Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Sarah M LeFever, 1847

Walking into the back archives of any historical building or museum is one of the most “holy” of feelings!

Have you ever wanted to see what really goes on behind the scenes with such precious artifacts?

I had that experience yesterday when I was invited to come see some very special quilts in the collection of historic Huguenot Street in New Paltz, NY.

I held my breath as I donned my white gloves ----The box was presented and we lifted the lid ----my excitement grew as I saw the texture of the quilt back from so many precise stitches.

The first thing I want to confess to is that it is NOT easy to take pictures with a phone camera when wearing white gloves. The touch screen of the phone does NOT react well to fabric covered fingers, so some of the pics may be blurry – but I kept my gloves on!

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I was given my pick of which quilts to see – and I chose this one because her name is appliqued in big stylized letters to the front of the quilt! Sarah had a whimsical side, don’t you think? Look at those letters! She made this quilt in her early 20’s before she married.

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What a delightful M! Curly bits and all!

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Woooooo….love that L!

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Okay, we can say the blur on this one is artistic license!? But look at the Q!

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1847. No doubt about it!

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Her patchwork was as precise as her applique ----and I love the addition of the 6 pointed star-flower in the centers.

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The green oak leaves are perfect in the alternate spaces!

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Thank you Sarah! And thanks to Sarah’s family who donated the quilt to the Huguenot Street preservation society so that I could see it!

I asked when they display the quilts ---and was told not all year round. There are several houses that the foundation owns that are open for public tours, and certain things are cycled in and out. They also have a wonderful collection of woven coverlets ----I’m in love with those too!

And while I’m ooohing and ahhhing over Sarah’s quilt --- It’s the perfect time for me to send out a bit CONGRATS shout out to my friend Siobhan over at Scraps & Thread Tales for passing her AQS certification as a n official QUILT APPRAISER!! Way to go! I wish I could have had you with me yesterday, you would have loved it, I’m sure!

There are more quilts to be shared----I’m on my way home this morning, and before you think there is rest for the weary upcoming, I’m teaching and lecturing I GREENSBORO tomorrow --- so I’ll be up and out the door at 7:45 am to drive over there ---and I’m excited to be doing some local teaching in my own area – be ready for me girls!


  1. Anonymous9:32 AM EDT

    This Sarah Lefever quilt is just so yummy. Love the pattern and the colors. Just think, it was completed more than 100 years before I was born. Glad you had the chance to view it and thanks for sharing it with us. Stephani in N. TX (Tomazec@aol.com)

  2. Another great historical post..thanks, Bonnie, for sharing.

  3. What a beautiful quilt.....and so well preserved! What an opportunity! Thanks for sharing it! And congrats to Siobhan! Woohoo!

  4. Anonymous9:40 AM EDT

    Wow! I am always amazed at how "modern" some vintage quilts look. It is a beautiful quilt and thanks for fighting with the white gloves to share it with us :)

  5. Love this quilt! Thank you for sharing this beautiful quilt. Did Sarah make other quilts or do they have her history? Thisight be a place where one should take a vacation to to see! Thank you for sharing and safe travels home!

  6. Anonymous9:41 AM EDT

    Love the way Sarah put her name on the front... of course she was an excellent seamstress ! Why do we not put our names on family quilts this way?

  7. Love this quilt...STUNNING!! Thanks for sharing!!

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  9. Anonymous10:02 AM EDT

    Oooooo and AAAAhhhhh are not sufficient for this quilt. Magnificent workmanship, love her whimsy-ness. She must have been a hoot to know!
    Safe journey, Bonnie.
    Faye in Maine

  10. What a beautiful quilt! Completed before she got married... Wish my daughters were interested in learning to sew...

  11. Beautiful! <y favorite part is her name and the date .

  12. I am envious, you are so lucky to be able to see these old quilts in person and get to touch them, even if through gloves. Old quilts are so beautiful.
    Thanks for sharing.

  13. **Long sigh** If any of your quilts were to survive 150 years, which one would you like it to be?

  14. Anonymous10:33 AM EDT

    Isn't Sarah' quilt wonderful? WOW! 150 years! Just thnk of all that was happening 150 years ago. In 1862 the CIVIL WAR was well underway.

