Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Fancy needlework and "Peanut Day"

We'll be featuring quilts from members of the Chariton Valley Piece Makers as well as from the museum collection during this evening's "Peanut Day" open house at the Lucas County Historical Society Museum. All buildings on the campus open for free tours at 5:30 p.m. and, at 7 p.m., we'll cut a ribbon to signify completion of the three-year Puckerbrush School restoration project. Margaret Coons will provide half an hour of live music after that. 

There also will be free fresh-roasted peanuts (prepared in the vintage roaster that marched down Braden Avenue many years ago from Piper's Grocery), cookies and a chance to look around the grounds, including the heirloom vegetable and flower garden, that represent countless hours of hard work by members of the Grounds Committee. Fabric artist Meg Prange also will be on hand to demonstrate contemporary stitchery. Everyone's welcome.


The panel at the top here this morning is, obviously, from a woven linen coverlet rather than a quilt --- but we have several of these in the collection, too, and pulled this one out to unfold and feature. We know quite a bit about it, but unfortunately not the name of the man who created it, probably during the early 1800s.

The coverlet came to Chariton with architect William Lee Perkins and his wife, Jessie, some time after they moved here from Harrison County, Missouri, during 1917 and was added to the museum collection during 1967, as Jessie was preparing to move to California some 10 years after her husband's death. She knew it had been created by one of her husband's great-grandfathers, but couldn't provide a name.

According to Mrs. Perkins, the creator of the coverlet also grew the flax, then combed, colored and spun it into the red, white and blue linen thread from which he wove the coverlet. It is an extremely elaborate pattern, woven in two strips that then were stitched together, pattern matching. 

One of my great-great-grandfathers was a weaver, too --- in Miami County, Ohio --- a common trade (or sideline) for both men and women before commercially woven fabric became widely available. 


The elaborate embroidery here, white on white and somewhat difficult to see, lavishly embellishes a lightweight coverlet signed (also in embroidery), "Sophia Arnold, 1869."

Sophia Barnhart and Edward W. Arnold were married April 7, 1857, then farmed for the remainder of their lives in Benton Township, southeast of Chariton.

It's amazing to think that this delicate piece of work is closing in on its 150th birthday --- and obviously it was in its time extensively used. Some of the repairs and patches are minor works of art in themselves.

We don't display this coverlet often because it is so fragile --- but you'll have a chance to see it today.


Finally, here's a block from one of the elaborate crazy-patch quilts in the collection, this one stitched ca. 1909 by Sarah Jane (Mrs. Parkison) Williams as a wedding gift for her son, Frank, and Nora (Vickroy) Williams, married Feb. 7, 1909.

These types of quilts, often featuring exotic fabrics and elaborate stitching and embroidery, were very popular near the turn of the 20th century.


Judith (Fisher) McManis said...

Love seeing the old quilts and coverlets!! Reminded me of one I donated to the Historical Society a few years ago. I made it up from white-on-white "friendship squares" made in 1907. It accompanied a cookbook, published the same year, with recipes from many of the same women - and fascinating ads from local Chariton businesses. So, although the quilt is not old, the purpose for making it was to save the lovely embroidery of these ladies. Maybe people will ask to see it...

Frank D. Myers said...

Hi Judith --- The St. Andrew Guild friendship squares quilt is one of those we're featuring. I just ran out of time this morning before getting to it.

Anonymous said...

It appears that the quilt has been folded. You might consider rolling such a fragile quilt (and all quilts for that matter) for better preservation.