A Textile Inheritance

Amy FriendUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Over the summer, I lost an old friend and recently learned that she left me an inheritance. I would like to share some of the items with you because I know that if you are reading this blog, you will appreciate them. And I would like others to see her work and her collections.

I met Nancy’s son when I was a sophomore and he was a freshman in college. Soon after, he was diagnosed with cancer and died just a couple of years later. I managed to maintain a special friendship with his mom for the last thirty years. My husband and all my kids met her and knew her. And she loved talking to me about sewing and art history. She knew my fields of interest and she shared most of them.

While Nancy was not a quilter, she did a ton of needlework with great skill. She also knit and crocheted. She left me all of her needlework as well as a collection of antique quilts.

Her needlework collection was extensive but I selected this group of her work, as well as a lace collar that I believe she purchased in her travels, to hang in our upstairs hall. I thought that they looked great together and were wonderful examples of her handwork. I will enjoy seeing them multiple times a day.

I know she left her antique quilts with me because I am a quilter but also because she knew that I studied American material culture in graduate school and would appreciate them. I would like to share some pictures of them with you today. I don’t know her collecting criteria for the quilts since we never discussed that. I don’t know who owned them before her or who made them. Looking at them, I am thinking that she was interested in collecting samples of popular traditional quilt designs.

This might be my favorite. I used Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns to identify this particular version as the Tree of Paradise.

I’m impressed by the quilter’s skill. Look at all those perfect little half square triangles! I am also partial to on point designs.

No quilt collection is complete without the basic nine patch, right?

There’s also a bow tie quilt. I am fascinated by the bold red gingham background choice in those blocks at the top.

According to Brackman, this particular basket is the baby or May basket. The handles are appliqued.

This Irish Chain quilt has four pointed red stars appliqued in the centers of the blocks.

This block seems to be the Northwind or Corn and Beans block. I thought it was interesting that the majority of the background fabric is the same but then some of the blocks use a different low volume print.

And finally, there are two Redwork quilt tops. One is in much better condition than the other. I’ll share a few close ups:

I was wondering, how many of you have antique quilt collections? What types do you collect? Do you collect a variety of designs or examples of your favorite block type? Do you only have antique quilts with family origins? What do you do with your collection?

I would love to hear from you!