Sunday, April 02, 2006

Smithsonian Quilt tour

If you ever get the chance to go on this behind-the-scenes tour, DO IT! It was so cool! The guides took us to the quilt storage room and there we spent the next 2.5 hours gazing at amazing quilts. Some were from as early as the 1750's - the newest one was from 1976. We got to see one of Martha Washington's UFO's! She had pieced the middle medallion and then her daughter or maybe daughter in law added on to it. It had not been quilted and is in very frail condition.

Here are a few of the quilts I saw. You can view more of them at the Smithsonian website.

This first one was pieced by Frances Jolly, an African-American, in 1839. The guides think she must have been a free woman because she lived up north and then at some point moved to NC. The quilt was made in 1839 and has her name embroidered in the center medallion. The quilt reminded me a lot of today's folk art quilts. She did a buttonhole stitch around all the applique pieces instead of the usual hidden applique stitches. The quilt is beautiful - great rich colors.

This second quilt is very well known. It is called the Bible quilt and was made by Harriet Powers in 1886. She lived in Athens, Georgia. The panels depict different scenes from the bible.
This quilt is one of my favorites. A mother made this quilt for her son to take with him as he went off to fight for the Union in the Civil War. 2 of her 3 sons did not make it home. This is the quilt of the son that did come home. Nines - this quilt is supposed to be from Noblesville Indiana! I am putting this quilt in my "to do" pile! Maybe as a wall hanging?

So far, I am on track with my grandiose quilting plans for this week. I have gotten the 30's baby quilt quilted and have loaded on the bright blues baby quilt to do tomorrow. I also worked on my secret project yesterday. This involves the challenge quilt me and Nina are supposed to making each other. Here again, are the rules:

1. The finished quilt is due next year on our birthdays (mid-June 2006).
2. The finished quilt should be lap size, about 60" x 60".
3. The supplied fabric must be the featured fabric. Not just used, but featured.
4. Other fabrics used should come mostly from our stash.
5. You can use any pattern or block you want.
6. Next year, Nina gets to make up the rules.

Let me warn Nina right now, that I may break some rules. I am not sure all of the fabrics are going to make it to "featured" status. Maybe I can use it as part of the backing. My mom already thinks that the blocks I have finished are kind of loud! Me and Nina wanted to share photos of our challenge quilts with you but don't trust each other not to peak! I guess you will have to wait until June and the big unveiling!

Time for some oreos and milk and then off to bed!


Tonya R said...

I love that patriotic quilt too. I bet that's all appliqued and pieced, tho I can see how easy it would be to "cheat", uh, make, by using striped fabric and blue fabric with stars. That wouldn't have quite the same charm tho.

Sharon said...

Love the "show" this morning - thanks a bunch. I can't believe the overload of inspiration I would have after 2.5 hours of looking at them! And they let you take pictures? Wowohwowohwow!

Darcie said...

It's so cool that you could take pictures and share them with us from your field trip, Sarah! Thanks so much!

That applique quilt from France Jolly looks as though it could have been made yesterday. And just think...these women just made what was in their hearts! And some still call this a *craft?* I beg to differ!!!

Great pics of your *finished* projects, Sarah! You are rockin'!

Dawn said...

Oh I love those quilts! Thanks for posting them. And I'm totally jealous at getting to do the behind scenes tour! Thanks so much for posting this!

Laura said...

Wow, lucky you seeing all those wonderful quilts. I would love to see the Harriet Powers quilt someday. Thanks for sharing!

Lucy said...

Thank you for sharing this pic's . I love them . and I have seen the patriotic quilt in a book :c)