The Cottage Orné Quilt

The Cottage Orné Quilt
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Thursday, 28 November 2013

A Quilt for Thanksgiving

Last year and I really can't believe it's a year, to celebrate Thanksgiving, I posted a picture of a wonderful American quilt.  So this year I'm going to do it again -

It's part of the collection in the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, donated by Elizabeth Day McCormick, who I've written about before.  Everything that she donated is of the highest quality, so it is no surprise that this wonderful quilt is one of hers!

They obviously don't know much about it as it is described on the museum website only as American, early 19th century, but what a quilt!  I think it showcases everything wonderful about American Medallions, which are much more thought through than the majority of British ones. A superb piece of work - a very special quilt for a special day.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends across the pond!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Is this the end of the beginning?

Today I'm going to take an unusual step of posting about the same thing on two of my blogs!

Some of you may be following my Cottage Orne blog, which is about me making a tribute to the Sundial Coverlet in the V&A.  The blog began in September 2011 and if you want to read the full story click on this link or the header picture.

Well have I finished it?  Actually I am undecided?

I finished attaching the border by hand several weeks ago and have been waiting for a suitable day to photograph it outside ever since.  We have had such mixed weather, but today it is sunny though a bit blowy, but it isn't too bad a picture.

I feel that it should have have another border but I don't want it to get too big because I have to quilt it and though I have auditioned many fabrics I really can't find anything suitable.  So I am sticking to the old adage  - When in doubt, do nowt!

Any advice would be welcome as I have never been so uncertain about a finish.  Perhaps it is because this story has been a special one for me and has stretched my piecing and drafting abilities to the limit.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Another favourite Welsh Quilt

I have featured this quilt before on this blog but have since come across some better pictures of it -

It's in the collection of Ceredigion Museum and is in the group of quilts in their travelling exhibition.

Just after we has completed projects for Making Welsh Quilts, I came across a picture of it on the net in an exhibition of Welsh Quilts at the Green Mountain  College in Vermont.  I was very struck with the design and regretted that I hadn't seen it before as I would have like to have included it in the book.  Nevertheless, I decided to make a little version of it, but I didn't quite get the colours right!  Instead of the lovely dark green backing the central star, I used blue.  When I saw the original in an exhibition at Hereford Museum I was so annoyed because I loved the green, but it was too late as it had been quilted.

The picture on the Internet wasn't detailed enough to show the lovely crunchy swirly quilting on the original.  I had nothing to go on so I made up my own design, which I probably would have done anyway, because when you reduce the overall size of a quilt you don't have the scope for large flamboyant patterning seen on the larger quilts.  Now when I look at it I know that I should have put more quilting in one of the borders.  This annoys me every time, so maybe one day I will do a little filling in?

I have used an image of my version in this blog's heading and also for Christmas greeting, which shows that I am very fond of it -

Why do I like it so much?  It's simple design grabs attention and it is so Welsh in form and colour.  If I had to choose a pattern to represent Welsh quilts, I think would choose this one.  Oh I do wish I had known about the green!

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Disinterested Museum?

Well you know I am fairly critical of museums when it comes to textiles and this is a continuation of the story of the Elizabeth Jefferson coverlet.  I think it illustrates that textiles have a very low priority in the museum world.  

It seems to be a battle we can't win. Museums hold and manage important collections which are financed by us, the tax payer, yet we have no power to influence what they do and if we start making waves they will become even less helpful. They have the standby excuses of lack of public funds and shortage of staff to fall back on and we have no answer to this because it is true now and always will be.  There will never be enough funds and public servants will always use it as an excuse.

Just to show how popular this coverlet is I am including images of three Australian reproductions courtesy of Google images which are all quite different -

After posting  twice about this coverlet I wrote again to the museum in Manchester and append the correspondence -

Dear Dr. Lambert,

I have been doing a little more digging re this coverlet and found a b/w image of it in the Averil Colby Patchwork book (this is a standard work on British patchwork and quilting.  I must have passed by this picture many times and didn't associate it with the colour image of the coverlet in your collection! 

I also find that it is quite well known in Australia, as some clever person has made and sold a pattern of it based on the old image in the book and reproductions of it abound.  Of course the colours are different because they did not have a colour picture to guide them.  So there was great interest when I blogged about it.

Just out of curiosity I googled Elizabeth Jefferson, born 1801and only one came up and it was in the 1841 Scottish Census and Electoral Roll -

Elizabeth Jefferson Ages 40,
Where born, Angus, Scotland. 
Household members Elizabeth Jefferson Aged 40  Jessie Forrest, Aged 15. 

I could have gone further on but that would mean either paying a fee or having a free trial.  I have been in this situation before with absolutely no success and spent ages going around in circles so I asked my blog readers, who might have a subscription, to try for me.  No success so far though!

Why am I telling you all this?  Well I am hoping that now that you know of the interest you might try and get an image of the full sized quilt done and release it on the website.  It would also be great if someone could follow up my lead above? 
Thats if you have access to ancestry sites?


Mary Jenkins

This is the reply I received - 

many thanks again, Mary.

It does sound possible that our Elizabeth Jefferson is the one from Angus, but of course, we will probably never be able to be sure.

Very best wishes

I think this constitutes a polite brush off don't you?  Obviously he wasn't very interested and has no intention of updating the information or arranging for any images of the full sized coverlet.

I am rather disappointed that no one reading this blog has come forward to help!  I did bump into a friend in the supermarket a few days after my original post, who said she did have a subscription to and I tried to persuade her to help me!  Stephanie - are you reading this?

So this seems to be the end of the line re Elizabeth Jefferson  - for the moment anyway!