I was greeted by a dazzling array of mosaic patchwork quilts culled from the IQSC collection. Drawing treasures from both sides of the Atlantic, the exhibit featured one of the earliest quilts in the museum's collection—a 1796 hexagon mosaic beauty by Anna Ruggles of the United Kingdom.
The exhibit card pointed out that Anna created a design challenge when she opted to surround the double rosettes in the center with a ring of single ones, thus preventing the single ones from aligning symmetrically along the quilt's vertical axis. Her solution was the stair-stepped outer border. Isn't it amazing what our quilting predecessors were able to do with less?
Anna was a master at fussy-cutting fabrics. Don't you wish some of these gorgeous fabrics were being reproduced today? Having a passion for pink, I was especially enamored with this one.
This medallion quilt made by Belle Abram dates to 1808. The quilt records reveal that the patchwork took Belle nine years to complete.
The smallest patches are in the center and their sizes increase progressively with each border.
There is no mystery about the maker behind this 1818 medallion masterpiece that spotlights chintz appliqué.
Frances Hawkins displayed her name prominently in the hexagons. She also put her fabric to dramatic use in the appliquéd dogtooth border.
Made in East Yorkshire in 1833, this medallion quilt was made by 12-year-old Mary Staveley. In its center, an embroidered inscription reads: "I have done this to let you see what care my parents took of me"—a popular choice for samplers of the day.
I was mesmerized by the embroidery work in this quilt—an artful collage of birds, blooms, urns, and other animals. Seeing its workmanship made me realize how much times have changed. Sadly, I can't imagine many of today's 12-year-olds being disciplined enough to create this quilt!
The embroidery in this exquisite British medallion coverlet was wrought in wool and silk thread. In the center, the maker stitched "Ann Stevenson 1734" but the actual coverlet wasn't completed until 1820-1840—a common practice of the day. Families often saved pieces of embroidery and incorporated them into later needlework projects.
This hexagon quilt was probably made in Maryland in 1830-1850. Today's quilters know this pattern as Grandmother's Flower Garden but as the exhibit card says, that name is an early 20th-century invention. It is not known exactly what was called in the early 1800s.
I was amazed that the fabrics were still so vibrant. Love this pink and green one! I enjoyed looking at the quilter's many color combinations.
This intriguing hexagon coverlet from Massachusetts dates to 1820-1840. I loved its inventive layout and the interplay of light and dark fabrics.
Here's a detail shot of some of the columns of hexagons.
According to the exhibit card, this hexagon coverlet was most likely made in the United Kingdom between 1810-1830. It features many single-color "eccentric" patterns comprised of distorted or wavy lines, which were developed for banknote printing in 1810 and adapted for British roller-printed cottons in the 1820s.
British block-printed panels like the one in the center of this antique fragment were often incorporated into decorative accessories such as firescreens and cushions in Great Britain during the early 19th century. The British have such great taste, don't they?
Hope you enjoyed this little tour of mosaic masterpieces! Come back later this week to see a few vintage sewing notions, including toy sewing machines, that were also on display at the museum while I was there. After visiting the museum, I stopped by a few antique shops and found a little treasure to bring home. More on that later...