Friendship quilts and signature quilts held sentiments expressed in words of tenderness, sweet emotion, poetry and prose.
These quilts were made for many different occasions, but in the 1840s America was still a land of the unknown and undeveloped wilderness.
There wasn’t much settling at all to the west of Ohio, and when families packed up and moved off in search of their fortunes and new roots, it was likely that they would never see these dear friends and family again.
They couldn’t just pick up the phone and call. It could take months or more for letters from family and friends to reach the corners of the new land.
These quilts with sweet remembrances were so important to those to whom they were given as tangible, visible knowledge that they were loved and cared for and remembered by those they left far behind.
Today I am sharing with you a quilt that Mary Koval shared with me.
It’s a Pennsylvania applique with dated signatures and beautiful sentiments. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed seeing it!
Full quilt with morning sun from Mary’s dining room widow!
Things I immediately noticed about this quilt…No borders! The quilt was big enough as it was, or perhaps they were in a hurry to get it to the recipients. No one knows!
I also zeroed right in on the double diagonal quilting. This is a sign of an early quilt.
I love thinking about the ladies getting together and laying out these blocks and deciding which way they are going to go. Look at the 4th row. They put two similar pineapple blocks on opposite sides of the same row. The left pineapple block is big and chunky with hearts appliqued to the sides.
Close up, bottom left corner
The one on the right is more streamlined with detail in the center, and three leaves where the hearts are in the left block. This was a popular pattern that was likely shared between friends, family and quilting neighbors. Can you see the ladies saying “Move this one over here, it is too similar to the other one!”
Check out the penmanship!
I can’t really read this one, but I thought the embroidery over the seams was interesting. It’s almost a yarn, done in constrasting colors, overcast like a satin stitch along the edges of the label and around the flower pot. This block is found at the center of the quilt.
Be life to thee a happy day
An endless scene of pleasure
Combining all the charms of May
With Autumn’s golden treasure
Presented by Hannah Ann Hall
April 24th, 1849
Hearts and Flowers? A Wedding Quilt Perhaps?
The signature is in the center of this lovely rose wreath!
Bottom Right Corner.
Remember the Giver
Mary B Phillips
And oh! Those stitches! How did the quilter decide what to do in the areas in between the double diagonal quilting? I love that this is not just an oval, that she stylized it a bit, and then echo quilted it to fill the area.
Using BOTH sides of the fabric!
So here you are. The long awaited permission we’ve all been searching for! This quilter appliqued her flowers using both sides of the fabric to show depth and contrast between the petals! I love that the fabric design is still barely seen “wrong side up”.
And please note, the appliques are also double row quilted echo style outside of each shape. She didn’t just outline them once, but TWICE! Holy. Moly.
I have a hard time making this one out!
The last part goes:
Crowned with Mercy, oh how sweet,
Will eternal friendship be.
Signed by Susanna Sentman
March 16th, 1849
Upper right Corner.
This quilt was just SUCH a beauty and in completely amazing condition. I feel so honored and inspired after seeing it.
Think about it. No sewing machines. No rotary cutters. No freezer paper, no fusibles.
Just Fabric, Scissors, Thread, Pins –and TIME.
All for the love of a cherished friend, whatever the occasion this quilt was made to document.
And through it all, friendship remains!
Have a lovely Friday, everyone!