Antique Quilt HQAL

I haven’t got very far with my antique quilt, but I have made a start. This is an unfinished quilt which my daughter found when clearing her grandmother’s house. It’s a tumbling blocks pattern and from what we can deduce from the backing papers, it’s from around 1880!

Having taken advice from a nearby museum which specialises in textiles, I am aiming to finish it but also make a record, such as a book, of what I have done and anything I’ve discovered. The main body of the quilt is about 85″ by 58″, there’s also several part-pieced strips, waiting to be added, so I can fairly easily make it a little wider.

I decided to remove the remaining papers before I stitched the pieces together. I realise this isn’t the usual way of doing English paper piecing, but having been stitched down for nearly 150 years, I think the crease will stay there. More importantly, many of the papers won’t survive the handling involved when I try to stitch it, some are just newspaper which is already starting to disintegrate. These papers are the only chance we have of working out who may have made it.

As you can imagine, I kept getting distracted trying to read the snippets from the papers…

Henry Charles Butler, of Downland House, Bramshott, in the county of Southampton, Esquire, hereby give notice that I will NOT be RESPONSIBLE for DEBT or DEBTS my wife, ELIZABETH ANNE BUTLER…CONTRACT without my written authority and permission. I further Give Notice that she has no authority in any way to use my credit”

Ooh dear!

Or how about this …

FOR LADIES ONLY; Things a married woman cannot help thinking;

That she was a very pretty girl at sixteen. That she had, or would have had, a great many good offers. That all her lady friends are five years older than they say they are. That she has a very fine mind. That if her husband had acted on her advice he would be a richer man today. That her mother-in-law is a very trying woman.

As I said, I got waylaid! However, I have found a couple of useful snippets, two dates, one of 1876 and one of 1880, and a piece of a document which mentioned Sheffield. This is important as it suggests which branch of the family made it. Several years ago I looked into their family tree for my daughter and I recall a branch lived in Sheffield at about that time.

It’s been interesting looking more closely at the quilt. The stitches are so tiny, I counted one section to be about 20 stitches to the inch! Many of the diamonds themselves are also pieced and some of the seam allowances are very narrow! Some of the pieces are stained, but as the adjoining ones aren’t, I can only presume either the fabric was already stained, or it was stained as a prepared diamond but used anyway. There’s a huge variety of fabric, some of it feels almost waterproof, as if it has some kind of coating on it. I even found a pin still in the fabric, I’m not sure what it’s made of as it looks black and not particularly rusty.

I’ve counted the spare blocks and I have enough for another two rows which would make it more of a square. I just need to find some vintage creamy white fabric which will blend in for one row of adjoining diamonds.

I love the complete mix of fabrics, especially the occasional pop of red, it’s a true scrappy quilt! Hopefully next time I share this quilt with you I’ll be stitching the blocks together.

Hand Quilt Along Links

This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another.  If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.

Kathy, Margaret, TracyDeb, Susan,  Nanette,  EdithSharonKarrin, Gretchen, Kathi, Daisy, Connie, Monica and Sherrie

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
This entry was posted in Quilt-a-long, Quilting, Serendipity and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Antique Quilt HQAL

  1. katechiconi says:

    I hope you do find some fabric of the correct vintage to finish this, or you’ll have to resort to the time-honoured trick of tea-staining to achieve the right vintague hue. Considering this quilt has seen the generations come and go, I don’t suppose it would mind the tribute of actual new fabric being added in order to complete it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. katechiconi says:

    Oops, that’s ‘vintage…’

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loraine says:

    How amqzing! Your daughter must have been thrilled to find it.A real link to the past. Good luck with finishing it. Loraine xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. tialys says:

    What a fascinating project! I would also be waylaid by the papers, so interesting.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. What a precious project.
    The paper pieces as interesting as the quilt. Perhaps you could photograph the pieces of paper – transfer them onto fabric and make new pieces to go into the quilt from that.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Do you think the pin is made of steel?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. claire93 says:

    oooh I hope Elizabeth Anne Butler watched her spending after that !!!
    And great idea of Wild Daffodil to see if you could transfer prints of those paper pièces, with writing, onto fabric to use in quilt!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. sandidureice says:

    Absolutely fascinating. Looking forward to the next instalment.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. CurlsnSkirls says:

    Fascinating indeed! Agree with photoing whatever you can, perhaps as part of your record keeping, as well as printing onto fabric and using to complete the quilt. As for that black pin – I was wondering if it might be silver, coated perhaps, or an alloy. What a treasure hunt!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Deb says:

    Beautiful old scrappy! I loved that you shared some of the newspaper print. Send me a close up picture of the creamy white fabric you are wanting to match .. I’ll see of I have any to match as I have older antique scraps. Be glad to share if I have some.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. WOW!! Such an interesting find! I loved hearing the news from those papers and would definitely be slowed down by reading them. What a fantastic project to be working.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. kathyreeves says:

    What an amazing piece of family history you are working on, Margaret! It is a beauty.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sherrie says:

    Hi,
    What an awesome piece of history for your family. The
    quilt is beautiful…have a great day!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Susan Nixon says:

    What a wonderful bit of history – family and otherwise. I, too, would get lost in reading those snippits! It’s such a little photograph of a time long past that we don’t know much about, on a daily basis.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Sharon says:

    I think this is one of the most interesting and exciting projects I have seen. The historical and family connection, a bit of genealogy to unravel the mystery perhaps. I have no doubt you will find the right fabric and restore this beauty, beautifully 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Karrin Hurd says:

    How interesting, I think I would be reading all the papers too!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. What a treasure!!! I love the historical tidbits tucked inside. I hope you are adding them to the diary. I look forward to hearing more:)

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Absolutely amazing – that is going to be quite the piece (and you are fearless to take on all that work!)

    Liked by 1 person

  19. magpiesue says:

    Wow. Everyone has already said what I’ve been thinking about this project. Just, wow.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. nanacathy2 says:

    This has to be the most interesting project ever.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Amanda says:

    Fantastic! So glad you’re sharing. I can only dream of ever finding something like this and it certainly wouldn’t have family history.

    Liked by 1 person

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