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Granny's 1930 Sampler


The Lizzy Albright Quilt


The Great Depression that began in October 1929 brought about

severe financial instability throughout the world. Lincoln McHale

(of the famed McHale Oil Company) did not escape hardship but

ultimately managed to survive the ordeal. During those uncertain

times, his daughter, Esther McHale-Winters, passed time and

eased her worries by making forty-two quilt blocks. Her 1930s

sampler quilt is filled with classic examples of timeless traditional

patchwork and appliqué designs. The fabrics used in the quilt are a

snapshot that captures the design aesthetic common during the late

20s and early 30s.

In 1964, ten-year-old Lizzy Albright discovered her Granny’s quilt in

the secret drawer of a cedar chest located in the attic of the McHale

family mansion in Cordelia, Kansas. Granny explained the history

behind the quilt and taught Lizzy the names of the blocks. Whimsical

and peculiar monikers like Bear Paw and Snail’s Trail took Lizzy

on a fantastic fantasy filled with surprise, wonderment, betrayal,

bravery, mystery, and intrigue. Lizzy Albright and the Attic Window,

by Ricky Tims and Kat Bowser, is a favorite with readers and story

enthusiasts of all ages.

By bringing Granny’s quilt to the world at large, quilters and nonquilters

alike can discover the traditional roots of quilting and the

history behind the blocks. Lizzy Albright’s story—and Granny’s

quilt—promote multi-generational interaction. Both young and

old can work together to recreate this legendary and historic quilt.


01 Lizzy pattern cover HR RGBsm.jpg

“So you see, Lizzy, in many ways, this quilt tells that story.”

“What do you mean?” asked Lizzy

“During that time, one of the things people needed most was quilts to keep them warm. They couldn’t afford to just go out and buy

blankets, and they couldn’t even afford to purchase fabric to make a quilt. They had to use what they had on hand. In those days, sacks for

seeds, flour, and sugar were made out of cloth. Times got so bad that when the sacks were empty, they were washed, and mothers would

use the cloth to make clothes for their children. Some companies started printing pretty designs on the sacks, so at least the kids’ clothes looked a bit more cheerful. The leftover scraps were used

to make quilts.”

“That sounds horrible,” sighed Lizzy. “It’s so sad.”

“It was a sad time for sure, and it was during this worrisome period that I spent most of my time making these quilt blocks.

From Lizzy Albright and the Attic Window, Chapter 6

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