QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT

QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT By Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman Above: Moda's Morris Earthly Paradise

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Between the Mattress & the Springs





Here's a quilt that's going in the garage sale. Don't all email at once and tell me you want it.

It was once a terrific quilt. I'd guess it's from about 1880-1910---a late applique. The date is based on circumstantial evidence, rather weak clues:
1) Red & white quilts tend to be from about 1880-1910
2) It's small---single bed size and smaller beds were popular about 1880-1920.
3) The triple sashing was popular in the 1870-1910 era.

It's unusual in that it's white applique on a red background. Usually it's the other way around because the Turkey red fabric cost more than the white. Red on white fleur-de-lis patterns were popular in the mid 19th-century. This one is late.

Which is why I took it when someone offered it. I wanted to put it in the last book on twentieth century quilts but there was no room---and let's face it. It doesn't photograph that well.

Why is this quilt such a MESS? Turkey red has a tendency to rot from abrasion but this is an extreme example. When I teach classes students sometimes tell me that people used to keep an unwanted quilt between the mattress and the springs. In old beds the exposed metal springs would rust and stain the mattress. And others told me, the bed is quieter with a quilt between the mattress and the springs.

I did a search in Google Books and found a 1918 Red Cross book advising that "a thick comforter or even many layers of newspaper should be placed between the mattress and the springs" if an invalid's mattress was too thin to provide comfort or warmth.

So I am guessing that someone's comfort, mattress or privacy was more valuable to her than this quilt was. Too bad, because it should have been a keeper. But I am not keeping it. The photos will do.

2 comments:

Sue said...

That is an awesome looking quilt!
Interesting about the Red Cross search. Makes quite good sense.

Kathie said...

I love this quilt/block
I would be interested in reproducing this quilt
have to admit I buy quilts like this, cause normally I can afford them! and love to reproduce them
wish I lived close enough to come to your garage sale , bet it will a quilters dream!
Kathie