November 8, 2023

Quilt Repair Tidbits #4

Quilt Repair Tidbits.  The next (somewhat) weekly installment of quilt repair tidbits and photos.

This week’s tidbit:  A hand-me-down set of vintage/antique Mosaic/Grandmother’s Flower Garden blocks.

I’ll be teaching a virtual quilt care and repair workshop in winter 2024.  One thing I’ll be talking about is learning how to tell the age of the fabrics in old quilts.  These blocks have a secret key to their age. 

All the info about the workshop is on my website.  And you can email me to be added to the interest list for notification when registration opens.

So, about the blocks.  The fabrics in the center date to the third quarter of the 1800s.  The outer ring, though, was mysterious.  The print reminds me of a maternity dress I made in 1990, nothing like  the 1860s-70s prints. 

The blocks were English paper pieced, and the outer ring still includes the paper hexagons.  Many of them were cut from a newspaper.  There are papers that give fun glimpses of life at the time those hexies were pieced (my mother adored Maurice Chevalier), and place the blocks, at least the final ring, in Chicago.  Also, notice the tiny and neat whip stitches that join the hexies.

Several of the papers, like this one, refer to events in 1932, which handily dates the curious outer ring.

And the fabrics!  Glorious!  The delicate etching of the prints.  The pairing of tomato soup red with a greyed medium blue.

You can see lots more photos of these blocks on my blog.

So these blocks have had two phases of construction over the course of the last 150 years or so, and still no one has joined them together.  (And I think that the outer print looks still more modern than what newspapers are telling me!)

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