Friday, March 23, 2012

Name that block

Tuesday was a sunny day, perfect for handsewing.  I have had Aunt Eliza's quilt, made during World War I (I think), for several years since Paul's mother passed away.  His sisters asked me to repair it, and I did stabilize a large number of seams Tuesday.  Every time I thought I was finished, I found another one that was coming undone.  It was entirely handsewn, perhaps because there were many inset seams. 
Last year when I was volunteering at the historical society, I asked a quilt conservator what to do about the holes and ragged binding.  She said the holes were not made by insects but were most likely made by use, folding along the centers all the time, and catching the edges on the bed springs when tucking the quilt in.  She recommended covering holes and the entire binding with bridal illusion (a fine tulle).  I found I could not see well enough to do this fine work, and because the quilt is quite stained, I'm not sure it is worth spending the money for restoration.  While working on the quilt I also noticed that Aunt Eliza's stitches were fairly large and the quilting was not decorative, leading me to believe that she really made the quilt to be used anyway.  I think it is best stored as is, and perhaps gotten out for display now and then.  So it's going back to Carole one of these days.

Meanwhile, I thought I'd try to identify the 8" blocks that were used.   The blue and white blocks are Puss in the Corner or Uneven Nine Patch.  But what about the other block?  There was a note with the quilt that called the quilt "Joseph's Coat," but I don't think that's the name of the block. I looked through Jinny Beyer's encyclopedic book of patchwork patterns and every book in my collection but couldn't find it.  Maybe someone out there in the blogosphere can help?

My attempt to make a block similar to this one with my sewing machine was really awful.  I can now understand why Aunt Eliza did it all by hand!

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