Friday, September 11, 2015

Morning Time with Mary!


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.

So lovely!


Remember the Giver
Mary B Phillips
Chester County

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!

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  1. Soo beautiful Wow!! Thank u for sharing

  2. Thanks for sharing this quilt with us! Thanks to Mary too! This is a beautiful quilt and the stories/history it could tell. We are so lucky that you include us when you have found a beautiful quilt. Thanks again!
    Jane Peck

  3. Beautiful quilt. We are so lucky to see it because of your and Mary's thoughtfulness. Thank you both.

  4. i know u get tired of hearing this, but r u going to get a quilt cam in before u leave for your next trip?

  5. Thanks for showing us this amazing quilt! I loved seeing it.

  6. Anonymous12:02 PM EDT

    Thought I would share this and complete the poem for you

    Parted friends again may meet,
    From the toils of nature free
    Crowned with Mercy, oh how sweet
    Will eternal friendship be.

    It seemed to be used in wills and as an epitaph. A lovely sentiment.

  7. An amazing quilt! Not only did it carry the friendships along with the traveler, but the making of the quilt strengthened the friendship of those who jointly made the quilt and who stayed behind. I'm interested in knowing more about the journey of the quilt. It was made in Pennsylvania and has returned to Mary in Pennsylvania, but where was it in the 100+ years in between? If you or Mary has any more information about the quilt's journey, please post it. Thanks.

  8. I always say every quilt has a story. Glad to know just a part of this one. Thanks to Mary for sharing her quilts with you so we could see them too. Amazing quilting with the double echoing. I don't think they were in a rush that day. I think they wanted to make sure the quilt lasted a long, long time. And it has...

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this gorgeous quilt. The blocks are lovely, the quilting is fabulous - I adore quilts like this. I want to make quilts like this one!

  10. I am amazed when I see Quilts from this era. I was in Lancaster 3 weeks ago. I visited so many shops . I watched some of the Ladies hand sew and I looked at many Quilts done by hand it's breath taking the elegance of a hand Quilter. Thank you for sharing this

  11. Today is seems almost hard to understand life without daily mail delivery, tv, cell phones etc. BUT MAYBE, in a way we can't grasp, the connections they did make with each other were more precious. I think so. Even the population is so much smaller!

    Thank you Bonnie for sharing this wonderful delicate beautiful quilt with us.
    Smiles, JulieinTN

  12. Old quilter3:30 PM EDT

    Wow! So beautiful. (My hand stitches need more practice, lots more.)
    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Anonymous3:44 PM EDT

    I wonder what they used to write on the quilt...after all this time, no bleeding, little fading...and beautiful penmanship! This quilt is an amazing treasure. Thank you for sharing it with those of us not lucky enough to experience it in person :)

  14. words seem so inadequate to describe such a beautiful heirloom that has survived for us to enjoy.....now that is one i would love to duplicate...

  15. I truly enjoy looking at old quilts. I appreciate your generosity in all the sharing you do with us Bonnie, you too are a great treasure! I too want to thank you for all you do and share with us. I am anxiously awaiting your craftu class, so I can learn some new things from you. Have a great day!

  16. I, too, am curious what they used to write on the quilts that would last so long.

  17. Kerrynconnor@westnet.com.au is this pattern for sale.

  18. I am liking the old style quilts with no borders. Now adding borders seems dated not in a good way. If you want a bigger quilt make more blocks!

  19. Anonymous7:11 AM EDT

    Beautiful, just beautiful. Thank you to you and Mary for sharing.

    Take care.

  20. What a beauty . IT is hard to imagine that they did this by hand. The quilting is superb. Just awesome. Love, love this goreous quilt and i like iT that iT has no border because now your eyes have no distraction. Thank you Bonnie For pointing out some of The blocks. IT is a real treasure. Happy quilting, Yoka B

  21. We have so many tech connections but seeing this marks the value of a written connection. Thank you to anonymous for the words to finish the poem. Does anyone know why there are so many warnings against using "old" thread when it seems the thread used in old quilts stood the test of time? Was their thread different or has it anything to do with the laundering? A big Thank You Bonnie for sharing your connections with all of us.

  22. What a beautiful quilt. It certainly must have been treasured by the recipients with such kind thoughts. I googled the phrases you were able to read on the one block and found this from a book called Trinity Church Grave Yard:

    Parted friends again may meet
    From the toils of nature free;
    Crowned with mercy, oh how sweet
    Will eternal friendship be.

    It appears to have been on the tombstone of JOseph Williams,died August 17, 1846, aged 37 years. He was born in Kingswinford, Staffordshire, England.

    Just thought you'd find this info interesting.

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful quilt.

    Loretta McGinn

  23. No one knows more about antique quilts then Mary Koval. And she is very generous with this knowledge. Her collection of quilts is wonderful. I really enjoy seeing all of her old quilts.

  24. Thank you for sharing this inspiration. What better venue than your blog to share this masterpiece with world. We would never have seen this piece of history if not for your sharing. With Ken Burns "The Civil War" series on TV this week it all stands out together as to what life was like so long ago. Love the eloquent language of that period instead of the shortcuts that area taken today. People made time for one another. Quilting links people together too.

  25. Wonderful that people cared so much for this person/persons that they took time to do such a beautiful quilt.
    Makes me think of Jennifer Chiavarinni's series of books starting with Quilters Apprentice.

  26. so very beautiful, thank you for sharing and inspiring us.

  27. Anonymous8:51 AM EDT

    Love to win this.

    Scrappy summer carnival would be first.


  28. Anonymous8:29 PM EDT

    I like to imagine what it was like to receive this quilt. I think she was a quilter herself. This quilt probably travelled west under difficult conditions. The owner must have valued it highly. It didn't cover a bed in a sunny location. No fading. It was carefully laundered and stored. No fraying on the binding. No stains from bloody noses or other liquids spilled on it. The white areas are still white, not yellowed. That's pretty amazing in itself.

  29. So inspiring! I started Baltimore Garden over three years ago and am just about done with it. I often thought about the original quilt maker as the quilt was made in 1848. You are so right no freezer paper and not even a pattern. Just amazing! Thank you for sharing the close ups of the hand quilting it just makes these quilts so special!


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