Back in the early-mid 1990s, my grandmother gave me a quilt top, since I was into quilting. I think she may have picked it up at a garage or estate sale, but I don’t know for sure.
It’s a traditional crazy quilt, with hand-embroidery around the edges of every single piece of fabric. The time and love that went into making this is a bit mind-blowing.
The fabrics are all over the map, but they tend toward the satin, silk and velvet. Some of them look like they started life as ribbons.
Not all of them have held up so well.
And unfortunately, I’m not enough of fabric historian to have any real clue as to the age of this quilt top. Some of the prints make me think of the 1960s, but I could be way off.
The crazy blocks were assembled onto backings of less delicate material, most of it tea-colored, with a layer of batting between. It feels like cotton to my fingers but I suppose it might be wool. The blocks are hand stitched together, with the seamline covered in embroidery.
The amount of embroidery in this is staggering – have I said that already? The block on the left here looks a little postage-stamp-y.
A number of the blocks are signed, again with embroidery. Maybe this one is “Lee McKee”?
R. T. Pettenger
E. M. Pettenger
I can’t begin to guess if this Michigan ribbon is a reference to a school or to the state. Maybe a fair? Was this quilt made in Michigan? By people from Michigan who had left and were homesick? What was the occasion for the quilt? What stories are in these fabric choices?
Or in the inclusion of this small American flag?
This quilt is unfinished and a bit care-worn. But despite my grandmother’s gifting intentions, it’s not really my style and I’m unlikely to mend this one or give it any love. I’m admitting this after carting it around for 16 years and doing nothing but keep it safe and dry.
Could the blogging-quilting community help out here? Anyone know any Pettengers who might be related to this quilt? I know lots of us are more “modern” quilters, but does anyone know anyone who has the skills and inclination to mend/restore/finish this quilt? Barring that, does anyone have any recommendations for an appropriate donation destination, a historical society or quilt museum?