Recently I had the opportunity to work on an old family quilt that has seen a lot of years. The pattern is “Darting Minnows” and is unusual because the design is made in the sashing. Sashing are the strips that are between the squares. Usually the squares or blocks have the design and the sashing holds them all together.
Barbara Brackman feels like this pattern goes back to the first half of the 1800s (1820 to 1860). She has a blog posts that deal with historical quilt patterns here.
The quilt was discovered in a house on the family farm in Dickson County, Tennessee. In the corner was a basted scrap of fabric with the written name ‘Julia Gilmore.’ Julia lived in that house all of her adult life, raising three children after her husband died just before the birth of their third child. But why would she put her name on her quilt? I think perhaps she got it from an earlier generation, maybe her mother who indicated that the quilt should go to her daughter.
The borders on the quilt were beyond rescue so, with the owner’s permission, they were removed and a new brown binding was put on (see first photo). Some of the backing fabric was used for repairs on the back of the quilt.
This is all we were able to do at this time. A few repairs were done to the front, but more are needed when resources allow.