October 22, 2014

Fascinated With Feedsacks...

 We had a special program at our guild meeting last night. Cecelia Reed
brought her vintage feedsack quilts, garments and bags to share with us.

I took over eighty photographs, but have managed to pare it down to ten to share.
 Cecelia's business is called "Pat's Sacks" after her mom, Pat who was a self-
proclaimed "hoarder" of all things related to feedsacks. Not only was Pat's home
decorated with feedsack creations, she had an entire room designated for all of
the vintage pieces she acquired over the years. Cecelia has taken over that role.
 As Pat began her program, she kept saying that the early quilts were boring and
drab. I kept thinking that I couldn't agree. Each of these quilts was an exercise
in color and frugality. Women of yesteryear saved and used every little piece
of fabric they could find to dress or warm their family members and loved ones,
and the designs were anything but boring. There was so much work in each one!
 This particular quilt is actually covered by another quilt in an 
effort to conceal and preserve the blocks beneath that were deteriorating.
Cecelia shared fully-intact sacks, as well as those which had been sewn into
aprons and other items. Even though she only brought a small selection of her 
favorites, there was still a staggering number of them displayed for our program.
Some of the nubby cotton sacks were cut up and sewn into baby (or adult) 
undergarments. Many of the original bags were burlap. Can you imagine 
wearing a pair of scratchy burlap undies every day? Those were the days!

Cecelia did mention that she sleeps on now-soft, cotton feedsack sheets.
Her quote was that sleeping on those vintage sheets is "absolute Heaven".
I was especially taken with this feedsack nighty with a crocheted bodice and 
sleeves. There was a soft, blue ribbon woven through the crocheting. I would
wear this in a heartbeat! I loved the air of nostalgia and those simple days gone by.
We all gasped when Cecelia opened up this Drunkard's Path quilt. So much work!
Likewise, this quilt was made from tiny scraps of vintage feedsacks. Many of these
 quilts were referred to as "summer quilts", because they were made with sacks on the
front and the back, with no cotton batting in between...lightweight for hot nights.
(These certainly don't read "boring and drab" to me. How about you?)
  Cecelia's mother created many of these quilts. She hand or machine pieced them
and then hand quilted them. She was a nationally recognized and awarded quilter.
Looking at her work, it was apparent that she loved creating every one of them.

Pat saved a 2" square of every feedsack she ever came across. Those squares 
were then stored in slip sheets in multiple looseleaf binders - now in her
daughter's possession. They are a definitive record of printed sacks in the United
States, and will eventually reside in an archive in Utah, where a person can
actually earn degree in feedsack expertise! She plans to hand deliver them when 
she decides that she's able to part with them. For now, she and guild members
are able to enjoy the vast wealth of knowledge Pat left in her daughter's hands.
PS. While my friend, Ellen's surgery took longer than expected yesterday, her surgeon is very happy with the results. We stayed in Ft. Myers until late day for a post-op appointment, and when the bandages came off, Ellen could see where she had previously been unable to see. She nearly cried for joy. I was blessed to be with her as we shared her happy results. I took her back home and then I returned home after 6:00. It was a long, tiring and thoroughly miraculous day. She wanted me to tell you, "Thank you from both of us for your prayers and kind wishes."


  1. Donna, how wonderful for your friend! Looking at that drunkards path, i'm wondering if the only quilt my grandma had was feedsacks. it was a drunkard's path in the snowball setting - i recall it so clearly. I don't know what happened to it - somebody probably said, nobody wants this old rag and tossed it. Anyway, that quilt sure brought back memories. Would have loved to see those in person.

  2. Blessings on Ellen's surgery and resulting restored sight. You are an angel my friend. I completely agree with you that these quilts are not at all drab or boring. What a wealth of historical Americana! Treasures that can never be duplicated. How very thankful that Pat's mother cared so deeply for Feed Sacks. May you have much joy today...

  3. What a lovely collection of quilts. Living in the UK, I am unsure about the term "Feed Sacks". Could you explain exactly what these are/were?

  4. How interesting! Those definitely were the days. You had to make due with what you had in the best ways you could.


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Blessings, Donna