Antique quilts

I was looking forward to sharing more pictures of great museum quilts from another DAR session this week. But, Mother Nature decided to dump snow on the DC area and when that happens everything halts around here.  So, the museum was closed and I missed out on something I’ve been looking forward to more than Christmas.  Ah, well, I am sure it will be rescheduled.  In the meantime, I thought I would share a few of my own quilts.

Last winter, I bought quilts at an auction for the first time ever.  What fun! I knew I would have to be careful not to get swept up in the bidding excitement so I put a very firm limit on what I was willing to pay and things worked out well for me.  I got what I wanted and didn’t break the bank.  The star quilt above is the reason I decided on giving it a shot at all.  I may have mentioned (two or three hundred times) that I love 8-pointed (aka Lemoyne/Lemon stars).  I’ve seen some really early examples in others’ collections and I think this one may be one of the oldest in my own collection.

Here is a close-up of the soft pink toile border.  If you squint, you can see that the maker had to piece the border in the corner.  You can also get a look at the quilting which is pretty decent.  There are clamshells quilted in the border and some nice grid and outline quilting on the stars.  The alternate blocks have an unusual motif which wasn’t captured here.

Above is a close-up of the stars so you can get a look at the fabrics.  They are different from what I see in my later quilts.

Speaking of fabrics, this is a chintz quilt from the same lot at the stars one above.  When I bid, it was for the stars in my mind but I knew there was another “chintz” as part of the deal.  I had no expectations so when I saw this one I was more than a little excited.  It’s hard to get a good look at the fabrics in the two photos below but they are incredible.  Some, like the browns on the right in the upper photo and near the top in the second photo below, are nearly gone but most are just fine.  There is a blue and white toile in one of the nine-patches pictured that is a “bear baiting” toile.  That’s what I was told, at least, by someone who knows toiles much better than I do.  These quilts came from New York and the backing on this chintz quilt has the stamp of the mill that made the fabric – Lowell Mills.  I hope to do a little research to see if I can find out more about the fabrics made at that mill.  There is not a lot of quilting in this one.


The feathered star quilt below is another quilt from the same sale.  All of these were part of a single family collection.  I am not sure if they were family quilts or just collected by the family but they were from New York.  It is rare that I know where my quilts are from so this is pleasing to me.  The feathered star is not well quilted – there is not a lot of it and the pattern looks rather hurried – but is all hand pieced and that was done well.  I like the way the browns were kind of clumped together and the colors (pinks, yellow, gold, blues) are more on the left and bottom.  I saw an Ohio star in the Nebraska Historical Society collection that had its colors arranged like this one.  When I saw this one it just charmed me into buying it.  Besides, hardly anyone else bid on it so it wasn’t expensive.  Some of the browns look like they are about to give up but it is still in reasonable shape.  And, the fabrics are quite fun to look at.

So, I don’t have the wonderful DAR quilts to show you but I enjoyed sharing some of my own favorites.  I hope you are able to enjoy them, too.

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  1. Oh my, these are wonderful quilts! It is a joy to see them on your blog- usually quilts like these are only in museums. They seem very early to me. Thanks for posting them.

  2. These are all so pretty… I just love the softer colors from the earlier 1800's. And a Lemoyne star quilt like yours…it's on my list of "must make" quilts, that's for sure.

  3. All three are fantastic! What a lucky auction for you! I go to a lot of local auctions, and rarely see any good quilts…..You hit the jackpot! Awesome!

  4. These are marvelous! I always love a feathered star quilt. those stars must be smaller for there to be so many. The 9 patch has some interesting fabrics in it. Thanks for the close shots! So for the uninformed, what is bear baiting toile? I hope your DAR event goes ahead on another day!

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