The first is this glorious silk quilt, passed on to me by a lady in California.
The quilt historian Barbara Brackman described it thus, after seeing a jpeg of it:
"Boy it's a pretty quilt. I wouldn't call it a crazy quilt since it seems quite sane to me. I think an embroidered silk medallion, about 1880-1900 would describe it nicely."
In fact, it was made in 1890 by a woman named Eve Ollie in Buffalo, New York, so good call, Barbara!
It does have a few elements of crazy quilting to it though, namely, that there is no quilting or batting. But it isn't tied either! What is unusual is that traditional crazy quilt type stitching along some of the seams holds the front and the back layers of the quilt together.
Not all of the seams are embroidered...(click on the picture to see better). I don't think Eve was into embroidery, but she sure had a lovely collection of silks.
Even the backing fabric is of silk. See the stitching lines on the back?
I get goosebumps, going back in time into another woman's life, via her stitches and fabrics.
I will cherish this...
A very different scenario produced my other historical treasure...try to imagine, at least 60 or 70 years ago, women in Russia hard at work producing handmade bobbin lace for commerical sale...
This collection of bobbin lace was given to me by a very gracious lady named Kay Pauling. Her late mother-in-law left this lace to her in 1981; Kay had kept it all these years but decided to pass it on to me as someone who would use it.
What Kay didn't tell me until we met was that her mother-in-law was Ava Helen Pauling, the wife of the great 20th Century scientist, Linus Pauling.
photo from Oregon State University
Dr. Pauling won two Nobel Prizes - in 1954 for Chemistry and in 1962 for Peace. He was globally admired for his tremendous contributions to chemistry and for advocating peace. Dr. Pauling shared the spotlight in this latter endeavor with Albert Einstein.
Kay told me that Ava had purchased the lace during one of their trips to Russia.
So indeed, the wings of history have brushed me by, leaving the lace in my hands....
I wanted to find out more about it, so I scanned it and sent the image to Betty Pillsbury, the wonderful CQ teacher and friend (who used to make bobbin lace) and also to Lacis, the lace museum and textile supply shop in Berkeley, California.
Jules Kliot of Lacis wrote to say,
"An interesting collection mainly due to the attached labels.
The laces themselves appear to be handmade with the exception of the one on the extreme right.
Designs are generic and could have been made most anywhere. There are examples of torchon, Genoese, Cluny. all considered as "straight" laces.
There are many traditional Russian designs, but not in this collection."
Betty sent me some interesting links about bobbin lace, such as this beginner's guide. We thought this link on torchon lace described my lace, too. This site on English laces has more on the torchon lace.
Kay had told me the lace was of cotton, but Betty suggested it might be linen, and on closer look, I agree with her.
I am so grateful to Kay for entrusting this lace to me. It will be well used.
It's been another busy week, so no stitching of my own do I have to show...next week, hopefully, we will have a silk ribbon poppy!