Monday, 22 September 2008

Another old quilt

On Saturday I went to Rocheberie Quilters in Rugby. The members of this group are a very generous bunch, and make lots of Linus quilts for me, buy items from my rummage box of unwanted stuff and bring lots of surplus sewing-related things to keep the aforementioned rummage box in good health. Saturday was no exception. The rummage box donations dish had £19.75 in it at the end of the day, some unsold pieces from the sales table were added to the box, I had two Linus quilts to take home and someone gave me a partly completed hexagon quilt to use for Linus. I am always pleased to receive donations of any kind for Linus, and felt sure that I could cut the good part of the top about to make a suitable quilt.




Here is the quilt, displayed on my lounge carpet! Unremarkable hexagons, with the papers still on the back. I decided to take the papers out, wash it and complete the bit that was missing, as it was quite a good size and wouldn't take much work. When I turned it over, I had quite a shock, as the papers had been cut from old letters, and the writing looked to be copperplate and not very modern at all. Some of the papers had writing going across and then down, on top of one another. This was done to save postage and paper, in the Victorian era.


Then I found papers which had presumably been cut from envelopes, with postmarks on them!

This one is a handstamp from Warrington 92, which must be 1892

and this one Bathearton (?) Dec 91 which must be 1991! This proves that the papers are nearly 120 years old, and the fabric must be at least that.

The fabrics don't seem to be remarkable, but this puts me in a quandry. What do I do with it? I am loathe to give it to a museum, where it will end up in a box, and would rather finish the quilt (with reproduction fabrics) and make it into a quilt or coverlet, as the maker intended. Did I ought to try to contact the person who gave it to me (sorry, I didn't take note of who it was!) and give it back? Or can I finish it, put a donation into Linus and keep it myself? All suggestions gratefully received.

7 comments:

Joyce said...

It seems to be a shame to destroy the papers but also it would be nice to finish the quilt. I'm not sure what I would do. If the person who owned it put it in the rummage, they couldn't be too concerned with the history of it. Maybe there is a collector who would pay good money for it and you could then donate that or use it for Linus project quilts . Or have a big spending spree on yourself! Lol.

Ginger_Curls said...

Is it possible to take the papers out very carefully? They can be donated to a museum. Then you can finish the quilt and either keep it (putting a donation in if you wish) or you could auction it to raise money.

Patti said...

I would leave it just as is and see if a collector might purchase it. I think I'd put it on Ebay. This is just the sort of thing Eileen Trestain collects to use in her quilt history classes - the ones I've been taking. And having the paper still inside is important. She has similar items that she has bought from collectors - there may very well be someone out there who would want this. Then you can donate the money to use for supplies like batting, etc.

Nancy said...

I would either keep it myself and make a donation to Linus or sell it to a collector and make that donation to projuce Linus. It seems a shame to lose the importance of this quilt top, someone should have it that will appreciate it. But as it was donated for Project Linus, there should be an alternate donation made.

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

leave the papers in! don't do anything to it, please. donate it or sell it or keep it, but leave the condition as is. It is a wonderful bit of history. At least sitting in a box at a museum it will be lovingly cared for and occasionally put on display or shown to historians. It won't be forgotten, but cared for carefully.

Sew Create It - Jane said...

I'm going to echo Tonya's suggestion...I think it should be left as is...a quilt collector on either side of the Atlantic would be very interested in it. It holds more value as is...and if you do sell it, then give the money to Linus...

YankeeQuilter said...

Tonya sent me the link to your blog. Please, please, please do not remove the papers! If the fabric is from the late 1800's then it is unlikely that it would make a good child's blanket - the dyes are very likely to run (badly) if put into a modern washer and some may even disappear all-together! I'm sure that a quilt historian would love to purchase this quilt top thus raising money for Linus.