Great Grandmother Elgena's Quilt

Cindy Bonnell © 2007

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In September I was paying a visit to my 82-year-old mother in Wichita, Kansas. She always saves things for my Crazy Quilt stash. This time she gave me some nice things, but she also presented me with three quilts, one from each generation before me.

There is a very simple sane quilt that my mother, Loma, made. My mother also finished a sane quilt that my grandmother, Clara, pieced, but did not finish before she died at the age of 88.

Finally, a crazy quilt that my great grandmother, Elgena, made sometime before her death in 1906, which makes it at least 100 years old.

I vaguely remembered that someone in the family had made a crazy quilt. I remember seeing one when I was a child, but I had no idea what had happened to it. One time my mother said that I had it, and that worried me, because if I had it I didn't know where. You can imagine my delight when my mother “found” it and decided to give it to me.

Great Grandmother Elgena and Family

Her Quilt

My great grandmother was a farmer's wife and mother of at least nine children, including one set of twins. My grandfather was her youngest child. She died when he was 16 years old. Her name was Elgena Garanson. She and her husband Claus emigrated from Sweden sometime after their first two children were born. They settled on McDowell Creek south of Manhattan, Kansas and remained there for the rest of their lives.

Details of the blocks:


The Quilt is approximately 77”x 65”. It consists of six blocks, each measuring approximately 34”x 25”. It has many small patches, embroidered with very small, neat stitching. The quilt was used as an everyday quilt and several of the patches are shattered or missing, but the stitching is all intact. My mother thinks she remembers my grandmother using it at one time when she was young. It's just a homely quilt but it means so much to me and I know how much work went into it.

It is so much fun to look at the stitching and identify each stitch that I also know how to do. It makes me feel a connection to this ancestor that I never knew, never even knew her name, until I inherited her quilt.

I now have three generations of quilts and hope I can add one, too – a crazy quilt, of course.

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