My 1880s Silk Quilt

Over the past 40 years, I collected vintage quilts. Most of these were found at antique markets in Maryland and Pennsylvania. I haven’t added to the collection since moving to Florida.

A few months ago, I took one quilt to the Davenport Quilt show for appraisal. I opted for the quickie appraisal, not wishing to spend the $40 for the written one that would have included an estimate of value for the quilt.

The quilt appraisor with my 1880s or 1890s silk quilt.
The quilt appraisor with my 1880s or 1890s silk quilt.

Here’s what I learned about it. The pattern is a star block. It appears to have been made from a grey silk dress as there are tucks in some of the pieces. Due to the iron content used in dyes for silk, those pieces are likely to suffer some disintegration over the years. A few small pieces show this with the silk shredding. The appraiser said there is nothing that can be done to prevent this since the harm was done at the time the fabric was made.

The red parts are not silk, but linen. The backing is a paisley that looks to be of 1880s vintage.

The batting is very thin and it is probable that this was never intended for use on a bed for warmth. More likely it was for show or for a lap robe.

Rather than being quilted, it is a tied quilt with red and green ribbons. The green ones have faded to a yellow over the last 130 years, but in a few places the original color could be detected. With the red and green ribbons plus the poinsettia look of the stars, this might be a Christmas quilt.



Gail Martin’s eHow Articles – Subject Index

At 84, Gail Martin writes family memory articles online for Our Echo and how-to articles for the eHow website.  Here’s a selection of her varied articles:


How to Develop a Personal Library

How to Decorate a Home with Collections

How to Collect Feather Bird Pictures

How to Collect Bricks


How to Plant Potatoes in the Spring

How to Plant Crocus for Spring Beauty

How to Plant Trees with Limited Water

How to Use a Rototiller

How to Have the Top-Selling Booth at a Farmers Market


How to Help the Elderly with Doctor’s Appointments

How to Wash Clothes and Save Steps the Senior Citizen Way

How to Adjust to Aging and Make the Most of Those Years

How to Prevent Falls at Home

How to Give Gifts on a Social Security Income


How to Create a Writing Room

How to Personalize a Bookshelf

How to Use Old Bottles for Vases

How to Make Wagon Wheel Rugs from Rags

How to Raise Good Children the Old-Fashioned Way

How to Use Health Remedies from the Good Old Days

How to Encourage Imaginative Play with Dress-Up Clothes and Props

Here are her other how-to topics.  Just click on the link to see the whole list of article titles and go to the articles.

Her articles about COOKING
Her articles about CRAFTS
Her articles about THRIFTY LIVING
Her articles about WRITING