July 27, 2017

Signature Presentation Quilt

This sweet quilt is as old as I am.  This somehow makes me very happy.

The block is known as Album Quilt, with a white, center rectangle just perfect for showing off a signature.  It has a clever and interesting way to finish a quilt with blocks set on point, but it sure did make the rebinding process much trickier!

Here is the story of the quilt, provided by the current owner:

I've attached a photo of my grandma, Hattie Crane.  She and my grandfather, Samuel Crane, lived in Oakley, Idaho.  In 1951-1953, they went on a mission for the LDS church to Salinas, California.  While they served there, Hattie was so loved by the women in that area that they made her a quilt prior to their departure in 1953.  Hattie was involved in the making of the quilt, demonstrated by the square she stitched with her name, Harriet Emily Owen.  My granddaughter's name (who would be her great, great granddaughter) is named after her, Hattie.

Such a lovely story, right?  Here is Hattie's signature:

Happily, the fabric in Hattie's own block is still intact.

The quilt arrived at my house with one large rip through which a big chunk of batting had escaped, and many blocks with fabrics in various stages of disintegration.  I replaced the missing batting and then patched or stitched, depending on the severity of the disintegration.  Here are details of the blocks and fabrics.  

The large rip, before and after.  ("Before" repair photo courtesy of the quilt's owner.) 

Ruth M. Merrill certainly made a statement with her embroidery!  Here's a close-up of her technique.

Take a look at this really unusual print!  I see dollar signs, a pair of patched and ragged pants, and then what?  Music notes or keys with a mask and a hand?  Does anyone out there have any ideas or interpretations? 

For this block, which bears the embroidered date, I didn't have anything that worked well as that very faded black.  I ended up using the reverse of a black print.  It was darker than the fabric it was replacing, but not any darker than some of the original fabrics elsewhere in the quilt.  At times like these when I can't find a close replacement for a torn fabric, I look for something that echoes other fabrics in the quilt.

Here's another block in which I used the reverse of the patching fabric.  A few of the original pieces remain in this block, with underlays and herringbone stitching to close the rips.

A couple of pieces from my newly acquired stash of feedsack fabrics looked just right in two of the blocks.  The quilt isn't officially a feedsack quilt, but I'm guessing that many of these ladies had scrap baskets going back into the 40s, just a blink of an eye before 1953.  

As a final step in the repair process, I write a short report of the work I've done and include swatches of the fabrics I've used.  Here's what that report looked like for this quilt.  

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