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Monday, August 29, 2011

Can they be saved ? . . . . .

I went antiquing last week with a friend of mine.  I bought some Christmas things.   I also bought some more wooden spools.  When we got back to her house, she said she had a few things for me.  One was another wooden spool (you can never have enough!) but also two quilts.  She had them stored in a metal storage building with a bunch of boxes, her son's batting helmet, lawn equipment, etc.


This one is in horrible shape.  Click on the picture and see what I mean.  I didn't really look at them very well.  Imagine my surprise when I hung them up to take pictures and saw this.

And this ......



Can you see it?  It was a signature quilt.  The first one says "Julia Bigham -  May 9th 1865".  The second one says "Margret A Pifer - May 14th, 1865.  And the third one says "Susanna Greenwood - May 9th 1865".  It is hard to tell in the photos.  I had to stretch the block a little to get it smooth enough to read it.  Trust me.  Can you believe these were sitting in a storage building?  I'm going to find out where she got these from.

Here is the back of the first one.  The maker hand quilted an overall fan pattern and had a blue plaid for the backing fabric.  There was no binding left.



The second quilt is in better shape.


Those blocks that look red and white are really red and batting.  From what little bits are left in the blocks, it looks like it was the same fabric if not close to the other blocks that are red and green.  I don't know why the green fabric would have been so completely destroyed in some of the blocks and not the others.  Maybe the way the quilt was laying on the bed where the sun shone on it?  Who knows.  And the original color may not have been green.  I may have to investigate some "where the sun don't shine"!  I can't find any labels or markings from this quilt but it looks like it may have been from the same period.


This one had a muslin backing, 1/4" shadow quilting in the blocks and a kind of chevron/cross-hatching but only one direction kind of quilting pattern.


Now, to decide what to do with them.  At the very least, measure carefully and recreate a pattern of both of them.  Can't let a good quilt go to waste!

Blessings, Cathi

22 comments:

Barb said...

No, can't let a good quilt go to waste. One time I had part of a quilt (old) and I made littl pillows out of them...was so cute.

Carol said...

Hi Cathi

Inspite of the condition i think they are amazing! It would be my dream to come across them. I did work at a textile Museum many years ago and I think the only thing that would hold the first one together would be the netting textile conservators use but it would need to attached all over!

Blessings, Carol

Terry said...

I just love that first one! Shame they weren't taken care of a bit better! But they're still treasures! :0)

paulette said...

Incredible...love them both! Made me wonder if someone will be doing this to our quilts 100+ years from now! I hope so! Love the idea of you making a pattern from them!!
Paulette

sunny said...

What a wonderful find! I hope you can salvage at least parts of them. I wish old quilts could talk and tell us their stories.

Tammy ~ A Primitive Place said...

Cathi,
What wonderful old quilts!
Lucky gal on such great finds.
Especially the signature quilt!
I have never been lucky enough to come across one of those.
Well, atleast not one I could afford. ;)
Who cares if they aren't perfect.
I think they still are amazing.
I can't believe their previous owners didn't take better care if these wonderful pieces of history.
Tam

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Saved? I don't know. Recreated? Definitely. My MIL had a quilt with signatures, all dated around the same relative time like yours, it was a going away gift to her parents (her dad was a Lutheran Pastor)when they took a call at a new parish. It was in similar condition having been stored for decades in the basement. Perhaps a local church/records might hold a key to your investigation? Good luck!!

Colleen said...

How wonderful! That signature quilt is a piece of history :o) I would be looking up all those names!

Dawn said...

What a special thing to be gidted with these two.
I would leave them as is and display in a cupboard. Fun project to research the names.

sosarahsew said...

Wonderful finds! I think I would keep them intact also. And of course recreate them as well. Great history.

Brandie said...

You hit the jackpot! Who cares and the wear, they're Beautiful! Lucky girl!

Sandie ~call me crazy said...

Wow! what a great find! I would treasure them. :-) Have a happy week!

Karen said...

I just did a date search about the Civil War. Ended in 1865. I wonder if this quilt was made as a war fund raiser. The quilt is in bad shape but it is still a treasure.
What kind of wood spools? I love them but I don't think I have even one. I saw some in antique shop on vacation and was going to buy some and then forgot to pick them up. What do you do with them?

Me and My Stitches said...

What treasures! I don't care how bad of shape quilts are in, they are still wonderful.

deb said...

wow they are wonderful!!!!!

Libby said...

I'm swooning a little. Okay, a lot!

Joanna said...

The blocks and quilting in the first quilt are beautiful. Too bad about its condition. And the second is so nice too. What talented women made those quilts.

Teresa said...

Interesting quilts. I wonder if on the second quilt, the fabri that has desintegrated was all the same fabric.

Maybe you could get enough from the quilts to frame them - those signatures are really interesting. What what they used to sign with that it held up all this time.

Vicki said...

I am like Teresa on the 2nd quilt. the greens could have been 2 different fabrics, but at the time they looked alike, same color. I have a quilt that my great aunts made from pink and blue. the blues all faded different. they started out the same. I got it in 1972 new. Vicki

Colleen said...

Great find. They are absolutely fantastic...even in poor shape. Good luck investigating!

happeningswithLana said...

Wow! What great finds. Neat with the labels on them.

Carrie P. said...

OH, that makes me want to cry knowing they were stored that way.
A signature quilt! Awesome!
The red and green is a neat pattern.