26 January, 2012

Quilt Study on the Eastern Shore of Maryland . . .

Geese settling in on the Eastern Shore
Yesterday my daughter Brie (a.k.a. My Quilt Study Buddy) and I traveled over waterways and through coastal farmlands to Denton, Maryland.  Our journey of approximately 100 miles each way was well worth the time and mileage to attend an Eastern Shore Quilt Study Group meeting.  If you are not yet familiar with what a quilt study group is let me explain: Quilt study groups get together to share quilts, knowledge and friendship - though not necessarily in any particular order.

This group was originally organized by the late Cinda Cawley.  She was a friend, a mentor and a great lady.  This was my first visit to the study group since her passing last year.  For me Cinda's physical absence was at first overwhelming, however, Beverly and Julianne do an excellent job keeping Cinda's love and enthusiasm for quilt study ongoing.

Members of ESQSG bring some of the most wonderful quilts to share!  I am a long-time quilter and history buff, but i am new to 'blogging' so I didn't think to ask permission to share photos of quilts that belong to others here.  There is nothing stopping me from sharing my own.

The theme of this meeting was 'blocks without borders,' in other words blocks set side by side without sashing or setting blocks of any kind separating them. 

Of course, since it is the current topic of study on this blog the first quilts I thought to take were my Tumbling Stars quilts.  The diamonds aren't exactly traditional quilt blocks but they are set side by side.  I took only my favorite one rather than duplicates.  And guess what?!  One of the members mentioned she knew of a reproduction of a patchwork print that includes calendars.  Reproductions are inspired by original fabrics so I have a new lead that will need to be followed. Thank you Polly!
Four Patch T-shaped Quilt, c. 1870

I also shared an old favorite Four Patch quilt (c. 1870) that I found in New England several years ago.  Steven, my enabling dear hubby, was in the antique shop with me when I spotted this scrappy quilt.  I started to walk away when Steven asked me if the quilt was talking to me.  It's scary to think he can hear those voices too! :-)  I had to admit there was something about the quilt I liked in spite of its terrible condition.  I turned around to take a closer look and reconsider.

Can you spot the fabrics that don't belong?
First, while it was still folded I inspected the existing repairs (c. 1940 and later) thinking I would replace them.  I have since decided to leave that part of the quilt's history intact. I also decided that I would not feel bad about using this quilt to 'refresh' my repair skills occasionally.  Because the quilt has been so well-loved I don't know that it will ever be fully repaired.   The quilt still makes a nice display piece when folded.  It would fit nicely in a shabby-chic setting, however, with the ongoing renovations our home seems to be missing the chic!

Lane's Net and a Mint Green Polka Dot
Both of these fabrics original to the quilt.
As I explained to the study group, Steven helped me open the quilt to see just how bad it really was.  That was when the 'piece de resistance' feature of this quilt was revealed - it's a 'T-shaped quilt'! T-shaped quilts are made without the two bottom corners so that they fit around bed posts.  This unusual characteristic seems to be a New England feature, though I seem to recall reading somewhere that a few have been discovered with provenance that indicates they may have been made in other parts of the country also.  I can't pinpoint my source for that information - but when I find it I'll let you know. 
Chevron Quilting

As you can see the Four Patches are set to give the impression of diagonal lines running across the quilt.  It is quilted in al all-over chevron design.  When I found a second Four Patch with similar fabrics and block set in Pennsylvania a few years later I decided it was a sign that I needed to make one.  The story of that PIP ('Project In Progress') will be shared in a future post.

If you are not already part of a quilt study group may I take this opportunity to ecourage you to find one.  There are existing and new groups all over the United States.  One visit and you will be hooked.

Brie and I both would like to say 'thanks' to all of the members of the Eastern Shore Quilt Study Group for a such a wonderful afternoon.  Wij kunnen niet wachten om weer doen in April!