Saturday, August 5, 2017

Through the Generations - Diane Ashton

Today I Introduce another of my cousins, Diane Ashton.  Our family trees converge at the branch of our Great-Grandmother Lala Teegarden.

And though Diane is not a quilter, she has plenty of history, story and talent to share...

 "Basically, I don’t quilt.  I have friends who do and took a class years ago from one of them!  And I haven’t taught anyone to quilt.

But I've done a lot of sewing - starting with doll clothes when I was 7, making most of my own clothes with Mom, including my wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses, baby clothes for my babies and fun little boy coveralls, shorts and jackets for my sons.

I remember Grandma (Luna) Weller teaching me to sew on her Singer treadle sewing machine.

After I was paid at my first job, Dad took me to a pawn shop on Larimer Street, LoDo in Denver, CO to buy my first sewing machine! I learned and shared Mom's joy about fabric, colors, prints, textures and the whole creative process. She'd often show me the fabric ideas she had for quilts, other craft projects, and of course, clothes!"

"My Mom- Maxine Ashton- both quilted and collected quilts; My Dad- Russell Ashton- assisted with collecting!" {Diane has 49 quilts}

Russell not only assisted with the collecting, but encouraged the quilting...

Double Wedding Ring Quilt made from a kit given to Mom from Dad. The Quilt was pieced by hand by Maxine on many Steamboat/Maui trips. The piecing, putting together, quilting and binding was finished by Mom's Brown Bag Quilting group, Central Christian Church, Denver, CO, 2010, after Mom died. An honor for them and our family.

Red Machine Quilt Flower Garden Variation- Mom (Maxine) made these machine applique blocks and set them into a top, late 1970's. Mom says: "When it became apparent that I would never get it hand quilted, I sent it to a lady in Kansas to have it machine quilted- I love it!" (All applique is in red- Mom LOVED Her colors!)

Navy Blue Four Patch-with a close up. This is a very large Quilt! Mom pieced the top together at various trips to Steamboat Springs, CO, during 1981. She planned the colors to go with the decor in a bedroom in the family home as a spread. She finished quilting it 2/1997, bound it in 2000. Mom stated "Every stitch is mine!" It was with her when she died 10/8/2007. Again- she worked magic with colors!

Pink Hearts and Flowers made by both my Mom and her mom, Luna T. Weller (pictured below). Fabrics were selected and matched by Luna Weller, 1930s, from her and Mom's dresses. Mom cutout the plain fabric and appliquéd the blocks, mostly in Hawaii. Luna had cut out all the print fabrics. Mom set it together with pink sashing "because all homes in 30's and 40's had a pink bedroom in them! And Mom would've set it together with pink." Quilted by a church friend and finished 1991.

(You may remember another quilt like this from Carol's story...)

As my cousins have been collecting photos and stories for me to include in this series, Mae made a visit to Joan (we haven't heard from her yet).  Joan had located a collection of butterflies ready to be appliqued onto muslin squares.  Joan was unsure of where the butterflies came from, but Mae happily offered to take them and do something with them.  

When I began receiving the photos and stories from Diane this photo was included...

Butterfly Quilt blocks were completed by Luna T. Weller in 1940's after she moved from Wray, CO to Denver, CO. It was then quilted by friends at First Christian Church in Wray. Grandma W. gave it to Mom in late 1970's and Mom bound it.

I was so excited to be able to share with Mae about this butterfly quilt... Mae then shared with me that she had already started on the butterflies she took home with her...

It would seem obvious that Luna was the originator of the collection of butterflies. How exciting that a piece of mystery has been solved.

Do you have a favorite quilt from your Mom's collection?

Yes, One of my favorite quilts is the Sunbonnet Baby Quilt Grandma T. gave to Mom for HS graduation. Sunbonnet Babies were Mom's favorites- she collected 4 others!

Another quilt favorite of mine, is one Mom designed with a Hawaiian quilter artist- it's a flower garden pattern with 12 Hawaiian flower Quilt blocks, hand quilted with Hawaiian-style quilting, representing the ocean waves.

When Mom designed this Quilt, she specified which Hawaiian flowers she wanted represented. She loved the floral beauty of the islands and the history of Hawaiian quilting. I've not been able to put my hands on her note that details the flowers, however, I know the jade green block (lower left corner) is pineapple and jade green block (upper right corner) is breadfruit (ulu). The Quilt was cut, appliquéd, put together and quilted by an Hawaiian artist in Hanalei, Kauai, HI 5/1984-1/1985.

Each flower is cut from one piece of fabric.

Note the amazing, narrow quilting around each flower! One of my favorites.

Did anyone from your Dad's side of the family quilt?

Yes, this Antique "Ohio Star" a part of Russell Ashton's family estate; top put together by my great-great- great grandmother. My great-great, Cora McClelland Ashton Hepperly, was born 9/9/1883 Butler, Indiana. The Quilt was put together and quilted by Mom's quilting group (Brown Bag Quilters), Central Christian Church, Denver, CO, 7/1988.

It's put together with small, brown gingham!

So, though Diane is not a quilter, she like my Grandma Teegarden, Tressie, picked up on other hand-work...

I've done a lot of embroidery-taught by Mom and Grandma - decorative, crewel projects and counted cross-stitch, currently. I've made counted cross-stitch birth samplers for all of my grandchildren, nieces, nephews, over the years.

I remember both Mom and Grandma Weller often had a bag where they kept their "hand work"- Quilt blocks, crocheting, you name it! Mom carried hers with her wherever she went- she was always stitching!

Grandma Weller was a tatter. I have a collection of felt Christmas ornaments that are decorated with tatting. She spent time with me showing me how to tat using a spool and needles.

Fabric - shopping for it, saving it, reusing it, matching it, choosing colors and patterns and planning its use, were all huge parts of my growing up and learning!

Many, many thanks to Diane for sharing her story... and many thanks to you taking the time to read this story.

Remember, you don't have to be a expert quilter. You just have to have a passion for quilts - much like Diane's dad, Russell Ashton, be an encourager and perhaps a collector.

Do you have a favorite quilt that you have made or received?
I'd love to hear from you...


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