Grammy’s 75th Birthday Quilt

My Grammy was born in 1933, the youngest in a family of six children. She married my grandfather in 1951 and within five years had three young girls. About a decade later she had one more daughter and then a divorce. She raised my mom and my aunts with very few resources in a time when divorce was still stigmatized. She became a grandmother when she was 41 and before long I was calling her Grammy.

Grammy's 75th Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated her 75th birthday with all the food, laughter, and love that a big family gathering brings. She was surrounded by all of her daughters and almost all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as she opened her gifts.

Grammy's 75th Birthday Quilt

The gift from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren was a quilt with each of our handprints on it. I used four colors — pink and orange for the girls, blue and green for the boys — and had everyone paint their hand and then press it onto white Kona cotton. After each handprint dried and was set with the iron I trimmed the fabric into a wonky square. I then used two inch strips from Amy Butler’s midwest modern line to frame each of the handprints log-cabin style. Next each frame was surrounded by more white kona cotton and squared up to 14 inches.

Grammy's 75th Birthday Quilt - the Back

I arranged the squares with five filler log cabins and one plain white square to make a 5 x 5 quilt top that measured about 68″ x 68″. The back is from Full Moon Forest by Tula Pink. The strip down the middle has 19 strips — one for each of Grammy’s 19 grandchildren and great-grandchildren — and four bigger rectangles — one for each daughter. My sentimental — or semi-mental, as Amanda Jean would say — side really came through in this project.

Grammy's 75th Birthday

And speaking of Amanda Jean, I knew I could trust her with quilting such a special project for me, and fast — you may remember my nephew was born less than two weeks ago. She stippled the quilt around all of the handprints and left an empty space in the middle for the only handprint I was missing…. Grammy’s.

Grammy's 75th Birthday

Happy 75th birthday Grammy!

Grammy's 75th Birthday
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30 Responses to “Grammy’s 75th Birthday Quilt”


  1. 1 amy July 27, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    gorgeous and so so touching! Wow!

  2. 2 melissa July 27, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Jennifer, that is the BEST gift I’ve ever heard of. How wonderful.

  3. 3 Kristena July 27, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    Wow! That’s incredibly sweet.

  4. 4 jen July 27, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    wow, absolutely beautiful!!

  5. 5 Valerie July 27, 2008 at 5:03 pm

    Wow, what a special gift. You did a great job.

  6. 6 erin July 27, 2008 at 6:18 pm

    such a great gift!
    and you were smart to send it to amanda jean.
    crazy fast that girl!

  7. 7 melissa s. July 27, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    what an amazing gift. it’s beautiful!

  8. 8 sue July 27, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Oh what an amazing present you gave your grandmother. How precious and what a magical time keeper it is too.

  9. 9 Katie July 27, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    what a gorgeous quilt! I love all the little meanings too.

  10. 10 Courtney July 27, 2008 at 8:09 pm

    really lovely and special.

  11. 11 inga July 27, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    very cool!! so much detail went into it!!

  12. 12 Lemon Tree Tami July 28, 2008 at 2:04 am

    What a brilliant idea for a memory quilt! Your grammy looks like she enjoyed the experience of hand printing just as much as opening the present.

    Our family made a similar type of quilt to celebrate our grandparents 60th wedding anniversary but theirs was made with ink jet fabric prints of family portraits. Hmm, this would also make a delightful quilt for a newborn. 🙂

  13. 13 Louise July 28, 2008 at 6:33 am

    Such a great idea, and so beautifully done!

  14. 14 ozjane July 28, 2008 at 6:40 am

    What wonderful thinking, planing and execution. Congratulations.

  15. 15 sally July 28, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Oh Jennifer, what a beautiful gift for your grandmother! I’m sure she will cherish it forever.

  16. 16 amandajean July 28, 2008 at 10:32 am

    that last photo of your grandma made me smile. she’s so cute with her orange hand. 🙂

    you did a fabulous job on the quilt. it’s beautiful and you should be so proud!

  17. 17 josie July 28, 2008 at 10:37 am

    What a wonderful, meaningful gift.

  18. 18 edith July 28, 2008 at 10:56 am

    What an awesome gift! I know she’ll treasure it for many years to come.

  19. 19 Anina July 28, 2008 at 11:13 am

    Wow! How absolutely WONDERFUL!

  20. 20 Danetta July 28, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    I love this quilt and the story that goes with it. What a great look on your Grammy’s face as she opened it.

  21. 21 pricklypearbloom July 28, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Wow, that is A. Mazing. What a great gift. I’ll bet she was thrilled.

  22. 22 Thimbleanna July 28, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    OhMyGosh! It’s beautiful!!! Your post brought tears to my eyes!

  23. 23 Jennifer July 28, 2008 at 7:07 pm

    What a great job and an amazing and thoughtful gift. I think out of all the blogs I read, yours has the most project inspiration 🙂

  24. 24 Jess in MA July 28, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    Wow, that is beautiful! What a thoughtful and wonderful gift! I am sure many a quilter will be inspired by such a project. An the secret math of the numbers of daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren just makes it that much more special. Amazing.

  25. 25 emily July 29, 2008 at 9:54 am

    this is spectacular. the finished product, the project, the sentiment, the cooperation, the whole entire thing just exudes love and family. spectacular.

  26. 26 sheree July 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    WOW!! Her expressions in the first and last pictures say it all. This is such a great gift…thoughtful, meaningful and sooo gorgeous! Great job and happy birthday to your Grammy!

  27. 27 molly July 29, 2008 at 11:52 pm

    that is an amazing gift. I love all sentiments behind it and the special details you added to the quilt–like the squares on the back. So amazingly thoughtful, j.

  28. 28 Margie July 30, 2008 at 9:23 am

    I had tears in my eyes reading this. What a beautiful gift.

  29. 29 gkgirl August 4, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    what a gorgeous idea!
    and the look on her face says it all!

  30. 30 Heidi December 31, 2008 at 12:58 am

    Does your friend do orders for quilts?


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