Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Family Tree

My mother-in-law has traced her mother's, father's, and husband's family tree back as far as she can possibly go. This was her hobby until she just didn't have any more graveyards or court houses to visit. She had a dear friend who went with her on all of these excursions. They even found out that they were related when they searched old birth and death records. She spent years researching and documenting. The result is a very well put together book that gets updated every couple of years with each birth, death and marriage. Looking back at the old pictures and copies of the documents is like looking back in time.

What does all of this have to do with quilting you ask? Well, knowing my mother-in-laws love for family and documentation, what better way to honor her than with a quilt documenting her family.

The idea came about two years ago when my father-in-law became pretty ill. He's better now, back to 100%. Well as he got better and other quilts were circling in my head, it got moved to the back burner. The spark ignited again with the realization that my husband's brother was diagnoses with a terminal disease. I was afraid that I would loose a valuable piece of this quilt with the loose of a family member and my mother-in-law's quilt wouldn't be complete.

Each member of the family had a piece in this family tree quilt, their hand. A real life sized hand, traced onto fusible web. These hands are the leaves on the family tree. Each leaf also has the name of the owner in the palm to document who is who. In the quilting below the tree, my in-laws names are quilted with the year 2008.

The youngest was about 6 months old when I traced his hand, the oldest is fifty six. All are the descendants of my mother and father-in-law. Kids, grand kids and great-grand kids. She loved the quilt when she received it on Christmas Eve. I hope you enjoy it too.

Heritage Quilter


  1. What a great idea. The little hand at top is so cute.

  2. I love that idea! What a wonderful gift.

  3. Now that's quite a palm tree! Well done, terrific idea!!

  4. love the quilt. such a great idea.

  5. I thought this idea was really good, I'll have to start collecting 'hands'

    Teresa, Saughall Massie, England. UK