Friday, August 21, 2009

1907 Redwork Signature Quilt, Part I

One of the things I’m ga-ga for is antique textiles. I love old quilts, hankies, napkins, fabric, you name it. I wish they could talk to me and tell me their story. Last year my wish was granted (sorry, no talking fabric). I received a call from a nice lady asking me to turn her bedspread into a wall hanging. “It’s been in the family for years, and I want it out where everyone can see it.” Sure, says I, and since she was local, I went to her house to see the bedspread. I was thunderstruck when she brought out a perfect example of early 20th century redwork. I was awestruck by how well preserved it was, and it was a signature quilt to boot! My mouth fell open and I couldn’t speak. I heard angels singing. Then I heard my little voice tell me, “Shut your mouth and straighten up! Be a professional for crying out loud!”

The bedspread, without the ruffle, measures 62” x 80”, and has 10 rows of 8 blocks each. The client told me it was a wedding gift to a great-great aunt, and had started life as a coverlet. The ruffle was added some time later, but she didn't know when. I had been commissioned to repair split seams and embroidery, and turn it into a quilted wall hanging so it could be displayed. What a career highlight! Then after my head quit buzzing, I realized everything had to go off without a hitch. ACK! ACK! Where’s my paper bag to breathe into? Why did I say yes?!

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