Friday, March 24, 2017

Antique Delights - Part 4

Today's excursion through the antique beauties of Miss Rebecca will feature pieced and patriotic quilts. Miss Rebecca apparently had a soft spot for red, white and blue quilts, and the collection reflects that. Let us begin.


I would call this a rail fence design. We spent a lot of time examining this quilt, but this is the only picture I took - a few close-ups would have been nice. Many of the fabrics appear to be cut from clothes - work shirts, dresses, skirts, blouses, and maybe even underclothes. Studying the fabrics was fascinating. Controlled scrappiness. Very nice. And from a distance, do you notice the "weave" look?

Do you think Union Jack when you see this quilt? I do, for some reason. The only name I can find for a quilt in this pattern is Railroad Crossing, and I found it in two different sources, so that is what we'll go with.

I am trying to figure out the method for making this quilt. Does the block consist of the 4 red triangles separated by white with a navy center square? And then the white around it is the sashing? And the navy squares from the center of the block are repeated as cornerstones? That is the best I can come up with. What a conglomeration of seams at those intersections. I suspect the quilter was saying things under her breath as she tried to work her needle through all those seams.

The next quilt is an interesting study, too, but for a totally different reason. How can some fabrics fade so extensively, while others do not? I think I have an answer.



That red polka-dot fabric has withstood the test of time, and those faded Ohio Stars in each square have not. I am of the opinion that the stars were pieced from previously worn clothes. They may even have sat stacked in a box for a good while, waiting on enough blocks to be made for a quilt. When enough stars had been accumulated, the quilt maker then purchased new fabric - the red dot - for setting the blocks together in quite a unique and graphic setting. It seems very plausible, wouldn't you agree? It is somewhat surprising to think that someone would go to the trouble of creating such a unique setting for stars made of old shirts. However, the longer I consider things, I know that no matter what, some quilters want their work to be eye-catching. If they are going to the trouble of salvaging old fabric and turning it into a usable quilt, then that quilt deserves to be attractive. I can imagine lots of our ancestors working hard to have a few pretty things. In homes that were sometimes less than lavish, their quilts might have been some of the only things of beauty they owned.


I will conclude today with this Log Cabin quilt set in the barn-raising style. Center squares are red; the light fabrics are work shirts while the dark fabrics look like scraps from a sewing basket, or possibly discarded dresses and skirts. I can't say that I've ever seen the center handled the way this one is - with the red outline around the 4 center blocks. I wonder if the quilter just did that, or is this typical of the barn-raising setting of Log Cabins.

I seem to be long on questions and short on answers with the posts in this series. I welcome feedback from anyone who happens to have a theory or a more extensive background.

This is Part 4 in my series called Antique Delights. You can click for previous installments. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

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