I was at my in-laws' house the other day and my MIL mentioned her "antique quilt" that she was handed down to her and had just packed away so it wouldn't get ruined. I was intrigued at her comment, not recalling seeing any such thing in her house over all the years I've been there. She mentioned it having small spots that needed repairing and she didn't want it to get any worse.
She continued to chatter away about how it was a white top with little pieces set around in a circular shape with the back being a light purple color. I thought it may be the Dresden Plate pattern, from the way she described it. I've never made a Dresden Plate but I do have a pattern for it and would like to try it one day.
Then she continued to say that she thought it was all hand pieced and a hand stitched quilt and was probably from the 30's or maybe as late as the 40's. I had to ask about more of it's history and she said that her step mother's mother made it. She was from Nebraska and there were two quilts that survived the years, this being one of them.
When she asked if I wanted to see it, I had to say "YES" to that offer. "OK, I'll see if I can find it quick but if not, then maybe next time..." Oh, the agony!
She came back moments later with it in her hand. It was definately full of Dresdens and was still very vibrantly colored and really well made. It had that crinkly material look, like it had been well used and many had cuddled under its beauty. It even smelled good!
I draped it over some chairs to get some photos. I didn't want to hang it in fear of ripping it. Here are some shots I got for you to enjoy.
There are 25 plates that are all made with 16 wedges. The colors are just gorgeous.
You can see the hand sewing in the center of the plates. Nice and even.
Come to find out, the back was not a purple color at all. It was a soft white, just like the front. She was kind enough to let me borrow it for a few weeks so I can bring it to my Quilting Club for "show and tell" in September.
I wish I could have seen quilters doing their thing back in those days. The closest thing I have to that is watching old shows like the Waltons when the ladies gathered around a stretch frame and were sewing together a wedding quilt for Mary Ellen. I guess that is part of loving this wonderful craft that has kept practical artistic masterpieces in the homes of so many. The wonder of the stories behind the blankets and being able craft some up to hand the bed-sized works of art over to those who will use them and love them.