Tuesday, September 18, 2012

EVERY QUILT HAS A STORY

Tuesday is Quilt Guild Day.  This morning was a particularly long meeting but Marcella gave a cute program called "Dressed to the Nine's".  I wondered what dressing to the Nine's had to do with quilting.  She talked about nine patch blocks that were not your ordinary, traditional nine patch block.  She told us one meaning of "dressed to the nines" had something to do with the gloves women wore that had 9 buttons going up the arm but as you can see, I wasn't paying really close attention and I didn't quite get all the facts to the meaning.  I was probably talking to Judy when I should have been listening.  I did google the meaning of the phrase, and there doesn't seem to be a known origin of the phrase, just lots of assumptions and yesterday we discussed what assuming does.  I wasn't able to stay for the sewing day in the afternoon.  I'm sure they got lots of WeeCare quilts completed though.

This evening was my second quilt guild and I loved, loved, loved the program.  Carol brought her husband's great, great, great, great grandmother's quilt.  I hope I put enough greats in there.  And every quilt has a story.  Carol tells us that the great, great grandmother passed away and no one did anything with her home or her possessions for over 10 years.  Finally they began the process and were almost though when one of the relatives asked if they cleaned out a certain cubby hole closet way up high.  They had not.  A ladder was secured and shoved way back in the back was a "sugar sack" (quite unique in itself) that had rag strips shoved in it.  The sack was thrown on the floor and kicked aside numerous times, almost thrown away numerous times, when another relative decided to check out the rag strips in the sack.  Low and behold, in the bottom of the sugar sack, under all those rag strips, was this quilt.  It was made by the 4-great grandmother before she married her husband who was a general in the Confederate Army. After the war, they married, had 3 children and then moved to Brownwood TX where her sister lived.  The quilt is awesome!  It has a few stains but the fabric is in pristine condition and the design and quilting are fabulous.  Another interesting fact is that there is no batting in the quilt.

I didn't have a tape measure with me but I'm guessing the quilt is probably about 85-90" or more square.  I'm pretty sure those tables are 6' tables and as you can see, it hung off the table on the far end quite a bit.

She pieced this quilt Miss S of 1866 (which we assume means Mississippi, September 1866 as she lived in Pontotoc Mississippi at the time.  Her initials and last name are on the top center block.  The handwork is counted cross stitch in the fabric weave.  It is very tiny, probably only about 1/8" high.  The centers of the blocks they are embroidered in aren't much bigger than a quarter or silver dollar.



This cross hatching is probably just over 1" apart, no more than 1 1/4" apart and look how tiny those stitches are!

And what if no one had checked the cubby hole storage or thrown the sugar sack out without looking in it?
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2 comments

  1. I read this when you posted it, and never thought about it again. But, last night I slept in my great aunt's hospital room; and I woke up this morning wondering why would a woman go through the trouble of quilting, appliqueing, ? , a quilt and then hide it. My imagination ran wild, do you suppose she made it dreaming of another man? If so, did he not survive the war? Or did he come back a different man?

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  2. Do you suppose it felt like betrayal to think of sharing it with her husband? After all her dreams while working on it? But we do know, whatever it was, she never gave it up. She could have given it away, she could have burned it. But no, she kept it hidden which suggest secrets.

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