Yesterday, as I was thinking about writing the post for today a wonderful quilt came in for a short visit. One of the members of the Red Hook Historical Society just wanted to show me and ask what I thought. First I told her I was happy to see it folded with a well washed cotton sheet and in an acid free box. Then we started looking at it in earnest. Hard to see, but there are signatures in the center of every block. There is also a single signature in one bit of the sashing that records a date of 1850. You can also see a note attached to the corner that shows the little bit of provenance. Name of the donor etc. It is stitched on and made of some kind of cardstock weight paper.
Some of the signatures are in better condition than others, the ones that have maintained their black color were done with india ink and possibly even dip pens at that time. The bottom one in this photo is one of them. Others, like the top signature have faded and \or disintegrated the fabrics, and it is likely that these were signed with a lesser quality ink made from black walnut hulls that was common and less expensive at the time. The Historical society has researched some of the legible names and they are all from Red Hook Residents. How awesome that this quilt made it way home again. It was originally made for the rector of the Methodist Church in Tivoli. The quilt was found in Virginia and gifted back to the church, who in turn gifted it to the Historical Society because they couldn’t care for it or store it well. The Historical Society will occasionally display it in their soon to open new building on Cherry Street. I will be sure to let you know when that happens.
Also notice how nice the points are, and the use of fussy cutting in the diamonds. The delicacy of the printing in some of the fabrics is just stunning. The preservation of the color is mostly excellent too. There are a few blocks that have simply wild color combinations, but the overall impression is just beautiful. The hands that stitched this were all of a high level of skill and the quilting is quite uniform leading to speculation that the project was actually sewn by a single individual who collected signatures. The quilting is not fancy, but well planned and executed. The bottom photo allows you to see some of it more clearly. The back is a muslin, and the binding is simply the back brought around to the front. The whole thing was about 74 x 85.
After a somewhat strange Holiday it was wonderful to come back to the shoppe and have a jewel like this brighten my day. It felt like a sign that the new year will be a good one. Well that and the tag from my tea bag said, “Peace or mind comes Piece by Piece” Hard to beat that for me.
I know I have workshops being scheduled that I am really excited about, the next showcase theme is Kaleidoscope. The structure of this simple block gives it a dynamic quality that makes it look more difficult than it is, and when you start to add things like basic fussy cutting, and string piecing to it you have a whole world of exciting quilts to have fun making. I’ll tell you more very soon.
We will be closed on New Years Day, and for a while on Friday afternoon, from 1:45 so I can attend a meeting of the Red Hook Historical Society and talk about quilts. The Block of the Month will meet on Saturday the fifth. Come on in and get that winter project going, for your Piece of Mind.