On a trip to England in 2006, I discovered the old quilt in an antique store. Despite the tattered and poor condition I was fascinated by it because of its age and the circular blocks. Studying UK quilts, I have rarely found examples of repeat blocks that constitute the entire quilt top, as we so commonly find in America. I knew I needed to rescue the quilt and make a modern version to document it and save the unusual pattern from extinction.
The blocks appear to be several years older than the border, which was added later by machine. While searching out similar fabrics, I drafted the block in the same size as the original piece, and then I reduced it. A goal was to learn the finishing technique we refer to as “knife edge”, the most common way antique UK quilts were finished. I was able to work out a method that produced very satisfactory and authentic results.
This quilt illustrates the difficulty American historians have in dating early English prints. Fabrics in the original quilt are similar to those in other UK quilts dating to about 1825, but many would be dated later by American historians, to about 1840. This project really helped me to focus on this discrepancy between dates of fabrics used in quilts from America and the UK. I felt a deep connection to the original maker as I stitched. How thrilled she would be to see her design honored by AQSG.