August 12, 2021

Quilt for an 1895 Wedding

I love a dated quilt.  I love a dated quilt with a family story (see full story below).  Combined together....well.... it's simply grand.

The fabrics have some preservation issues and staining throughout.  And at some point, a critter chewed a hole in the quilt and almost chewed a second.  The good part of that story is that the critter was polite enough to avoid chewing up any of the embroidered history.



I patched both places.  Here's one.


I patched the damaged black squares with an antique fabric (with white swirl print).  And I put on two triangles of a vintage/antique white.  You can see on the patch nearest the embroidery that I chose to make the edge parallel to the quilting line, but couldn't go all the way up to the quilting, as I might have, because that would've covered some of the embroidery.

Here's the patch of that hole on the back.  (I also added some batting in between and quilted into the batting from both sides of the quilt.)

There is quite a bit of other damage on the quilt.  There is staining, front and back, as you can see.   Some of the staining is eating away at the fabric.

The binding is fraying. 

And there are several fabrics that are quite worn.  I experimented with how they would look with either the light or the dark crepeline stitched over them.

The quilt owner decided to only have the holes patched.  She wants to keep it as is for now, and knows to handle carefully and store properly.  If she would want the staining looked into, I told her that I would not do any cleaning on it myself.  This is definitely a candidate for the knowledge and skill at at conservation lab.  

And now....the story:

This is likely a wedding quilt, made by the friends and family of the bride and groom.  The owner of this quilt is great-granddaughter of the newlywed couple.  She has been researching the names embroidered on the quilt.  She graciously agreed to share the story here. 

Wedding Quilt
Della & Henry
Married November 7, 1895

The dates on this quilt cause us to assume that the quilt was a wedding gift completed and presented in 1895. Each contributed square contains a ‘diamond’ of colorful squares. Within the diamond are the square’s date, name of the maker, and the maker’s town. There are 20 of these squares.

Della and Henry married in November 7, 1895. They grew up in the same farming community in Young Hickory Township, Fulton County, Illinois. Henry’s family farmed in Illinois and also Missouri. Henry and Della are shown in the 1900 census living in Russell, Macon County, Missouri. There may have been other family and friends nearby. By 1910 the family had returned to Fulton County, Illinois, where they remained.

In May of 1893, family and friends of Della and Henry began making squares for a quilt. Squares were completed through the spring of 1894. The last square was dated May 28, 1894. Della herself made a square. Quilt assembly was needed, then the actual quilting, then the binding of the edges.

Many of these squares came from Henry’s family. A few came from Della and her family and friends. Several were made by neighbors and friends.

Henry and Della remained married until Della’s death in 1934. They had 5 children and 8 grandchildren. Like any family, there were joys and there was sorrow. This quilt is evidence that their married life began with love and support from their family, friends and neighbors.

Della and Henry’s youngest daughter held this quilt and passed it to her daughter. It is now in the hands of a great-granddaughter of the couple.

Here's a sampling of the fabrics and signed blocks: 

a nondescript brown

a printed plaid

a printed stripe

two red/pink on brown florals

 a mourning print

This is my favorite!
This one teaches me not do a tiny running stitch to embroider a signature....very hard to read! 
And this quilter used a textured woven plaid fabric for her white.

This photo shows the feather wreath quilting:

So there are both the antique and the modern chapters of this quilt's story.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed having at my house for a while.


  1. Ann, those patches were done exquisitely -- your repairs are virtually invisible! I wish that crepeline stuff was available in smaller quantities. I just got a vintage Sunbonnet Sue quilt dropped off by a client that has badly deteriorated (but fabulous feed sack print) fabrics on the appliques. I don't want to patch them the normal way because the original quilter embellished each "Sue" with hand stitched embroidery details, so thank you for reminding me about the crepeline!

    1. Thanks bunches for the compliment! It's the same a getting to Carnegie Hall - practice, practice, practice. Hee, hee.

      As for crepeline, I can send you to a friend of mine: The Sue quilt sounds quite special, and a good candidate for the crepeline. Cool!