Hearts and Hands

Hearts and Hands

This appliqué inspiration quilt is signed on the back in faded ink: “by Julia Fisk, NL Butt for Lt LA Butt, made 1863.” It is a mystery if Lt. Butt was an officer for the Union or for the Confederacy. This hearts and hands quilt appears to have been a gift to Lt. LA Butt. Genealogy searches of Julia Fisk and Lt. LA Butt have been inconclusive. Some research leads to an officer from New York or an enlisted soldier from Indiana. No conclusion can be made without further research of the signatures.

The hearts and hands design is often observed on needlework of the early and mid-19th Century. Some quilts of this design have been made to commemorate marriage, engagement or friendship. The design has medieval or Renaissance European origins.

The inspiration hearts and hands quilt has 14” x 14” appliqué blocks alternating with plain blocks set on point. Most of the appliquéd hands are right hands; there are a few left hands. The strip pieced borders of pink, white and green run off the sides. The binding is double pink fabric applied with rounded corners.

The fabrics are a white background and white backing. A pastel double pink calico print is used for some of the appliquéd hearts and hands. The solid green for the other appliqué pieces could be an over-dyed green. There is faded blue shadowing on a few green areas.

The quilting is stitched over the appliqué pieces. This quilting technique is seen in many appliqué quilts of the era. The quilting in white thread on the hearts and hands blocks is a grid of hanging diamonds.
The white alternate blocks are heavily quilted in a feathered wreath pattern. Small circles are quilted to fill in corners. Perhaps the circles were drawn around a thread spool. The strip pieced borders are simply quilted in a 1” grid.

The center of the study quilt project includes one original size hearts and hands block. Partial feathered wreath blocks surround the center. The strip pieced borders are the same width as the borders on the 1863 quilt. Reproduction fabrics are very close in color and pattern to the original quilt. The quilting pattern was drawn off the original and is stitched in white thread, as is the original.