A few years ago I had the idea to look at quilt tops on eBay. I was thinking in terms of practicing my quilting without taking the time to put a quilt top together. Not a bad idea, since you might even be able to buy one for less than the cost of the fabric it takes to make a quilt top. But, the tops that caught my eye were older tops. Quite a bit older! I ended up bidding on and winning this turn of the 19th century quilt top.
I was quite surprised when I received it. I did not truly understand how old the quilt top was when I bid on it and felt like I had one a prize! The woman who sold it to me said it was from an estate sale and she knew nothing more about it. I realized that I could not risk quilting it. I did add borders and a backing to the top to stabilize it. But, if I bought this top today I would just lay it on top of a piece of cotton batting to keep the seems more stable.
This got me started researching old quilts and fabrics. I enjoyed reading The American Quilt: A History of Cloth and Comfort 1750-1950 by Roderick Kiracofe. I read the book cover to cover! And I also have a copy of Dating Fabrics: A Color Guide 1800-1960, by Eileen Jahnke Trestain.
I now have a few more antique and vintage quilt tops. I tend to quilt the tops from the 30’s, but not the ones from the 19th century. They are too fragile for that.
These old quilt tops always intrigue me. I wonder at the beautiful fabrics and all of the hand stitching that went into them. I am inspired by the designs and the use of colors. I really do enjoy them!