Quilting My Family’s History

My Grandmother Bessie Armstrong McCorduck loved her family and their history.  She told us the same stories over and over.  My sister and I took it for granted.  When Bessie dies in 1987 we realized we didn’t remember as much as we thought we did.  We had to work very hard to discover the family names that would tie it all together.  I have made it my mission to tell my family’s story in my quilts.

The first quilt I named “If these Threads Could Talk” made in 2009.  I chose a crazy quilt block to construct a genealogy of my family the Lansing’s & McCorduck’s.  The quilt is made of Dupioni Silk.  My grandparents are embroidered on the top border, with great grandparents on the left & right border.  The blocks include their 5 children, with their children below with all their birth & death dates.  There is a beautiful peacock embroidered on the bottom right.  The peacock represents resurrection, renewal and immortality within the spiritual  teachings of Christianity.

01 2009 If These Threads Could Talk_crop

I grew up on Henderson Street in New York Mills, NY where I lived with my grandparents the McCorducks.  My sister went up the steps in textile Mill No. 3 behind our childhood home and took a picture of the steps looking down.  That picture inspired my to make “In the Shadow of the Mill, footsteps in time” made in 2009.  The quilt is an original design pieced by me.  This quilt chronicles some of my family members who have worked at Mill No. 3 in the past 100 years, in the Village of New York Mills, NY.

02 2009 In the Shadow of the Mill

In our search for family information we discovered our Great Grandmother Sadie Lansing and Great Grandfather Orville Armstrong Lived in Cleveland, NY on the North shore of Oneida Lake.  On the town’s website is a lengthy historical story describing town citizens including our family going off to the Civil War.  That prompted me to make “Yankees in Tara”! made in 2010.

03 2010 Yankees in Tara

My original design “Remember Me”, made in 2013 consists of pieced Lemoyne star blocks and machine embroidered blocks.  There are 22 machine embroidered obituaries from my family the McCorducks, Lansings, and Fischers, the oldest is from 1900.



I am currently working on what I call “The Cemetery Quilt”, I’ll let you know when it is finished.

10 thoughts on “Quilting My Family’s History

  1. Tamara Meyers

    Your quilts are an amazing memorial to your family and a treasure that will be appreciated for many generations to come. They are beautiful works of art that reveal your love for generations past, present and future.


  2. leisaval

    My Armenian grandmother (immigrated from Turkey during the genocide) was a wonderful seamstress, crochet and needlework master. I still have a baby quilt. It was fashioned from pink fabric with gray bunnies around which she hand quilted. I have no idea whose quilt that was! I still have some of her other work. Oh how I wish I had an interest at the time and that she had taught me. My mother did just a little bit of sewing. I did myself (simple home decor/simple fashion). I’ve only been quilting for a couple of years, and I have her original treadle (though I use it as a makeup table). I’ll get around to putting the leather lace on and getting it going. The treasure of hand arts is that it creates lasting remembrances that have high utility and aesthetic values.


  3. Diane Simancek

    I’m wondering if we are related. My maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Opal Dunham of Montrose, Michigan. Another name on your “Yankees in Tara” quilt is Goodnough…a friend’s



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