Today I was privileged to attend a special presentation of antique quilts housed in the hospital at the LDS Heritage Park. A member of the Salt Lake Quilt Guild gave an OSHER group presentation explaining the connection of quilting to our American society and to the Industrial Revolution. Quilts dated from the 1820’s to the 1940’s. While I would love to show them all to you here, I’ve managed to cull the file down to ten. Some are particularly unusual and many were hand quilted as well as hand pieced.
“Sunbonnet Sue” has always been one of my favorites. My mother made one for me not many years before she died, and it was my very favorite of all my quilts, but there’s a sad story behind it now. Not long after we moved here in fall of 2005, it disappeared. Hubby did not agree with me that we should change all the locks on the entry doors because there were so many of them he thought it was cost a fortune to replace them all. And he assured me we needn’t worry about locking up because we’d moved to Salt Lake City in Utah which was probably one of the most honest places in the country! The house had many prior occupants and there was no way to know how many keys were floating around at large, but I could not convince him.
After several quilts and a blanket had been missing for months, he still insisted I’d misplaced them, even though I keep all my quilts together in one display cabinet. We both looked high and low several times, but they never showed up. He’s a good man, my hubby, except he’s far too trusting for someone who’s been in this country nearly 40 years! I don’t even have a photograph of it, but now at least I have this one. 😥 One final twist to the story: when we finally had the locks redone, it cost $50. For me, the three quilts were priceless.
It’s too bad the detail isn’t better in this one. The design is made of one-half inch squares! by hand! Many of these fancier quilts were usually stored away and brought out to adorn the beds when company came. After they left, they would be carefully rolled up and put away until the next guest.
My first thought about this one was “Eeewww.” But then I got closer for a better look. The design is made with irregular shaped pieces of textured fabric with fur in the center, making it look like little animals in the center. I think my granddaughter would like this one. I could imagine stroking the fur as you lay under it on a cold wintry day.
And of course no quilt collection would be complete without the crazy quilt from the Victorian era. Some of the fabric scraps are shiny and textured and all are embroidered down the seams in fancy needlework stitches.
The building where the quilts are kept is a hospital from the pioneering era of the mid- to late 1800’s. The rooms are large, and the beds–several of them–are placed close to the walls. The next two pictures show how it might have looked during its hey day.
This quilt (below) is much plainer, probably made from random scraps, and tied rather than quilted. I have one similar to this hand-stitched by my grandmother with my father’s WWII-issue wool blanket as the filler material.
I rather like this one myself. It’s a unique way to use up those old silk ties to use as a table cover. It’s also tied rather than quilted.
There’s usually a method to my madness, and there’s a special reason I went to that quilt presentation today. You see, I have two quilts I’ve started–one is a sampler quilt of 12 blocks, and I’ve finished nine. The tenth is sooooooo difficult I’m stymied. The other is a simple four-inch-block rag quilt, lap size, made of flannel. I’m looking forward to having it closeby one of the Utah winters! But it’s so boring doing the same block over and over and therein lies the rub.
Anyhow, my daughter and I went to see Julie and Julia (the movie) a few weeks ago. We saw the last showing for the day and if it hadn’t been nearly midnight when it was finished, we would have gone out to eat straightaway; it made us so hungry! Now I’m still feeling the effects of watching two women on the screen, one of whom so enthusiastic in her life and cooking and the other determined to learn to be.
One of the scenes near the beginning showed Julie grilling French bread slices in gobs of butter and serving Bruschetta. Next day the subliminal message was still so strong, nothing would do until I went out to buy a French Baguette to bring home for a Bruschetta snack. And then I started remembering some of the simple but delicious foods I used to cook back when I thought I liked to cook. And Hubby became so inspired to see me fiddling around in the kitchen again that he learned to make homemade yogurt! We are so inspired, and now he wants me to see Julie and Julia several times a year. Maybe we’ll even buy it when it comes out on DVD.
Who knows? The quilt show might work, too, inspiring me to finish those quilts before I die. The way I figure it, if I’m learning through Julie and Julie to enjoy cooking again, even a teensy weensy bit, it could happen! Anything’s possible.