As the new season is upon us and the heat is retreating, I celebrate by collecting seeds.
These seeds represent hopes for next year. It is amazing that each seeds holds the code for making a beautiful flowering plant. The larkspur gets scattered now, to winter in the soil. The other two will be planted toward the end of the spring when the earth is adequately warmed by the sun.
This Tree of Life quilt, circa 1850-1875, has a new chapter to it’s story. I date it thus because red and green quilts were very popular during that period, plus the tiny stitching and materials support my supposition. If I can pin down the maker’s life dates, we might have something more definitive.
The binding and edges were quite worn so I removed 1″ from three sides, and 2.5″ from the top. This allowed me to have fabric for repairing the 2 tears that remained (open previous post Tree of Life). A older fabric removed from another quilt was used to rebind the whole quilt. The beautiful cotton batting was made at home. When the upper edge was removed I could see the layers of cotton that were laid together after they were carded.
The brown fabric was originally green, and most likely home dyed. The reason I think this is because of what I found in one of the sashing strips. This close-up shows some sort of printing that would have been on the original cloth. Store-bought cloth would not have printing on it like this. When dyed, it must have been a dark enough green that the printing didn’t show. I expect that the green faded so badly because it was not a stable dye – sunlight and washing would have done the damage. What about the two darker green triangles? Probably a different fabric put in the dyepot that held the color better. Another interesting aspect is the cloth used for the back. Folded to the front as a binding, it is very loosely woven, much like cheesecloth.
I still don’t know who made this quilt. The owner is a little unsure, but has given me some names which I can research through census, marriage, and death records. There may be a lost chapter of this story that will be recovered.
Let me share a picture of the quilt that was brought to me yesterday for repairs.The provenance is unclear, but it is fairly old, made in either Alabama or Mississippi. The quilting stitches are tiny. The fabric that appears to be brown was actually green that faded. The edges are fragile and there are a few torn places (See upper left area where light shines through.)
The challenge is to what is best for the quilt, maintain it’s integrity, and accommodate the desires of the owner. I will post again when there is more to report.
This year I allowed the fringe of wild Black-Eyed Susan plants around the edge of the woods to prosper. They have been glorious.
Yesterday I cooked up a small dyepot for 3 skeins of wool embroidery yarn. The trick was to not over-cook the flowers. The dye liquor looked fairly brown, and with the addition of a pinch of alum and cream of tarter, I still got a nice yellow.