Museum Textile Services conserved three quilts from the Maine State Museum in summer, 2017, with another six on the docket for the fall. Part of a significant donation to the museum from a Maine family, the quilts cover over one hundred years of textile manufacturing and use. This project will result in several new quilts within the museum's already impressive exhibits.
We began by assessing the fabrics and construction of a coppery-brown four-poster bed quilt made of alternating blocks of nine-patch squares and solid printed fabric set on their corners. The fabrics vary in design and are not arranged in any complex pattern. The quilt is much used and it is possible that it was from older, worn-out clothing. A larger amount of yardage was needed to make the solid blocks and the binding which are all from the same fabric, and this was more likely bought for the intended purpose of this quilt. The quilt top, cotton batting, and solid tan backing are hand stitched together in a simple grid. All three layers are bound with the same fabric as the larger square blocks. Although the sewing machine would not arrive in New England homes until around the time of the Civil War, hand stitching remained common throughout the 19th century. The fact that this quilt is hand sewn, therefore, is not a great help in dating it.
Stay tuned for more blogs about the amazing quilts we are conserving for the Maine State Museum's upcoming exhibition schedule.