Picking Up the Pieces…and Quilting Them Together

Carolyn Lott knew a good thing when she found it hidden away in an antique store many years ago. She rescued a stack of handmade quilt blocks and finished the project that had been started by a stranger. Photos by Chantel Lott

Carolyn Bennett Lott knew a good thing when she found it hidden away in an antique store nearly five years ago. She rescued a stack of handmade quilt blocks and finished a project that had been started by a stranger a long time ago. Photos by Chantel Lott

 By Carolyn Bennett Lott

Late one Saturday afternoon in June 2010, my husband and I were travelling in our motor home in the St. Cloud, Minnesota area, and we stopped in a downtown antique store, as we often did. I spied a large stack of quilt blocks and recognized the pattern as “Grandmother’s Flower Garden.”

Because of the fabric, I knew they were old. They had been cut with shears, and the seams stitched by hand. These blocks appeared to be pieced all by the same person.

I looked closer and thought of my grandmother, who taught me to piece quilts. She, too, cut by shears and stitched by hand. I couldn’t help but think that someone’s grandmother may have patiently pieced these two-inch hexagons into blocks so long ago.

Their rescue became essential.

The gentleman tending the store offered, “Those are $2.50 each, ma’am.”

Pricey for my taste, so I offered the crisp $100 bill that had been tucked in my wallet.

He responded, “Ma’am, I can’t let them go for that…. that’s just a little over a $1.00 each.”

I counted 75 blocks; not enough for a complete quilt. So, back to the display went the blocks.

Eyeing me, the gentleman offered again, “The more you buy, the cheaper they are.”

The news renewed my determination. I continued to browse and had found a yellow hankie with crochet edges and a small cut-work tablecloth with four matching napkins when my husband re-entered the area saying, “C’mon, Mama, we need to go before you buy the whole store!”

I marched directly to the quilt blocks and added them to my hankie, tablecloth, and napkins. Reaching the counter, I made the gentleman an offer. “Sir, I will give you this $100 bill for the hankie, tablecloth, and all the quilt blocks.”

This sale was better than no sale. So at 4:30 on Saturday afternoon, we came to an agreement.

Exasperated he said, “Oh, all right, go ahead and take them.”

I hastily handed him the cash and vacated the store.

The seeds for Grandmother’s Flower Garden were planted that day, and I had a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing the blocks would have a proper place in history.

I assembled the quilt over the next three years during our continued summertime travels by using newer blocks to create a king-sized coverlet. Quilting finalized the efforts in the summer of 2014.

Name: Grandmother’s Flower Garden

Hand-pieced partly by: An Unknown Individual

Finished by: Carolyn Bennett Lott, Grenada, MS

Hand-quilted by: Geri Hammons, Gore Springs, MS

Size: King Coverlet

Value: Priceless


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