Anyone who loves quilts, likely loves antiques. I have my favorite shops that I like to peruse for the latest find. It's located next door to a GFS Marketplace that my husband visits every two weeks for business supplies. I tag along to spend time in the antique shop. Two weeks ago, we ventured into Mt. Pleasant for the business shopping. We parted in the parking lot, him toward the Marketplace and myself toward the Antique shop.
Sometimes, I have items in mind for which I am searching. This time, I thought I would just browse. I let the booth contents draw me in, and I look for unassuming items. The first booth had beaded jewelry, but further back was a bowl filled with carded buttons. Some of the buttons had been stapled to pieces of cardboard, while others were on their original cards. Sure enough, I found some antique Mother-of-Pearl. I picked up some buttons, as well as, a packet of needles. The needles were in a folder that had advertisement from a stamp program. If you are old enough, you remember the stamp programs that stores promoted. You received so many stamps for purchasing store products. My mom collected S&H green stamps at the local Spartan store and turned them in for some gift. It took lots of stamp to recieve any kind of gift and I don't recollect anything specific that my mother recieved for all the stamps we licked and placed into the books. The folder of needles was $3 and contained all but a couple of needles. They were sharps in four sizes with gold eyes and were in like new condition. Perfect for a hand stitcher.
Further down, I stopped at a favorite booth that has linens, hankerchiefs and the like. Nothing new to look at here. Another booth, further down the aisle, had revealed a few unique items in the past, so I browed through the shelves. As I turned to walk back out of the booth, a ziploc bag tucked behind a glass item caught my eye. There were several pieces of folded muslin pieces peeking out of the top of the bag. I unfolded each item to discover an assortment of embroidery panels. Some were the type found in dime stores in sets. Two others were elaborate pictures often used to make pillows. One, in particular, caught my attention. It was a linen cross-hatched design from Paragon Needlecraft with a fawn and bunny sniffing flowers that reminded me of Bambi & Thumper. The flower centers had open space to embroidery new baby information: name, born, weight. I couldn't pass this one up, since I am expecting two grandbabies in the Spring. A friend suggested that I copy the pattern onto another piece of muslin and make two, so each new grandbaby has one.
I have evolved into the quilter that finishes other stitcher's projects. I cannot see these items remaining UFO's, although, I certainly have a UFO stash of my own. This project is one I hope to finish during the long, cold, Michigan winter nights by the fireplace. The other pieces will likely find their way into my own UFO pile. National Paragon Corporation was a top needlecraft company since 1929 until it sold to Dale Burdett in 1987. A little searching online, and I discovered that my embroidery design is actually from a 1960s Bambi and Thumper Disney Cross Stitch Birth Record Kit. I found a vintage kit for sale online at Etsy, so I now know how the pattern was originally meant to be stitched. Check it out.
I glanced through a few more booths, before ending up at a booth of quilts folded on bookcase shelves. I had been through this booth many times and never found anything worth purchasing. However, a quilt caught my eye. I didn't recall seeing this before, so I unfolded it to check the size. It was a lap size Rail Fence pattern sewn in nine patches. Several fabrics repeated across the quilt and the fabrics had a silky feel. The backing was a satin which elicited a pause, as I wondered whether this was handmade or a store bought item. Closer inspection revealed hand stitching to put together the strips, while one long end of the quilt had been hand stitched closed with a line of quilting. It appears that the maker stitched the three sides together from the wrong sides, then turned the quilt inside out and hand stitched the opening closed. There was no filling in the quilt, indicating a summer throw. Since the fabrics appeared to be mostly silks, it was likely used in a parlor as a decorative piece.
Scrap quilts are some of my favorite. They display a lot of color and a mix of so many fabrics. Closer inspection of this quilt, by a quilt friend and myself, and we determined that it was likely made from silk ties. There are varying widths of strips that could have been cut from the slimmer sections of the ties. As well, there are pieces that show seams like a tie. The pieces are hand stitched and the entire quilt is tied. Here is a close-up of a section from the quilt.
Without having this quilt appraised, the quilt's history is just a guess. Since silk was difficult to produce in America, with few manufacturers during the 1800's, most silk was imported. Due to the expense, it was generally used by the more wealthy in east coast cities. The Victorian Age had a resurgence of quilting with the advent of the Crazy Quilt. But, I would venture that this quilt is more modern using a collection of purchased or saved silk ties. Something to think about using a colletion of silk ties I have in my stash.