Tuesday, April 12, 2011
How To Read a Quilt/Part 2
There is a presence about antique quilts that seem to break through the barriers of time. I often wish I could reach through the decades and touch the hand of the woman who has worked so patiently with needle and thread. My culture is fast paced, with the expectation of immediate results. Hers, a more simple time. And yet, we have many things in common, she and I. Often, I am drawn to look back. Relax. Sit a spell. Ponder. What was she like, this creator? The history of antique quilts is one of the reasons I so enjoyed listening to Lenna DeMarco's lecture on How To Read a Quilt. By the 1860's - 1870's, women had more fabrics and colors available to them. This woman had a good grasp on math skills. The quilt is well laid out, and all the points meet. In the 1880's pink and brown combinations became popular. The first quilt patterns were not published until after the civil war. By the time this quilt was made in Upstate New York, patterns like the Ohio Star were being printed. Patterns and designs were often regional. We can trace the evolution of a pattern across states as it traveled from mother to daughter to cousin to friend. Of all the quilts Lenna showed, this was probably my favorite. The designer left so many messages of herself. Her belief system stitched in every spot. Hex signs have many meanings, often thought to bring good luck. I love the intricacy of the hand quilting. Was she a lover of music? Notice the violin stitched in the middle of the quilt. Hearts for love. What was she trying to say with the spoons she hand quilted through out? There were so many intricate messages about herself. A harp, baby feet, scissors. If only this quilt could talk.