My husband and I like to go on nature walks when the weather is nice, especially in the fall when the leaves are so beautiful. Last week, I had my heart set on going to one of our favorite museum gardens, Winterthur. But as it turned out, when we woke up on Saturday morning the weather was cold and rainy and windy. Not good garden/walking weather at all! But we decided to go anyway, we figured with the weather being bad, we’d have the whole place to ourselves. Wrong! Turns out that a lot of people had purchased tickets ahead of time for the Downton Abbey costume exhibit- so it was crammed! It was a good day anyway- we re-visited the Downton Abbey exhibit (which we had seen back in the spring) and also saw a lovely textile exhibit full of historic quilt and needlework samples. If you are in the area (Northern Delaware/Southeastern PA/South Jersey), you should definitely stop by- I think you will really enjoy it! And best of all, they allow you to take photos in a lot of the exhibits, so you can bring lots of memories home with you :)
This is the Margaret Potts quilt. It has 85 different applique and signature blocks. Margaret worked on it for 7 years, between 1851 and 1858 in Pennsylvania. You probably can’t see in the photo that the blanket stitch used for the applique is really tiny- about 1/16″. I could just look at it and study it for hours.
Maybe you are thinking- I’d love to make a quilt like that. Guess what? You can, because the pattern is available here from the Baltimore Applique Society- and it’s 50% off! I wish I had the patience to work on something like this :) I think I’m going to order the pattern anyway- and put it in my “someday” pile (it’s a big pile, **sigh**.)
This embroidered bed cloth was probably made in New England, around 1800-1825.
We don’t do much darning anymore, but between 1790 and 1830, Anna Hofman created this sampler of darning stitches, which were used to repair damaged clothing and household linens.
In the 1700’s and early 1800’s, women’s dresses did not have pockets sewn in, so they tied these around their waist. These are embroidered with the date 1777:
Intricate whitework sampler by Jane Little, Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1793:
The intricacy of all of this work fascinates me. I am a hurry-up-and-get-it-done kinda girl. I think I need to develop more patience! These samples remind me of what a unique artform stitching can be. Can you imagine making yourself pockets – POCKETS- with so much detail?! How incredible…