This quilt was made by my great-grandmother, Sarah Caroline Howard. She was born 28 July 1852 and died April 12, 1944. In 1871 she married Thomas Berry Howard (see previous post), and made this quilt sometime during her marriage to him. Every stitch in the quilt is by hand. No sewing machine was available to her for sewing the pieces of fabric together.
She gave this quilt to my mother, who has it displayed on a quilt stand in one of her bedrooms. In my opinion, it is a true work of art; so individualistic; not like the precision quilts made today where everything lines up perfectly and every stitch looks the same.
My mother said the colors were more than likely dyed to obtain the desired shades and colors, as this was still being done when she (my mother) was a young girl, although dyes were available commercially by then. It is very likely the dyes used by my great-grandmother were were from plants.
The blue in the first two photographs are true; the lighting in the second two pictures makes the color appear aqua, which it is not.
|The pattern seems to be a variation of a fan quilt with many interesting additions.|
|A close-up view of the stitching. All the threads used for quilting appear to be brown. Was it brown when it was made, or has it just aged over the years?|
|The backside of the quilt.|
|The backside is a woven fabric; most unusual.|
When I handled it (very carefully!) today, I could hear a few threads snap. Not a good sign.
Making quilts is something that runs in my family. My grandmother made and gave each of her eight children 20 quilts upon their marriage. My mother and most of her sisters made quilts. And within the past 15 years, even I became interested in quilt making! When I was younger I had no interest, as it seemed like an “old-fashioned” pastime. But I actually took a class to learn how to quilt! Imagine that, growing up among all those talented women and paying someone to teach me to quilt!
I made several quilts during that period, stitching the patchwork by machine and actually doing the hand stitched quilting instead of sending it out to be quilted by a machine. My mother gave my sister and me 20 quilts each upon our marriage, continuing the tradition started by her mother.
These quilts make for a very warm and cozy sleep on a cold winter’s night.
Do you own quilts? Have your ever tried your hand at quilting? Do you appreciate handmade quilts?