out people often used a worn quilt as the batting for a new quilt. After all, it was all about making good use of what you had. Aunt Rubye was the daughter of a pioneer Texas preacher (who happened to be my husband's granddaddy), so there is a chance it was a gift and not made by family. We'll never know, but even in the condition it's in now, it's a treasure.