When I arrived in Illinois ---and was being shuttled to Ottawa, I knew we were heading to a museum, but I had no idea that I would be coming face to face, and hand to fabric – with one of the most magnificent quilts I have seen in my life.
I don’t say that lightly!
And I honestly can say that the best WAS saved for last in this case.
I’m going to quote an excerpt about Polly and her quilt from “History From The Heart A Two-Century Heritage of Illinois Quilts and Quiltmaking, Quilt Paths Across Illinois" by E Duane Elbert & Rachel Kamm Elbert where they describe Polly’s quilt as a “Complex version of the heavenly spectrum” and you will soon see why!
Unfortunately, age, dirt and light have dulled the original impact that Polly’s intricately pieced Stars and Rainbows must have possessed when it left the quilting frame…
Book image of Polly’s Quilt.Me, holding Polly’s Quilt!Polly Wheelock, who was born in Connecticut in 1785, arrived in Northern Illinois at mid-nineteenth century. It is possible that she brought this quilt with her in 1850 when she accompanied Almena and John Clifford from upstate New York to LaSalle County.It is equally plausible that she brought the scraps with her and completed the quilt after the family settled in Serena Township.The quilt, which desceneded in the Clifford family before being donated to the LaSalle County Historical Society, is attributed to Polly, but where it was made is uncertain. Nevertheless, it remains a tribute to the creativity that can be found in each generation.Looking at the quilt today raises questions about the maker’s motivation and personal vision. One can only imagine the thoughts that crossed the minds, but probably not the lips, of Polly’s nineteenth-century friends and neighbors.
((My thimble on one of the diamonds in one of the rainbows!))
Without question, Polly Wheelock set a brisk creative pace for the innovative Illinois quilters who followed her. In her own way, Polly clearly demonstrated what a creative mind can accomplish with a stack of scraps and a desire to capture a rainbow.
It was this quilt that inspired me to create this Meme yesterday:
I think this suits me, and Polly – to a T!
There are many many photos of the quilt in the following slide show. Too many to simply capture in a blog post. I hope you will enjoy them. Feel free to visit the album and really LOOK at the photos by clicking the photo link below.
|Polly Wheelock's Rainbow Quilt, Utica IL 2013|
Dear Polly, you left me SEW INSPIRED!
And thanks to Polly’s family for seeing that this fabulous example of nineteenth-century art and innovation through fabric was donated to a museum where it can be cared for!