Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Goodwill Quilt!

As promised, the rest of the story of my Goodwill Quilt

It was a bright and sunny day. I was wandering through  my local Goodwill Thrift store.

  That particular day, I spied this worn green and pink star quilt. I thought, "oh, they will have marked it way up" as is sometimes done with antique type items. But no! The price was $6.99.

$6.99!! I was incredulous! 
 I grabbed it. I didn't even completely unfold it. I just held it tightly to my breast and headed to the check out counter. I could hardly breath. I tried to appear calm, like it was an ordinary purchase, I knew it was an old quilt. Maybe 1930's or 1920's. I hastily paid for the quilt before someone would tell me it was mis-marked. I took it home and proudly showed it to my husband. Even HE was impressed with it when I told him of its possible value (like I am actually going to sell it!!).

I started searching the internet to get an idea of the age of this quilt. I had the quilt in my lap (loving it...stroking it) as I searched web sites for information.Patterns? Colors? Fabrics? The quilt is quilt faded. The star block--a common pattern. I was having no luck.

Then I found Barbara Brackman's site.  Her site describes "Clues in the Calico" for dating old/vintage quilts. At last some answers!

The first clue is the binding. It is narrow (3/8 inch) straight grain single layer binding which lays very flat. Indicative of a quilt of the 19th century. Actually, most are 1/4", but I figured an 1/8 of an inch is close...
Sorry, I didn't use natural lighting for this picture...so it looks yellow.  But, notice  narrow binding. 

The second clue was the fabric used for the backing. While it is the color of muslin, it is more coarse. It is called domestic cloth..  Again, a trait of a quilt made  in the 19th century. Generally, prior to 1880.

The third clue is the spacing of the quilting. Quilting less than 3/4 of an inch apart is indicative of a quilt made between 1840 and 1880. My quilt has stitching lines ranging from 1/4 of an inch inside the stars, to 1/2 inch in the outside border and a 3/4 inch grid for the background of the quilt.

A fourth clue is the way the backing/domestic cloth is sewn together. It may not be easy to see in this picture, but the two selvage edges are butted up to each other and then hand sewn together. It was not sewn like a seam. Another clue that is probably mid 19th century.

Again, no natural lighting. The thimble is sitting on the seam line. I hope you can see it. 

I was in such total shock. Is it possible I got a quilt that is 150 years old at Goodwill for $6.99?  I haven't gotten it professionally appraised yet, but that is one of my next steps for this quilt. How did this quilt come to be at a Goodwill in Omaha NE? Who made it? Had it been handed down? I wish the fabric could speak to me...I wish I was a "Quilt Whisperer" and could know about it's life.

Which is a lesson to us all...MAKE LABELS FOR ALL YOUR QUILTS!!

Have a glorious day! I hope to get some real decluttering done tomorrow...and I will tell you about my "other" filing system I use for my quilt "kits."

Til then....happy decluttering...and don't forget to throw in some quilting!!


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