15 October, 2013


I purchased this very well-loved quilt at an estate auction in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania several years ago. 

This quilt is worn.  
The fabrics are thin and frayed in places. 
There are a couple of holes that go all the way through.
Still, the impact of the Irish Chain design in these colors is inspiring.

The back of the Irish Chain.

This quilt was in a box lot filled with other textiles including two other quilts that were seriously tattered. 
It was folded in such a way that only the fabric on the back showed. . .

The other quilts were early 20th century scrap quilts made of pieces of feed sacks and woven fabrics often referred to as homespun even though they were actually manufactured by machines in a mill someplace. 

I unfolded this quilt expecting to see something similar to the other quilts and found this faded yet still very bright Irish Chain instead.  

The chains are quilted with diagonal lines that cross in each small square.

Contained in each orange section between the chains are scalloped circles with heart cutouts.  The design reminds me of an antique cookie press I have. 

The border is quilted with rows of overlapping cables.

Unfortunately this quilt is not in good enough shape to be used for any other purpose than decorative.

Soooo . . . I made one of my own!

  I chose a somewhat muted orange so that the quilt would be a better fit with other things in our home. 
 It's still orange!

I guess these quilts may serve as another example of orange being used as a neutral.

Instead of the scalloped circles I filled the background squares with feathered circles.

And then took that one step further . . .

by filling the feathered circles with images found in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art.  
The empty feathered circles reminded me of hex signs 
which often use images also found in fraktur.

I quilted the border, which I often refer to as my quilting playground, with a feathered cable design. 
The feathers compliment the blocks while the cables serve as a nod to the original quilt.

Peaking out from behind the border you can see the playful green with circles in just the right shades of orange and red. 
 I knew that fabric had to be on the back of this quilt.  
I love seeing it whenever the quilt is turned down on the bed.
Or whenever I'm hiding underneath my quilt to stay warm!

While my quilt is not a replica of the antique one, 
it is more directly inspired by this antique quilt than most quilts I make. 
Usually my inspiration comes from several antique quilts that I blend into a design of my own.  
This time I decided to challenge myself 
to use some of the bright colors often found in Pennsylvania quilts.

It looks great on the bed this time of year - 
really brightens the room on those blustery autumn days!

Gelukkig quilten!

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