Flour Sacks – and More! – Quilt
My poor husband has been suffering from cabin fever, due to being stuck at home while recuperating from shoulder surgery, during weeks and weeks of rain. He is able to work from home, but he can’t do any of his usual renovation or gardening projects, and it is driving him crazy. Saturday was cool and overcast, not inviting weather to be out and about, but he couldn’t stand it any more, and decided we should head to town and see what was going on.
This time, we went into some new (to us, anyway) antique shops, and sure enough, an interesting find was waiting for me.
I had never seen anything like this before – squares of fabric are folded into triangles, and then sewn in rows to a backing fabric, making a 3-D effect. There’s no batting, so it’s not really a quilt. I guess you could call it a bed cover.
Internet research tells me that it might be called a “pine burr” pattern, although those are usually sewn in circles. The pine burr is the official quilt pattern of Alabama! This tutorial makes me want to make one myself!
“Pineapple” or prairie points” might be a more accurate name. If you know anything about this pattern, I would love to hear from you!
It contains all kinds of fabric, from wool twills to silk and (I believe) rayon. Tucks and seams that were in the original fabrics were incorporated into the quilt as is. Many of them are flour sack prints. There are even some little ears of wheat in the prints, and the words “home” and “night”.
The bedspread is about 68 inches (170 cm) by 76 inches (190 cm) long. The fabric pieces were machine sewn in wiggly rows, about one inch apart, to four narrow strips of a heavy-duty cotton, 17 inches (43 cm) wide. Each row of triangles has two machine seams attaching it to the backing. On the top side these joins are covered with a pink floral ruffle. It looks to me as if two different people worked on it. Two of the strips have smaller pieces, more regularly sewn. The other two are a little more haphazard, and consist of mostly red, white, and blue fabrics.
The thing I love about it is the unfaded sides of the fabrics. I took a picture of the points as they appear on the surface, then flipped them and tacked them down in the opposite direction, so you can see the original colors of the prints.
The antique shop is in a house that was built in 1861. I went into it about 15 years ago, when it was still just a residence, on a historic tour, and the owners at that time collected all sorts of things, including textiles. The current owner said that this bedcover was part of the inventory that came with the house when he bought it, and other than than, he didn’t know anything about it. (This shop owner was incredibly generous with his time and knowledge, and I will have a few more posts about his collection.)
The bedcover is not pristine. There are brittle, sticky strips on the back, as if someone put stick-on Velcro strips on it at one time, and it feels like there is starch in it, too. But most of the individual fabrics are in good shape.
I am not sure if I will actually display it, but I do know I will find lots of inspiration in those fabrics, both the faded and the fresh.
If you have any advice on its care, I would love to hear from you too!