Thursday, July 4, 2019

Honstain Quilt in Context #3: Conclusions

We have two quilts, quite similar. We might characterize one as the simple quilt; one as the complex.
The Honstain quilt, the more complex, has more details in the figures.

Butterflies in the simple quilt

Butterflies in the complex quilt

The Honstain quilt fills the block with more pieces.

However, a few blocks seem to be in the wrong quilt.
Above on the left two complex blocks from the simple quilt.

And three relatively simple blocks from the complex quilt.

General Sherman?
Complex Quilt

The Honstain quilt has more imagery from the Civil War. More soldiers.

A middle-aged infantry man
Complex quilt

But both feature a sailor.

Cannon from the simple quilt

The complex quilt looks like most of the blocks are by the same gifted stitcher.
There are no initials or names and the cross-stitched inscriptions are like

In the simple quilt many of the blocks have cross-stitched initials (often ending in B)
and you get the feeling these are different seamstresses.

The cat says "E.B. 1867"

It's probably foolish to speculate. But I think these two quilts were made at the same time in the same household with one by a professional tailoress Lucinda Ward Honstain and one by her daughter Emma Honstain Bingham (whose occupation was teacher). The cross-stitch initials, which all look to be by one hand, may stand for Emma's Bingham in-laws. Was this quilt made for her young son?

And where is the simple quilt top now? Let's hope no one bought it, quilted it and used it up


  1. Barbara, I saw this quilt at the IQSC and wondered if the blocks in the farthest right column were done by someone else. The fabrics and the amount of details seemed different to me. Love reading all your information!! Kathy

  2. This is so fascinating! I sure hope you find out where the top went. Stranger things have happened.

  3. You really had me wondering about the story of these two quilts. Your answer makes perfect sense. Thanks for the interesting story and mystery.