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.
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.
Since I love vintage quilts and am also a Civil War buff, it was a delight to discover this display at the Davenport, Florida quilt show. Here’s their vendor’s booth at the show.
You can order their quilt kits online. They take special care selecting the fabrics with the right colors and feel for the 1860 era. You can see the results look fabulous. Instant heirloom to pass along in your family.
Anticipating a pleasant hour or two of admiring quilts, I set off for Davenport, Florida. Sure wish I’d allowed more time. The show closed at 3 pm and I had to hustle to see everything in the 3 and a half hours that I was there.
They set up the quilts in four buildings in the old downtown so you’ll go to City Hall, the Community Building, a church and a school. It’s an easy walk between those or you can catch a ride. Several volunteers with golf carts shuttled between the venues.
Go early enough to have lunch. Among the craft booths behind City Hall, you’ll find a food vendor providing a lovely lunch. It’s a croissant sandwich with chicken salad that includes walnuts and I think, apples. With it comes a choice of cole slaw, pasta salad or trio potato salad (includes 3 kinds of potatoes). The dessert with the lunch was a pear half with a filling that wasn’t whipped cream or cream cheese, but a sauce of some sort topped with a cherry. A soda comes with the lunch and it’s $12. You can eat at picnic tables overlooking the small lake.
Here’s a sample of the quilts you’ll see:
You can take a quilt to have it evaluated by a professional quilt appraiser. There are two prices depending on if you just want a verbal appraisal or a written appraisal. The appraiser was Ken Gleason of Orlando.
I happened to catch an exhibit at the Springvale Public Library in Maine of quilted, collage work. The artist lives in Kennebunkport and she used old photos of family and friends in the quilted pieces. She transferred the photo to fabric, then assembled pieces around it and added beads, vintage lace and other odds and ends to complement the photo. Simply beautiful.
The people featured in the miniature quilts are local to Southern Maine and part of the Franco-American community in this area. My husband recognized some of the names from growing up in the area.
The artist’s name is Claire Unsinn of Kennebunk, Maine. Her maiden name was Bergeron and she grew up in Springvale in the 1950s and 1960s.