Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hexagon-Mosaic Quilt

I purchased this quilt recently at an antique show in Phoenix.

I loved the design, the fabric and the fact that the ends were cut out for a poster bed. I immediately dated it to c. 1900 because of the green “path” fabric which I know as chambray. I have always heard if you see chambray in any quilt it cannot be dated before 1900-1910. Is this true? I don’t claim to be an antique quilt expert by any definition.
Two fellow antique quilt collectors recently saw it and started to question the date for chambray, n. a fine lightweight fabric woven with white threads across a colored warp. Weaving is a textile production method which involves interlacing a set of longer threads (called the warp) with a set of crossing threads (called the weft). This is done on a frame or machine known as a loom. Chambray seems to be such a simple fabric weave concept, makes sense to me that it was possible long before 1900-1910.
Maybe what I am calling chambray was really called something else earlier. Gingham? Calico? Muslin? I do know the meaning of these terms have changed over the centuries.
Ad from my Montgomery Ward, Fall & Winter 1936-1937 catalog

While looking around the web trying to find more on chambray, I read a lot about denim. Seems like a close relationship to chambray. At least in 1936 chambray was sometimes more than two colors, I did not know that. I thought it was just white and one other color.

Ad from my Montgomery Ward, Fall & Winter 1936-1937 catalog

Here are a lot of close ups of the other fabric in the quilt. These are definitely early than 1900. The hexagons are finely hand sew. Paper pieced? That’s hard to tell. The hexes are about 2 ½ inches. Looks like it was all done by the same person. It has a very smooth feel on all the fabric, unwashed. The batting feels like wool, and the binding is machine sewn.

I guess I should show you the back of the quilt. This pink is one of my favorites. My master bedroom is done all in double pinks and browns.

So what do you think? Any thoughts on the quilt? What about the date? It sure would be nice if these quilts could talk!