June 18, 2014

Glowing Pineapple Quilt

This is a lovely silk Pineapple quilt.  There are lots of wonderful colors, still bright and clear.  This quilt definitely puts to rest the view of antique fabrics as drab and basically brown!  In the 1700s and 1800s, the pineapple was often used as a symbol of hospitality.  I've also sometimes heard this pattern called Windmill.

It's super large - about 81" x 92".  Older quilts, meaning earlier on in the 19th century, are sometimes quite large because they were made for very high bedframe with trundle beds stored underneath.

Most of the fabrics are silk, with a few velvets in the mix.  They are in pretty good condition.  All I did for the quilt was to vacuum it to clear out old dust and freshen it up.  Visit this post for instructions for vacuuming quilts.

Here and there are a few plaids and stripes, and there is one pale blue brocade that was used several times in the center diamonds.

People are often surprised that the eye-searing yellow-green in the lefthand block was a 19th century color - but it was.

The olive green in the righthand block is one of the velvets. As far as I'm concerned, there is no fabric so gloriously soft as a silk velvet!

Here's a multi-colored stripe.  Can you imagine a dress made of this fabric?  It would certainly "make a statement" upon entering the room.

I like the black and white stripe in the top center block.  It adds another bit of op art-like complexity to the pieced pattern.  The top lefthand block has a large, blue and white, gingham-style plaid.

You can see how the fabric choices really vary the look of this pattern.  Sometimes the pineapples are emphasized, sometimes the concentric octagons.  It's a matter of value more than of hue.

I'm enjoying thinking of this quilt being made by a dressmaker.  I don't think that just one woman would have owned as many dresses are are represented here.  

The back is a gorgeous paisley stripe.  The large stripe is about 4" wide.

The fabric is stiff and woven with thicker threads.  I don't know what this kind of fabric is called.  Anyone who has info, please comment.

The family story about this quilt is not solidly documented, but goes like this:  

The quilt was probably purchased in New Orleans by the many-times-great-grandmother of the current owner.  Her name was Jenny Love Fawcett.  She was married to Captain James Fawcett.  Captain Fawcett and his brother ran a coal mining and distribution company in West Virginia which they called King of Black Diamonds.  The coal was shipped downriver, eventually reaching New Orleans.  Captain and Mrs. Fawcett's trip could very well have been a business trip, but also could have been their honeymoon.  No one knows now for sure.  The trip to New Orleans was likely in the 1870s or 80s.  I think this date is born up well by the colors of the fabrics and the paisley print on the back.  

I really, really enjoy taking in these wonderful quilts and hearing the family stories that have been handed down with them.  Very entertaining, indeed!  

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