Redwork

9 04 2009

This quilt has fascinated me as long as I can remember. It was made by my great grandmother the first year of her marriage.  Imagine – one year. All this loving stitching. The embroidery, the piecing, the hand quilting.

Again the signature on the quilt has proven ever so important. Name, place, date – 1894. No, I’m not quite named after her. I’m named after my grandmother, who in turn was named after her mother (the maker of this quilt), who was named after her mother. It’s quite an honor and was actually a little painful for me not to name my daughter Anna.

Redwork was quite popular back in the day. (A little thank you to my knitting circle for help with the term redwork.)  I’ve heard it said that many images were taken from magazines and greeting cards. Wouldn’t it be something to know where these images came from? Did she copy them from cards given to them for their wedding or did she make some of them up herself? Too bad she didn’t have a blog for me to read about her process.

There are many images of flora & fauna:

Scenes of people:

As well as the unexpected. Gnomes and elves?!

And even a mystery. Who is E.D.? I don’t know. It wasn’t her husband. Maybe a child lost?

Thank you Great Grandma. You’ve left quite the legacy.

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11 responses

9 04 2009
Jess

I am in total awe.
Does that hang at your house?
Truly beautiful.

9 04 2009
threesneakybugs

I wish. No, this is hanging in my mother’s front room.

9 04 2009
christina

That is beautiful.

9 04 2009
Lorraine

Speechless. It made me sad and happy all at once. That is a true piece of art, Anna. Thank you for posting this series of handiwork from your family and past. It is a tribute to perseverance and good old-fashioned workmanship. I mean, some of us take forever to complete a project because of so many reasons but it is humbling to be reminded that other people take a while to complete theirs by choice – and because, well, masterpieces simply need time to do! Beautiful!

9 04 2009
Mom and Kiddo

Gorgeous. I love heirlooms.

10 04 2009
Ayama

This is a truly marvellous piece. Thank you for sharing. :D Do Seth and Elanore stare at the pictures?? It would have had my brother and I telling all sorts of stories based on the pictures (well more from Seth’s age, I guess).

10 04 2009
Anna

Hello Anna, I too share that wonderful name of Anna. I was named after my Grandma Anna Ellen. My Grandma did hand work all the time too but I do not have a quilt as nice as this. I love doing redwork myself. Thanks you for sharing this, Anna from MI

10 04 2009
smoothpebble

So many thoughts came to mind reading this and seeing the pictures! First was what a heritage is represented here, and the fact that it has been so well cared for all of these years. Then I thought how important it is to sign and date our work – who knows what future generation may admire something we’ve made. And maybe even provide a running narrative of the process and the creative choices that are being made. But then again the mystery of this piece only adds to it’s story as each person who sees it interprets it in their own way. My other thought seeing the individual panels was that there really is nothing new under the sun – gnomes, squirrels, owls, nature!! All popular themes right now! I’m so glad you shared this. It’s wonderful!

11 04 2009
painted fish studio

the quilt is so amazing, and what a treasure. i can’t believe how old it is, and how beautiful. how does one care for such an heirloom? i hope that it is passed to you some day.

7 07 2009
Eily

What a gorgeous quilt! Back then the horseshoe and forget-me-nots were a symbol of rememberance. Based on that I’d have to say the initials within memorialized someone who had passed. Hope that helps with your little mystery.

13 08 2009
Jenni

oh my, what a treasure!

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