This one was entitled 'Woollen Comforter' and was made of feedsacks, recycled clothing and dressmaking scraps from the 1920s and 30s. It was made in Pittsford, New York, USA, and was particularly delightful in the motifs embroidered on many of the patches. Some were initials (including, strangely, Ruth's initials of A.R.W) mostly ending with S, some dated and having ages added - one as young as 3 months, so perhaps not done in person! Some were animals, rabbits, chickens, geese etc., and some little scenes, such as a beehive and returning from milking and other motifs including several hands and a guitar. There were some interesting stitches joining the patches together too, mainly feather stitch but with some intriguing variations. The quilt had cotton wadding and a woollen backing, and six people who all wished they could take it home with them!
Here is another log cabin, his time in the straight furrows arrangement. This quilt had been made of feedsacks in Nebraska in the 1930s. It had been tied with blue wool, and the ties make a pleasing pattern over the surface. Unusually for an American quilt, it had not been bound, but the edges had been folded in and whipstitched.
This is a Welsh quilt, or at least, what was left of it! The date was not known, but it was made in Glamorgan. Both sides had been cut off for some reason, leaving it in a sorry state. Just imagine if that was your quilt, and someone had taken the scissors to it! It's just too awful to contemplate!
This beautiful quilt is a Bow Tie design, made in 1880, with blocks finishing at 4". We spent some time examining this at close quarters, trying to work out if it had been made over papers or not. (We didn't decide!) But when we had moved on and looked at it from further away, we were able to appreciate the soft colouring.
This Redwork quilt was made in Nantucket Island in the 1940s, probably from a commercial kits or pattern. It charmed us, and intrigued us in equal measure. Most of the blocks were cute designs of Sunbonnet Sue-type figures, but in the centre of the quilt (the first complete row in the picture above the bar) there were the initals V and K. We wondered if these were the initials of the maker or recipient. then we spotted another initial, I, in the second row, second block. Why were these letters included? Were they significant, or were they ones supplied with the kit, or ones she felt like making? There were no answers but we loved the freshness of the quilt.
Once we had viewed the exhibition, we went downstairs to see the recreation of a Victorian needle factory. We were amazed to find it took 30 different proceedures to turn a piece of wire into a needle, and the most skilled part, that of pointing the needle earned its workers a guinea (£1 and one shilling) a week, but gave them silicosis of the lungs, meaning that their life expectancy was only 30 years! Some young people had come to show the workings of the factory and were kind enough to let me take their photos. These young men were doing the shaping and stamping of the needles,
these young ladies were filing the edges of the eyes, and the overseer was keeping a stern eye on them! All in all we had a great day out. The museum is well worth a visit, and there was a lovely picnic space with tables and a children's play area with plenty of space to play and run about. The exhibition runs only till the 28th June, so if you would like to see these quilts (and others) in person, then go quickly or you'll miss your chance. If you can't go but would like to see more of the quilts, look on my blog here for the rest of the photos.