Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A New Old Quilt for Valentine's Day

It was last week when I completed the last stitch in the new binding around this restored 1880s quilt.  I've been celebrating by sleeping under it each night. Because of its wool batting, it's nice and warm.
Here's the finished quilt on the bed.  I made pillow cases out of muslin with a matching 2 inch red stripe to match.  I think I'll make another set using the green fabric.
When I first started working on this quilt many of the blocks looked like this, but this one was the worst.

So the next generation of the family knows what has happened to this quilt I printed a rather lengthy history on fabric and sewed it onto the back.  If you want to read what I said, it follows below:

Harvey Family
Red and Green Tulip Basket Quilt
85 x 102 inches
There are no family stories or oral history about this quilt, but there has been some discussion of who might be the original maker.  As a young girl I remember that this quilt was displayed on the brass bed in the bedroom on the main floor of the Harvey Cottage at Winona Lake, IN.  In the late 1960’s it was a beautiful quilt but in great need of repair.

In September of 2013 I began the task of repairing it. On January 2, 2015 I placed my last stitches in the binding. This was a labor of love.

The original white background fabric had beautiful hand stitching worth preserving, but the red and green fabrics were in terrible condition. The green had so many holes in it, I could just pinch and pull it off the quilt. I re-appliqued brand new matching red and green fabrics over each block and the outer border. 

There were numerous little holes in the white areas, both on the front and the back. I appliqued new muslin patches over these areas to give the quilt more stability. As I worked I marked the areas that needed to be re-quilted, and that was all stitched by hand. A new binding was sewn right over the original binding to protect the fragile edges. 

This quilt has now been transformed into a beautiful piece, the layout of the blocks, the hand quilting and the contrast of the fabrics is stunning. I’m glad that I was able to preserve it for future family members.

A quilt historian told me that this tulip quilt was probably made in the 1880s. I’d like to think that my Great Grandmother Nancy C. Harvey (1870-1959) sat around a quilt frame with her four sisters: Belle, Alice, Lida and Madge Culbertson, to finish it for her wedding in 1891. There were many hands that stitched on this quilt, some were the original stitchers and some probably sat on the porch to make repairs in more recent years.

Inside the quilt is wool batting and I know that they had sheep on the Culbertson Farm in southern Indiana. The wool fibers had to be carefully placed on the underside of the top to give it loft and warmth.
Ann Harvey Fahl,
Quilt artist and family historian

Happy Valentine's Day.


Barb H said...

Absolutely beautiful, Ann. You did a wonderful job of restoration and I hope your family treasures both the quilt and you!

margaret said...

Beautifully done! I'm SO glad that you're sleeping under it. Makes it that much more of a treasure.