July 28, 2015

History Comes to Life on a Quilt - Part 3

Part 3.  Three Intertwined Families

(Part 1 tells the background of a quilt inscribed with many names, and how I started my search for the details of its history.  Part 2 details some of the interesting family stories.)

Here's the most complex and hard to research story I've found so far.  Eunice B. Phinney nee Dyer had married Erastus Phinney in 1876 in Boston.  At that time, Erastus was 66.  This was his second marriage.  Eunice was 42, her first marriage.  By the time the quilt was made, Eunice was a widow and living in Melrose with Mary Ives Hersey, a spinster.

I started noticing the same family names in their ancestry.  It took a bunch of head scratching and searching, but I figured out that the two women were related.   Mary's mother, Mary Knowles Dyer Hersey, and Eunice were sisters - so Eunice was Mary Ives Hersey's aunt.  Then I found, on the 1900 census, that Nehemiah Mayo Dyer was also living in their house.  I looked at some older records, and found that Nehemiah was Eunice's brother and Mary's uncle.  He was a Civil War veteran and captain of the US Navy, who moved in with his family members after his retirement.

July 24, 2015

History Comes to Life on a Quilt - Part 2

Part 2.  Stories, Stories, and More Stories

(Part 1 tells the background of a quilt inscribed with many names, and how I started my search for the details of its history.) 

Families with several children have been most useful for narrowing down the dates.  The Dorchesters, Chester O. and Edith G. nee Kimball, for example.  Their daughter Alice Jean was born in 1896, and her name is on the quilt.  Their son Kenneth was born in 1899 and is not on the quilt.  Similarly, Eva and Harry Thompson's daughter Virginia, born in 1891, is on the quilt, as is their son Kenneth, born in March 1897.

Between the Pickles (their story is in Part 1), the Dorchesters, and the Thompsons, I had pretty quickly placed the date between later in 1897 and sometime in 1898.  I will toot my own horn and say that my first guesstimate on the age of this quilt was late 1800s or early 1900s, or perhaps an older top that was finished some years later.  This was based on the old-fashioned, 19th-century-style penmanship being combined with the polka dot backing and ties rather than fancy quilting, which point to something a bit more recent.

Also, I found that the great majority of the names appear on census pages for a town called either Melrose City or Melrose.  So now, I am sure the quilt was made in Massachusetts, and can add that to the search criteria.

July 21, 2015

History Comes to Life on a Quilt - Part 1

This quilt was sent to me, in need of repair.  It's a special quilt, because all the white pieces are inscribed in ink with names.  I am thinking that it may very well have been a fund-raising quilt, since the names are all written by the same hand.  But there is no dedication or date, so there really is no way to know for sure.

The quilt has some tears at the edges, both on the front and on the polka dot back.  Most happily, none of the names are affected.

July 17, 2015

Favorite Quotes #9 - Chatter, Chatter, Chatter

Aren't these little crafty women just so sweet?  Heads bent over their needlework, a nice cuppa tea on the way.

They are an illustration for the poem "Shoes and Stockings" (in the book When We Were Very Young by A.A. Milne, artwork by E. H. Shepard.)  The original artwork is pen and ink; the color was added by my mom.

My mom always loved a good, freshly sharpened pencil.  One of my coziest memories is cuddling next to her on a lazy morning.  She'd read a poem, and then I'd watch her color, bringing the illustrations to life, just for me.  Looking back now, I see one more indication that I was meant from early on to be an artist.  

July 10, 2015

Fans, Color Blocks, and Bricks

Today I am debuting the three new quilts in my "Something From Nothing" series!  (To read more about how this series works, see this previous post or visit the whole set on my website.)  This is a just-for-fun project, and I am definitely having fun!

31.5 x 31.5
Inspired by a little roll of four brocade fabric samples found at an estate sale.  The borders are the reverse of each of the fabrics.  I added some other brocade scraps from worn out clothing and a roll of wide purple ribbon.

July 7, 2015

The Tapestries of Stirling Castle

A friend posted a link to this amazing tapestry story.  There's been a 14-year project (yes, that's right, 14 years) to create new work based on the famous unicorn tapestry series held by the Metropolitan in New York.

The originals were made around 1500.  The new tapestries are being hung at Stirling Castle in Scotland.  James V is known to have had unicorn tapestries there (of some sort, not necessarily the ones at the Met) during his reign in the first half of the 1500s. 

The artists worked according to all that is known of the weaving methods and materials of the time.

The video is a must-see!  (Follow link at the bottom of the main page.)

(I continue to be fascinated by tapestries ever since my experience a while back with helping conserve one.)