Saturday, May 16, 2015

A Discovery

Archaeology has always fascinated me, and I think it's quite possible that I experienced the same feeling of unexpected thrill and excitement that an archaeologist feels when he or she has unearthed an amazing discovery. Under the guest room bed, the one you see in nearly every quilt I photograph for this blog, an old quilt was stored away in a tub, and I do not remember it at all. I don't remember when it was given to me; I don't remember putting it in the storage tub; I don't remember sliding it under the guest bed.

Is this not a beauty!?! I still cannot believe I had a quilt stored under the bed which I'd forgotten about. Mostly, I thought tubs of photographs (from the pre-digital era) were stored there. I was on a mission to find pictures of a particular person that a former student had requested. Instead of finding any such pictures, I found this!

I've removed the lid obviously, but would you not squeal with delight at seeing this peeking at you from the corner?

I studied this quilt a bit and I've determined that my grandmother did not make it. Several details brought me to this conclusion. First, while she did make lots of Sunbonnet Sue quilts, I'd never seen any of hers that were outline stitched with black floss. Second, the quilting design looks nothing like any of the others I've seen on Grandma's quilts. And finally, the quilting stitches are not to her standard of neatness. My grandmother made neat and tidy stitches, and while the quilting on this is very tiny, the stitches are somewhat haphazard.

I took the quilt with me to Grandma's last evening when we visited. Her health has failed so much in the last 6-8 months, and her memory has suffered as well. I hoped that if she saw this quilt she would remember it and tell me who it belonged to and why she'd given it to me. (Based on other items in the tub, I knew it had come from her.) Alas, she couldn't recall it. She did, though, confirm that she hadn't made it, and cited the same things I mentioned above - the outlining and the quilting - as different from her own.

This quilter-turned-archaeologist has some lingering questions, and I fear that the answers will never come. In tomorrow's post, I will show you some of the other things I uncovered in this "dig."

Happy Quilting, Friends!


  1. Wow, what a beautiful quilt. Your first sentence drew me in because I too have often been fascinated with archaeology. What a great find that quilt is.

  2. What a treasure to unearth. It also reinforces the importance of labels too. I am guilty of never putting them on my quilts although I keep meaning to.


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