Thursday, May 03, 2012

Silk, Satin,Velvet & Salt!

I gave a couple glimpses of things that I saw on my one Antique Mall stop on my way to New York…..

There were a few really INTERESTING things that I haven’t had a chance to share yet! I’ve got time to share ONE this morning --- I’ll get to the others later.

Have you ever been more intrigued by the BACK of a quilt than the front?

I rounded the corner and came face to face with an antique silk and velvet log cabin. These are so beautiful --- in such a TRAGIC way, because who KNEW that these fabrics would shred and shatter years down the road?

It makes me wonder what is going to happen to the fabric in the quilts that I've made over the years. I know some of those 1990s and other earlier ones have a bad habit of fading over time. What was once a deep navy is now a very pale grey-blue. It's the life of fabric I guess!

This quilt was pieced on salt sacks and other bits of found “foundation” fabric with advertising on it! THAT is the cool part!

Here’s a glimpse of the quilt as I saw it first:

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It was just HANGING there, not even displayed to its best advantage, but the color and the sheen drew me right in.

I noticed right off that the strips varied in width and this gave many of the blocks a more “curved” appearance.

Sadly, this antique mall was rather crowded and there was no place to lay this OUT to get a view of the whole quilt. The fabrics are deteriorating though, so I felt it best to be gentle with it and not cause further damage to it.

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Were those blacks from the clothing of someone in mourning? Each stitch was made by hand, and being as it is pieced on a fabric foundation, it is not quilted or bound…maybe they planned on finishing it in another way?

It made me think of my friend Karen Eckmeier and her lecture at VCQ last weekend –entitled --- “Ooops! My Edges Are Showing!!” She does wonderful raw edge work….

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This is what I find so interesting!

Salt is not Salt! The Worcester Brand Salt :cD Salt, like flour and chicken feed and many other things also came in cloth bags. The maker of this quilt saved the salt bags for use in piecing her quilt. They must have gone through LOADS of salt! But if you think of it, salt was used for everything including curing meat --

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Here’s another advertisement on a cloth bag of some sort.

It sounds like they are describing my quilting space –can you read it?

Basement – Every Space Crowded with Goods! LOL

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Believing what I was told as a young girl going to Campfire Girls --- leave each space better than you found it ---- I gently folded the quilt so someone else could view it a bit better. Seemed a shame to hide those cool salt and advertising sacks, though! I didn’t know whether to fold it right side or wrong side out!

There are more quilts to show, but they will have to wait – I’ve gotta get my self in gear and get over to where our Cathedral Stars workshop is for today!

But before I go – heheeh! You have to know what did NOT come home with me, right? You know you are waiting for that one weird thing, aren’t you? And it wasn’t the diving helmet!

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How about a life sized Frankenstein?!? LOL!

I actually considered adopting him …..wondering if I put him in the front passenger seat of Shamu --- could I get by in the HOV lane as I drive?!

Have a great Thursday, everyone!


  1. One of the first quilts that I made was for my older son. I was shocked about a year ago to see that one of the greens has disintegrated. This quilt is not an antique - it is about 12 years old. Having said that, it looks like an antique from the way it has been loved!

  2. That quilt is fabulous - was it hard to LEAVE it there?

    sao in Midlothian, VA

  3. Anonymous8:06 AM EDT

    Frank, the traveling, quilting companion, what a hoot!
    Loved the quilt, especially the back, so much interest there. Use of common salt sacks to the back of velvet....rich and poor...we never let anything go...always a use for everything.
    Have a great time in NY.

  4. Anonymous8:30 AM EDT

    Bonnie - I have read that silks and some darker fabric were died with LEAD in the mix. The lead oxides, and we see the damage. In fact, when crazy quilts were so popular, you could order basket (sm or med) from China, via ships. Sold by the pound. YES, the silk were soak in a lead solution to make them heavier! No joke.

    I have not a clue why green fabric would give out today. Startch? Would be very interested to understand how it was dyed, and where it came from. Any ideas?


    1. Anonymous8:32 AM EDT

      OPPPPS.. I should have said lead oxidizes! Oxide is the same as rust.... yuck!

  5. Love, Love the salt bag quilt! Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to see what your going to blog about next! You are an interesting lady Ms Bonnie!

  6. That silk/saltbag quilt is amazing! Also interesting on the history of the use of lead from Julie in TN! I learn so much from you Bonnie!

  7. I'm having difficulty driving past antique shops since I've started reading your posts. What am I missing? Thank you for sharing; informative and funny.

  8. Thanks for the goggles and a great day to you.

  9. those salt sacks are so cool...very interesting backing....the frankenstein is also very cool

  10. I would just like to tell you how much I am enjoying "taking this trip" with you.

  11. Ole Frankie would get you some looks riding shotgun in Shamu, that's for sure!!

  12. Frankie--even better than a diving helmet!

  13. Your a lot of fun Bonnie. Happy Trails

  14. OMG, how could you leave that quilt? I'd love to have something like that. Gorgeous and love the back! Was it super expensive? Can you share location/shop info?

  15. Wouldn't it be fun to drive in the carpool lane with him?

  16. I can't wait to see what DID come home with you. You have lots of extra room in Shamu this trip. No TSA tags to worry about either. Have fun- How much was the old log cabin quilt priced for? We all want to know...

  17. This quilt is gorgeous! Such a treasure! And I love the back, too! So neat! You were kind to fold the quilt for better viewing. They should at least have a photo of the back on display!

  18. THAT is neat! I'd love to get my hands on some bags like that.

    I wonder if the women who made the crazy quilts had known that the fabric was going to deteriorate over time if they'd still have made them.

  19. Omg I used to have a Frankenstein. He rode in my pick_up truck with me when I went to trail rides. I would take him to the dances, set him up in a chair with a drink and introduce him as my date, Frankie Steiner. It was a hoot! When my DH joined me trailriding, Frankie was retired.

  20. Anonymous7:14 PM EDT

    What a fascinating antique log cabin quilt -- thanks for sharing it with us and showing us the backing -- and especially thank you for displaying it to advantage, even tho the salt sacks were hidden.

  21. 'Frank' would have been funny in the quilt cave at home. Frank & panda.

  22. Very interesting quilt back!

    But, being the lover of all things Halloween that I am, it would have been Frank I would have been hard put to leave behind!


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