    John's Gramma was born in the mountains of WV, in 1889. She remembered Spring cleaning at that era. EVERYTHING in the house was brought outside, scrubbed down and let to dry in the sun. Quilts were washed in a tub over an open fire in with lye soap and boiling water. They literally cooked the quilts! To wring them out took 2 strong people. Each with a 'stout pole' They would flip oonw end of the quilt over the pole each had. Both turing the pole and quilt to the right (mirrowing each others movements) and then left in a trunquet(sp) fashion. Placed them over a rail fence or bushes with no thorns to dry in the sun, face down with the sun hitting the backing side.

    Gramma said we all wash our quilts TOO much! "All that rubbing and pulling ain't good for a quilt. Beats them up!" was how she put it. So that said, i limit my quilt washing to when it is needed lolol. How often do you wash your quilts? In a machine? By hand (OUCHIE)?

    Smiling remembering Gramma

    1. Anonymous9:52 PM EDT

      Loved hearing your grama's spring cleaning story, especially washing quilts. Stephani in N. TX (Tomazec@aol.com)

  15. Anonymous10:39 AM EDT

    OH DEAR -- yes, I can spell lol - just don't type all that well. and no spell checks either. Sorry for the mistakes in my postings.

  16. Oh how beautiful! Could you tell if the stars were done by reverse applique? They look so starfish like don't they?
    What a thrill, I must see if us local girls can go have a look.

    Glad you arrived home safely, what a horrible day for a long drive.
    Happy sewing

  17. What an Amazing and beautiful quilt. Thank you for letting us "join you" in seeing it.

  18. That is an amazing quilt! My nephew married a woman named Sarah whose favorite colors are pink and green..

    Don't you just love putting on the white gloves and opening the box....such an adventure!

    Thanks for the shout out! I'm sending in for my embossing seal today and putting the logo on my business cards!

  19. wonder what Sarah would think that 150 yrs later her quilt was being ooohed and aahhed on the internet(and all the other changes in our world)? beautiful quilt, the lettering is heavenly...

  20. Certo Mary e.E agora estou pensando onde estarão as nossas...Tenho algumas.Só trabalho com sucatas e não lavo retalhos antes(é impossível para mim)Dou uma lavada rápida depois de pronta eu guardo em um embalagem AZUL CLARO,minha avó ensinou que não amarela nenhum tipo de peça ali,seja do que for feito,lã,linha,tecido e que tais.Obrigada por compartilhar e tão generosamente.Um beijo no coração e Deus te abençoe.

  21. This is surely the most beautiful antique quilt that I have seen. I just love it! And I'm inspired to put my name on a quilt like that. Though I don't know that my applique would be as perfect!
    Such great news for Sio! I hope she gets to see those quilts someday too!

  22. I am swooning with delight. What a beautiful quilt. Soft and pretty, interesting, heavily quilted, signed and dated - I want to make quilts like this!!!

  23. I love the feathered star. That quilts is gorgeous!!! Very inspiring!

  24. Exquisite! Thanks for photos -- blurry and all -- because we would never get to see it otherwise.

  25. Thank you for sharing this amazingly beautiful quilt, Bonnie!!
    Sarah's personality really shines through!! Such a wonderful piece of art!
    Sarah is someone I'd have enjoyed knowing... I wonder if more is known about her??
    I'm happy for you, Bonnie, to have this experience!!...
    Thanks, again, for the pictures!!!

  26. What a treasure! I'm sure Sarah would love to know quilters are still loving her masterpiece.

  27. I love the typeface. I'm going to need to use it for one of my quilts!

  28. This is a masterpiece of the art that we all work in. Awe inspiring.

  29. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful quilt. What wonderful work. Is the large pink square in the center of each star appliquéd on? I am having trouble figuring out how the block is sewn? So gorgeous.

  30. Anonymous9:28 AM EDT

    Since you are interested in coverlets, you need to visit The National Museum of the American Coverlet in Bedford, PA when you are there in July. According to your schedule, you will be at Mary's Quilt Shop July 20-21. You are in for a big treat at both places.

  31. What a privilege, Bonnie. I would have been holding my breath!


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