A friend of a friend is downsizing, looking to sell some of the quilts she inherited years ago and no longer has room to store. She is not a quilter, but her mother, grandmother, and greatgrandmother made quilts and also picked them up at garage sales and antique stores. She is keeping the ones that are near and dear to her but has dozens of quilts and coverlets that she is willing to part with. And they are, as the saying goes, priced to sell.
Now, I am not a quilt collector but something about this situation compelled me to take a trip across town last week to look at the quilts. I fell in love with the very first one I saw. That’s the one you see above, my “something old, something new.”
Isn’t it a beauty? It measures 86″ square, making it queen size. Except for some stains, it’s in perfect condition. It’s hand pieced and appliquéd, machine pieced, and hand quilted. The blocks are 11″ square, with a feathered wreath quilted in the plain blocks and outline quilting and leaves in the basket blocks. The borders are quilted in a cable design.
Sadly, we don’t know who made this quilt. My guess is that it was made in the 1930s or 40s, possibly the 50s, perhaps from a kit. The embroidery and appliqué are expertly done, and the quilting is uniform, about eight stitches to the inch. The edges are scalloped and bound with bias binding.
This may be my favorite block:
But oh, look at this one:
And this one:
Each of the 25 basket blocks is filled with fruit. Bananas and pears and apples. Lemons and limes and grapes. Even some fruits I don’t quite recognize. Each basket “filled” by an expert needleworker who clearly loved her craft.
I am so happy and grateful that this vintage quilt has come into my possession. I promise to love, honor, and obey — oh wait, wrong vow. I promise to love and honor this quilt for the rest of my days, as a tribute to the maker and to quiltmakers all over the world who create treasured keepsakes with needle and thread, putting love and care into every single stitch.