Sunday, July 08, 2007

Quilts, Old and New

I went out of town again for a short visit to my mom and sister. I had some fun quilty experiences during my weekend in addition to visiting. I took some time to wander up and down the main street of my home town. All the shops have changed since my childhood, of course, so everything was new. I haven't taken time to look at the shops for many years.

I found some really great quilts in an antique shop! They had a lot of them! I couldn't afford my favorite one which was this (and made me think of Lucy and her poison green, although this one isn't quite poison-ish enough):

Here's one that some crazy quilters might like:

There were more, but I didn't get pictures of the others. Here are the quilts I purchased!! I really like them! If any of you are good at dating fabrics, can you tell me what era you think these are from? I'm guessing the small one is 50's-60's, and the large one is about 40's or 50's?? I may be way off. These are tied and nothing fancy, but they are soft and well loved.
Here's the small, lap size one, followed by a close-up of the fabrics.

Here's the large one, followed by a close-up of the backing fabric. (Isn't it wild?!)

I love how both of these quilts are so soft and well-loved. They make me wonder about the person who made them, probably a woman. The large one was made to keep her family warm and cuddled. People slept happily under it, and kids played on top of it. Somehow in the end, no one wanted it any more. But I do!! It represents a lot of love and emotion to me, and I plan to use it for naps and just sitting under to read or watch TV.

I know some people carefully store or display their quilts and don't want to use them, especially antiques. But I am of the belief that quilts are made to be used, and a well-used one is well-loved and is full of the thoughts and dreams of its maker and its users. Fabric doesn't last forever, so while it's still useable, I'm going to use it!

Of course, if I owned an award-winning Paducah-quality quilt, I might change my story. But for now I'm very much a utilitarian quilt maker and quilt user. And I hope the quilts I give away get used and loved.

On our way back home we went through a small town and found this -- a couple of Amish girls were sitting in a grassy area along the road, selling quilts, food, and baskets. They let me take pictures, as long as I didn't photograph the girls themselves. The hand quilting was really beautiful. I wish the photos would show that better. The quilts were pretty, but I think they used a lot of fabrics that were cotton/poly blends. That surprised and sort of disappointed me. There's a plain whole-cloth baby quilt here, with pastel prairie points. It's so pretty and is beautifully quilted! I took a picture of it, but it just looked like a blank fabric. Wish I could show you the detail, but this is what you get! (There are breads and pies on the table. I bought a loaf of bread, and a strawberry pie.)

On this one you can sort of see the quilting in the lone star quilt.

You can see a little of the whole-cloth baby quilt and its beautiful quilting. I don't know if these pictures will enlarge when you click on them. Try it and see!

The jars are honey and various jams.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend! This marks the end of my week off, and the end of my free time for sewing and such. I sure had a great week! Now I'm going back to work but only part-time, so I'm still pretty lucky with having time off.


ForestJane said...

The Amish quilts are lovely - as for the polyester, I wonder if they're feeling the expensive fabric crunch and buying whatever they can get cheaply? Were their clothse still made in the solids with 100% cotton?

Finn said...

Hi Carol, what a lovely post! And lucky you getting to go home, see quilts and experience that wonderful trip through the countryside.
I suppose you haven't said, but is home MN? Maybe you could E me, I feel such a kinship to your 'way of being in the world', yes, use the quilts, love and enjoy them, it make them immortal in a way..*VBS*
I was lucky enough to go on a bus trip(for senior0 down near New Harmony, MN a couple of years back, and seeing the Amish up close and selling is such fun. One place had a whole clothes line full of stocking drying...LOL Loved it!
Both of your purchases are one I would happily have bought...really gorgeous people friendly quilts. A couple of treasures there!
The backing on the bigger one, looks like feedsack to could check the size of the pieces and see if it is yardage or 'sack size'. Hugs, Finn

Anonymous said...

Hi Carol!
What an adventure you went on. From what I could see both quilts contain fabrics up to the very early 1960's so it is my guess that they were FINISHED then. some prints date earlier, to the 30's 40's & 50's.

Yes, the Amish use lots of poly blends for durability and less ironing. Just because they don't use electricity doesn't mean they don't ease up on heavy work! When in Illinois three years ago I was surprised that in an Amish fabric store the largest selection was of poly doubleknit! It was of the thinner kind and in solid colors & black. the lady behind the counter (with a hand crank cash register & gas lanterns lighting up the place) said that most local clothing was made from doubleknit. We both agreed that it wore like iron. Go figure.