Another rescue quilt needed a home. Imagine the spectacular shimmering silk and dainty embroidery with special ribbons and trims 130 years ago. How could something warranting a name and a date framed by special patchwork, baskets, and crosses be relegated to a trash bin? But who else would appreciate the quilt in its current tattered condition?
The dark silk velvets and satins with the addition of occasional richly colored splashes are reminiscent of the gowns of the late 1800s. The dark colors bring to mind the somber occasion of a funeral, or perhaps mourning clothing. Was the quilt meant for a buggy blanket and it is dark in order to hide dirt due to use? With the long vertical shape not big enough for a bed, perhaps it covered a coffin? It wouldn’t be possible to complete the quilt in the few days between a death and the funeral, but perhaps the quilt was in progress with expectations that a loved one was at death’s door.
Whether the quilt was used for snuggling and keeping warm or as a memorial to the life of Polly in 1885, or both, does not diminish the beauty of the design. It was worth memorializing the quilt designer by creating a new quilt inspired by her work.