Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Textile Tuesday: In the Cloth

About five years ago, my education in quilts took a fast track. I was starting to collect more, and each new acquisition taught me things. Handling quilts is my favorite way to learn about them. Books and other sources of information are great, but there's nothing like seeing the quilt up close.

This blue resist quilt made in the Revolutionary War period, is the kind of rare object you will usually only see in a book. If you're lucky, you'll see one occasionally in a museum exhibition. Very few people get to handle objects like this. Very few have passed through the marketplace in the last two decades, and almost all of those ended up in museums. This one appears in the book Indigo Quilts: 30 Quilts from the Poos Collection by Kay and Lori Lee Triplett, but it's also here, in my home.

One of my favorite details is the binding. It is a unique print that coordinates but does not match the print in the top fabric. The resist process was similar to batik. A paste resist was applied to carved printing plates or stamps, and applied to fabric. When dry, the fabric was immersed in indigo dye. Any place where the paste had been applied would resist the dye and remain white or light. Knowing how laborious the process would be, it's fun to see the smaller-scale print used as the binding fabric, and all the other details of this magnificent quilt.


  1. Beautiful! When did USA quilts begin to use binding? I'm wondering because of the knife edge or butted finish that was used in the UK rather than binding.

    1. A variety of edge finishing methods were used, but I haven't seen any research on the topic. A while back, I posted a blog with examples from my collection. http://willywonkyquilts.blogspot.com/2014/05/old-quilts-edge-finishes.html