January 18, 2016

1934 Sock Top Quilt

A short while ago, I repaired a late 19th century baby-sized crazy quilt.  The quilt's owner shared her family photos to add to my blog post about her little quilt.  As I keep saying, I meet the nicest people when I work on their quilts!

Well, her kindness didn't stop there.  She oh-so kindly sent me this photo of a quilt she saw on exhibit at the Mingei Museum in San Diego.  It is labeled "Sock Top Quilt", made by Ada Jones in 1934.

"What's a sock top?" you ask.  I certainly had no idea. 

Well, sock tops were manufactured separately (and sold by the pound!) and then would be sewn onto the rest of the sock.  Ada's sister-in-law worked at W. B. Davis, a hosiery factory in Fort Payne, Alabama.  She collected these unused cuffs in 1934 when they were no longer being used in the sales room.

Ada hand stitched them together for the top.

Ada created the back with printed cottons that were distributed by a New Deal program to aid farm women.  The program distributed surplus fabric for use in home sewing via the Agricultural Extension Office in Auburn, Alabama.

The batting is made with cotton grown on the family farm.

Later on, in the 1960s, a family member bound the fraying edges with fabric from unused fertilizer sacks, given to her by a fertilizer company in Fyffe, Alabama.

There are two of these quilts.  This one is from the collection of the State of Alabama Department of Archives and History.  The other is at the Smithsonian and the information here comes from their documentation.

I'm particularly in love with this quilt because I've been making a series of quilts for the last several years that I call "Something From Nothing."  The theme of the series is that I cannot buy anything, but must work from the fabrics, batting ends, and doo-dads that I have scrounged or inherited for free.  This quilt combines so many "nothings" into a really fun, and probably very cozy, "something!"

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