I’m still daydreaming of my trip to Brimfield Antiques Market with my friend, Diana Annis. As I reflect on the time we spent and the purchases I made, I regret some of the “ONES THAT GOT AWAY!”. I won’t let that happen again next time…I’ll spend more time and be more careful of the condition of the quilts I buy! So, did I make a mistake when buying this quilt? Leave me a comment to let me know…Do you think that this is trash or treasure?
Well… I did come home with two quilts that I will enjoy for years to come…and as I mentioned last week, I love a quilt with a good story! Let me tell you about one quilt I took home, and a bit about its journey to Brimfield!
The story behind a 1930s Dresden Plate Quilt:
The sad truth is that the story behind this quilt is lost. How did this quilt come to be found in this unusual condition? What I do know is that the maker was extremely skilled, the hand quilting is gorgeous and the Dresdens are perfectly made. So why is the quilt cut in half, and sewn back together with great big hand stitches? It certainly wasn’t the original quilt maker who did that! Why was I attracted to this sad story? What I would give to know the TRUE story behind the quilt! I wish someone had written down the quilt’s “Her-Story”.
The “Her-Story” behind my 1980s Dresden Plate Quilt:
Back in the 1970s, I learned to quilt with my Mom, Elaine. We immediately opened our own quilt shop before we knew what the heck we were doing. The shop was in the tiny little church I went to as a child…after a bigger better church was built! We lived behind the shop in a small apartment meant for the pastor of the church. By that time, my three siblings had all left home and I had a great little room with my first full-size bed and hardwood floors. I loved that room, it made me feel so grown up! I was 15 at the time.
The shop was filled with late 70s fabrics and we ran the shop into the mid-1980s. My first quilt was made to fit my full-sized bed. I chose fabrics from the shop, right around 1978…”lovely” (LOL!) brown and rust color calicos.
Here is the quilt on my bed today…too small for my queen-sized bed, so it lives in the closet.
As you can see, Dresden plates have been a favorite of mine from the very beginning. I made the mistake of doing a 15 petal Dresden, so it looks wonky, no matter how well it was put together. I got bored with the quilting and didn’t quilt nearly enough. I’m not a fan of the colors and it is too small. Yet I still cherish my first quilt and would never give it up!
When I saw this 30s style Dresden with gorgeous symmetrical fans, well-done hand quilting, sweet 30s style fabrics, and big enough for my bed, I knew I had to have it! So I grabbed it before anyone else could and bundled it into our wagon. I spied a pretty “Coffin-Shaped” one patch quilt in 30s fabrics. I scored both for a cool, crisp $100 bill!
Little did I know that there was more to this quilt’s story! When I got home and laid the quilt on my bed, I realized it was HUGE! The quilt comes down to the floor over the footboard, and wraps over two overstuffed pillows with about a 10″ tuck and 10″ extra on the top edge! Why in the heck would anyone make such a HUGE quilt!
So Diane and I thought since it was so big, someone had cut it in half to fit two twin beds. Then, the kids grew up, and the owner sewed it back together again (very poorly and with huge hand stitches!)
But then I got to thinking…and I made up a more likely scenario:
The quilt started out living on two twin beds in the guest room of Grandma’s house. After Grandma was gone, her sweet granddaughter (who loved sleeping next to her sister in the quilt-covered twin beds) rescued the two quilts that were bound for Good Will. She decided to stitch the two quilts together to cover her and her “basketball player” husband in their extra-long king-sized bed! (A California XL king is 72″ x 84″).
Poor Grandma, she must be rolling over in her grave.
This quilt measures 92″ x 128″, which is 11,776 square inches, so I paid 1.2 cents per square inch and got a second quilt thrown in for free. So, is this quilt Trash or Treasure? Let me know in your comments below! Would you buy a quilt with such a sad tale to tell?
Letting your quilts tell their own story is like the old game “telephone”. No one will ever know what the original story was. Repeating an oral history from generation to generation at best can lead to a distorted record. Eventually that oral history fades away and old treasures get sold for a few dollars at a flea market.
Make sure your story stays with the quilt! Even if your descendants don’t appreciate quilting arts, a documented quilt is much more likely to be prized by a collector!
Put A Label On It
What should you put on a quilt label? Make sure you put your name, your maiden name, your city and state, and the name of the quilt at the very least!
Join me for a Quilt Journaling workshop where we will record your quilt’s journey from inspiration to finished quilt. Record the true story behind your quilt: who it was for, why you were inspired to make it, what was going on in the world and in your life while you stitched the quilt. Then put the important details on a beautiful quilt label so your quilt can tell your story to your loved ones, long after you are gone. I promise…you don’t need to applique with me to love this workshop (but I will show you how to decorate quilt labels with applique if you want to!)
If you are reading this blog after the workshop has passed, Join “Ahead of the Curve!” Platinum Level Membership where we add new workshop recordings to the Member’s Video Library after the workshop has ended!
Gold Leaf members have 8 popular workshops, and Platinum Leaf members currently have access to 21 recorded workshops!
And that’s my story…with a little fiction added in!