Friday, February 29, 2008

The Anonymous Pink Lady

It was the last day of the Mid-Atlantic quilt show at Hampton, Virginia. I had a little time after getting out of class and strolled through the vendor aisles. A lady from Raleigh had some piles of interesting old quilts and I stopped to stroke and pat the venerable beauties. Then, as occasionally happens, one quilt almost leaped out of the pile. It was a puffy country quilt, thick and crudely quilted, but it had such spirit! So the quilt, from Nash County, North Carolina, came home with me.

The quilt displays fabrics from about 1890-1920. The odd detail in the small center square is a glimpse of a novelty print showing white tennis racquets on a cranberry red ground! Normally I'd go for a higher-contrast color scheme but these odd blocks, sashed with a rosy pink faint stripe, won me over. I have no idea of the name of the block and couldn't find a match in Brackman's Encyclopedia If anyone has a name for this pattern, I'd appreciate a comment. The dealer promised she'd try to find out more about the quilt from its seller so I'll report again if I learn more about its pedigree.

What is there about old quilts? We admire them, touch them, and sometimes point out the maker's ancient mistakes. It makes the process of our quilting seem more real and attainable. I see the work of another human hand and that hand reaches out across the years and guides my efforts today.