Hi – I am Mary Anne Ciccotelli and I live in Pelham New York (20 miles north of New York City). I was born and raised in a small Idaho farming community. I became a "true" quilter in 2000. At that time when people would ask me how long I had been quilting I would get really nervous and not know exactly how to answer this question. Then I realized that I could not remember when I started quilting because I cannot remember when quilting had not been a part of my life. In fact, this past summer we celebrate my 50 1/2 Birthday by hanging a lot of my quilts and while preparing for this big event I discovered that I had made at least one quilt in each of the decades of my life.
I am privileged to have six generations of quilts in my home. I love sharing my quilting legacy story. Check here for a brochure. [PDF file]
Here is a little about the quilters in my quilting legacy:
1st Generation – My Grandma
The oldest quilt or piece of a quilt I have is this framed piece of a Double Wedding Ring quilt made by my great-grandmother for my mother as a wedding gift. My mother was storing her quilt on the top shelf of her closet. The closet had a ceiling light and the quilt got pushed up against the bulb and started to burn and turned into a swiss cheese double wedding quilt. When my niece was a teenager, she took what was left of this quilt and had pieces of it framed for each of my family members. I am kind of glad that this happened, because I am the youngest of three girls and I would have never been in line to inherit this quilt.
2nd Generation – My Grandma
Each granddaughter had a quilt in her trousseau made by my Grandma. This is the quilt that she made for me. What I really remember about my Grandma is the stale cookies that she always had in her cookie jar. I am so thankful that I have this quilt as a tangible memory of her and her workmanship.
3rd Generation – My Mother
My mother taught me to sew at a young age. I remember spending many afternoons playing under the quilting frames while she and neighborhood women quilted the hours away. Following the example of her grandmother and mother, my mother has made a quilt (or quilt top) for each of her granddaughters for their wedding. Later in her life she used all the double knit polyester to make nine-patch block quilts. She loved to make a tied flannel baby quilt for family members or friends’ new baby.
4th Generation – Me
My sister and I decided that it would be really neat to make a special quilt for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. We sent each of the family members a plain piece of fabric with instructions to decorate it however they wanted. The completed blocks were sent back to me. I then pieced all the blocks together. At the time, I was a single parent and working full time. There was no way I was going to have the time to hand-quilt it. So I purchased a book about machine quilting and a whole new realm of possibilities began to open up to me. This is the first quilt that I machine quilted.
Since that first machine quilted quilt in 1992 I have practiced and practiced to improve my machine quilting skills. In 2000 after discovering that you can do more than blocks and sashing and have never looked back. I love using all different kinds of embellishment to give the quilt the finishing touches that it needs. I also love to make folded hexagons. I am always looking for innovative projects to use folded hexagons on. Visit my website to see many of these projects that I have designed.
I also offer a tutorial on The Needle and Thread Approach to the Folded Hexagon [PDF file].
5th Generation – My Daughters
My oldest daughter Emily made her first quilt when she was around 13 years old. Of course when she said she wanted to make a quilt we went to the sewing room and cut up a bunch of scraps and she made nine-patch blocks because that is what Grandma did. Not to be outdone by her older sister, Jennie made her first quilt at the age of 10.
6th Generation – My Granddaughter
My five year old granddaughter made me a quilt for my 50th birthday present. The quilt is called "Tricky Square". She named it this because each square has a match except for two of the squares. Can you find the tricky squares?
The Generations Unite
Last April I completed a quilt titled The Generations Unite.
The inspiration for this project was the embroidered blocks that I found in my mom’s hope chest after her death in 2000. What a wonderful opportunity is was for me to bring the work of four generations together in this quilt. The label on the quilt states; “This quilt was made by the hands and feet of four generations. Not wanting to leave the other two generations out, I included design elements that represent all six generations of quilters in my family. I had the opportunity of seeing this quilt hang in the IQA show in Houston this past Fall. You can see a video, Show Us Your Quilt, produced by Bonnie McCaffery that includes a segment of me (starting at 5:20) with this quilt in Houston. You can read more about this project here.
I am so thankful to be a member of a church that teaches the importance of family and recording family history. I am also thankful that my ancestors followed these guidelines and took the time to write parts of their life story. I appreciate the family history work that my mother did. It is because of her hard work in collecting and organizing this information that I have the stories about family quilters to make these quilts even more special.
Each of us has a quilting legacy, it may be six generations like mine, maybe you are lucky enough to have seven generations already or maybe you are the first generation. It doesn’t matter. What I hope is that you record the stories that go along with the quilts and the quilter that are a part of your quilting legacy.
I would love to hear about your quilting legacy.