The Town of West Newbury is celebrating our bicentennial in 2019, and I was asked to create a quilt that reflected some portion of our town’s history. West Newbury is the home of America’s comb industry, started in 1759 by Enoch Noyes. At the time of the incorporation of the town, the comb industry was thriving, and it continued to thrive into the early 1900’s. I thought that combs would create such neat, graphic shapes. I hoped to create a quilt that referenced the past but appeared modern in it’s design. As you can see, I staggered the comb blocks and created a negative space column. I used 4 different comb designs that I based on 4 combs from our historical society’s collection. The date, 1759, is created in improvisationally styled numbers. And I included some tines on each numeral; a favorite detail of mine!
I quilted in straight lines, spaced 1/2″ apart, horizontally with Aurifil thread. I used 100% cotton batting, my favorite for this type of quilting.
In some of the more open sections of the quilt, I created irregularly shaped crosshatched patches of quilting, like the one you can see in this image. The quilt finished up at about 54″ x 60.”
Here’s a process shot from earlier on. After creating all the paper pieced blocks and sewing the quilt top together, I removed all of the foundation papers and then basted the quilt top to prepare it for quilting. You can see the basted quilt in this image.
This is a shot taken while working on the horizontal quilting lines.
If you are local, we are planning a talk to be held at the public library in January. I will provide more information about that soon. This quilt will travel during the bicentennial year to be used for curriculum at the schools. Then it will hang in the public library as a gift from the West Newbury Cultural Council.
This quilt was a challenge, requiring a lot of labor! But it was an honor to be asked to make it and I am pleased that I will be able to visit it any time I want because it will be hard to part with it!