Monday, May 10, 2021

Petal Pillow

My great-grandfather was a huckster.  

That caught your attention right?  I was fortunate to have known my maternal great-grandparents although Grandpa passed when I was about 12 years old.  He had worked as a huckster and by that I don't mean the definition that many of us think of as "a cheaply mercernary person."  No Grandpa's work as a huckster fit the description of "person who sells small items, either door-to-door or from a small stall or store".  Actually Grandpa peddled meat, eggs, fruits, and  vegetables at the town square on Saturdays.  Nana Betty always accompanied her Dad to help him.  She was very close to him and adored him.

After the open-air market closed, the two would pack up the leftover wares and Nana would pack a basket.  As they traveled home, she would stop and go door-to-door with a basket of the leftover produce and ask folks, "Would you like to buy some nice celery?" or whatever else was left.

When my Nana was approaching 90 years old, I made a quilt to celebrate her life.  I knew all her stories and included an applique basket on what block celebrating this fond memory of her childhood.

The basket was actually a pocket and I sewed some stuffed carrots for it that I placed in there.  The carrots are packed away separately and I didn't feel like digging them out this morning (sorry the grandkids like to use them when they played store).

At the bottom of the block I had embroidered "Helping Dad"

That round image is actually a photo that I printed on fabric.  It was a pillow Nana at this age.  She gave it to me when I was a young adult and told me this story.  "When I would go door-to-door, there was one house where this woman lived and she was always sewing.  She had these beautiful fabric scraps and some were on the floor.  Finally I asked her if she was throwing those scraps out, could I have them?  She was more than happy to oblige and I made this pillow out of them when I was a little girl."

Of course I still have the pillow:

A while back I found an article from 1927 that provided instructions on making a "Petal Pillow" apparently it was a fad back then:

The pillow was meant to represent a dahlia or a mum. The fabric was folded to simulate petals and attached from the outer edge to the inner circle.  Nana's pillow is made of different colors of sateen.  The article states:

"We all rejoice in the thrill of 'making something from nothing', or in other words, the creation of an article of real utility and beauty from scraps of material which are of no value whatever until our inventive genius is brought into play.  It is really surprising how many pretty things can be evolved from the odds and ends sure to accumulate in every household which boasts a piece-bag to hold them."

Wishing you a day of making things beautiful as my grandmother always did!

Have a safe and happy day!


  1. What a nice story! A great way to start my day.

  2. Such nice stories and a quilt to match! My one grandmother was a banker's wife and never sewed, and the other was busy running a household full of boys and she didn't sew either. I got the sewing bug from my mom, and only started quilting about 7 or 8 years ago. But there's plenty for our kids now!

  3. How fortunate you are to remember your great grandfather. Your story reminded me that my grandmother and my uncle in northern Minnesota sold eggs and vegetables out of their horse and buggy. We've come a long way!

  4. Ah, fun memories. Now folks go to a farmers market. So goad you got to know him. I never met my great grandparents.