Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Piecing together the past

Hundreds of hours of painstaking work were rescued from a box of items brought in for one of our recent General Household Sales.......

This huge quilt top has been hand sewn using the "English paper piecing method" to make a dramatic "tumbling blocks" quilt where each block of three diamonds creates the 3 dimensional appearance of a child's wooden block. The quilter has carefully selected black satins and velvets to create the top of each "block" to emphasize the design.

This example has clearly been made from a wide selection of former items of clothing with velvets and satins amongst the standard cottons. Re-using clothing in quilts was common practice when new fabric was considered a luxury item, but this only serves to make this quilt an even more important historical record of fashion, textiles and austerity.

Because this quilt top has been paper-pieced but never actually quilted (by layering it with wadding and backing fabric and then stitching through the three layers) the majority of paper templates are still held in place behind each diamond. The quilter has used a wide variety of paper pieces such as old letters and pages from publications and closer examination of these would help to date the quilt.

The quilt has now been consigned to our Fine Art and Antique Auction to be held next week on Wednesday 22nd September as Lot 152, and can be viewed on Saturday 18th September between 10am and 1pm and on Tuesday 21st September between 2 and 6pm.

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