Thursday, September 19, 2013

candlewick counterpane, c. 1825

The eagle turns its head toward the olive branches in times of peace, and toward the arrows in times of war. This spectacular whitework counterpane is done with candlewicking, which looks a bit like chenille. Found it in Massachusetts, this piece is thought to be from the 1800s, and the 1820s would've been a good time to see the eagle facing the olive branch.

At first, it looks like chenille, but it's certainly something other than that. When the piece was damp after washing, it was a little easier to see the separation between the stitches showing on the top. When dry, they appear a little fluffier. On the back, there are patches of directional backstitches, which form the designs.

It cleaned up well, but there are still a couple stubborn spots to go. Getting them out will be a gradual process. When the textile is this old, you have to work carefully. You can't just pour Chlorox on it. When I'm done cleaning, there will be a little conservation to do- some stabilization, some repairs, nothing drastic. Even in its current condition, I just marvel at it- a truly remarkable example.


  1. That quilt is lovely. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  2. It spent the night on my computer screen - what a lovely way to start the day.... seeing it first thing without a lot of other stuff to distract really pointed up what a special piece this is. You sure know how to "pick 'um". Thank You for sharing with us.