Pillowcases, Doilies, and Hankies – Oh My!

When Aunt Elaine passed away in February of 2019, her daughter, Elan (my sister/cousin), sent me home with Aunt Elaine’s embroidered and crocheted pillowcases and a few doilies. I also had a stack of vintage tablecloths, but that’s for another post!

connie ward girl with a past family history genealogy heirloom quilt ancestor Elaine Shuman Elan McMahan pillowcases vintage linens hankies doilies

Elaine and Elan, two of my most favorite people in the whole world

I had no idea what to do with these treasures, but after some online snooping, I had a plan. And that plan now hangs on my bedroom wall.

connie ward girl with a past blog genealogy family history heirlooms pillowcases vintage linens Elaine Shuman doilies hankies

Heirloom quilt made February 2020

You can see pieces of pillowcases, lace, hankies, doilies, and pot holders, all made by four generations of women: Emma Anderson Ohman, her daughter Elna Anderson Hunsaker, her daughters Edith Hunsaker Bronson and Elaine Hunsaker Shuman, and Edith’s daughter Connie Bronson Ward (me!).

It definitely was a little scary to make that first cut in a pair of heirloom pillowcases that looked brand new, but as the project developed it was fun to figure out how best to display these items in the 8″ hexagon shape I had chosen.

connie ward girl with a past family history genealogy heirloom quilt vintage linens pillowcases handkerchiefs doilies

All of the important historical information is written across the top of the quilt.

My wonderful friend, Deb, is the “finisher” of my projects and this one was no exception. She makes everything look beautiful.

connie ward girl with a past family history genealogy heirloom quilt Debra Holmes pillowcases vintage linens doilies hankies Elaine Shuman Elna Hunsaker Edith Bronson Emma Ohman

Freshly quilted, ready for binding.

My 98-year-old mom was so happy to see these heirlooms preserved forever (many were made by her).

connie ward girl with a past family history genealogy heirloom quilt vintage linens pillowcases doilies hankerchiefs Edith Bronson

Connie and mom, Edith Bronson

The quilt was so much fun to design and sew. I showed it to my two sisters and ended up with more boxes full of vintage linens from their cedar chests. So two more quilts are almost finished in record time, thanks to COVID-19. I will post pictures after they are quilted.

What to do during quarantine? Gather up those vintage linens from your family and let your imagination run wild!

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