Thursday, November 15, 2012

Quilts at the DAR Museum

Detail from the Mary Manakee quilt
Collection of the DAR Museum
See the quilt here:
Last week I got to spend a day at the Museum of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington D.C. The trip was in conjunction with a seminar at Colonial Williamsburg. The theme was Baltimore Album Quilts.
Colonial Williamsburg has an exhibit Quilts in the Baltimore Manner up until May 11, 2014 (which gives you plenty of time to see it!)
It's wonderful to see a dozen Maryland quilts in close detail but hard to show you any photos of the quilts on display. See more about the show at the Quaker Quilts blog here:
At the DAR Museum we saw quilts from storage laid out on the table. Curator Alden O'Brien permitted us to take photos and encouraged me to share them on the blog.
Thank You, Alden.
She's admiring one of the most intricate here, done in the style attributed to Designer #1 (as the current research phrases it.)
See more of this quilt at the Quilt Index.
Volunteer extraordinaire Virginia Vis shared her expertise on the quilt style,

pointing out the variety of stitching on them---information only visible in close-ups.
Jackson Victory Commemorative Quilt
Collection of the DAR Museum
When we see these quilts in photos we have a tendency to imagine that all the stitching is the invisible applique stitch we value so highly today...
like this.
But closeups reveal extra embroidery

adding floral details
as well as securing the applique pieces. This block in the Waring quilt has a tight, wool chain stitch accenting the stuffed flowers and buds. It almost looks like a chain of crochet.

The Waring Family Quilt
Collection of the DAR Museum


The wool has been chewed away by insects in a few spots.

More outlining, some with a chain stitch,
 some with a satin stitch.

So much outlining that it creates a different look in some of the blocks---flat and linear.

The blocks in the Waring quilt are separated by a Turkey red piping. Above, a different stitch around the green bud---a perpendicular dash.

Most of the border leaves in the Jackson Victory Memorial Quilt are decorated with this stitch.

Alden and Virginia thought the odd stitch may relate to the mid-19th-century craze for Moss Roses, a variety with a fuzzy, aromatic moss that grew around the buds and leaves.See a post I did a few years ago on other quilts with Moss Roses in them here:

Here's a similar kind of detail in a quilt on display at Colonial Williamsburg.
Note to Self:
Try this stitch.


  1. What a wonderful place to visit and a beautiful collection of quilts.


  2. Thank you for sharing this. The DAR Museum and Colonial Williamsburg are on my list of "have to visit" places!

  3. Once again, nice detail shots. Would love to visit there.

  4. Fabulous post - thanks so much!!

  5. Oh my! I am swooning..such wonderful work! Thanks for showing us these beauties - all so inspiring. What a wonderful time you must have had - am very jealous. This is definitely a place to visit. Every Stitch

  6. I love to see every picture you posted of these quilts. Thank you so much!

  7. I need to check your blog more often! I live in DC and would have loved to been a fly on the wall on your visit. I'm sending a quick email about a question about Nancy Page that I'm hoping you can help me with. thanks-

  8. Those are amazing quilts, Barbara! So wonderful to see the different stitches up close. How fantastic you got to see them in person!!

  9. Hi there:
    Where is Becky Brown's blog? I'd love to see her work...thanks, arden