Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Courthouse Steps

I think there is magic in old quilts.  For years I couldn't explain how quilts made their way to me.  I'm not sure what kind of odd and wonderful energy are in these old textiles.  I've collected other things but never had the strange experiences that I had with quilts.  The first time something unusual happens, you assume it is a weird coincidence or happenstance.  The second time you talk to your friends, "Isn't this strange that this happened again?"  The third time, you embrace the magic and go where the adventure leads you.  I call these experiences, "quilt mojo".

Once, I even confided this philosophy to a more seasoned collector.  I was hesitant.  She was far more worldly about quilt history and I was concerned she would dismiss my theory.  I was very surprised when she told me, "Oh that is definitely a thing."  She then went on to tell me her own quilt mojo tales.  

When I was still amassing my collection, I knew every antique mall and flea market in a 4 county radius.  One Saturday morning, I awoke with a desperate longing to visit a junk store that I knew about but hadn't been inside of yet.  It was 30 miles from home.  I felt this weird urgency and just went with it.

The junk store was in the basement of what had been a large department store.  When I arrived, the business owner told me "Everyting is on sale today.  We have to move out tomorrow."  

The place was huge and just filled with tables of stuff.  After digging through the tables, I finally found this:

 The sense of relief in finding what I was supposed to find was palatable.

The business owner was surprised, "We still have that?  My husband and I found that years ago."

The quilt was made at the turn of the century.  A variety of (what we now call) neons were in the quilt.  Neons were an example of the use of black dyes that had been perfected in the 1890s.  Colors popped against the background and reminded modern quilt historians of neon colors that glowed against a black light.

The light blue above is a "neon" and the pink below is another example:

The business owner told me she and her husband found the quilt years before in a neighboring town at an estate sale.  "The home was a Victorian and the furniture was fantastic.  Two sisters lived in their father's house and when the last sister passed, everything went up for auction."

The sisters must have had a four poster bed.  Two corners are hemmed to accommodate the bottom posters:

I'm not sure what made me go to the junk store that day but I'm sure glad I saved this quilt and the story!

Wishing you a safe and happy day!

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful find! And an exciting story to go with! Just in time, you are called for a purpose, to Save The Quilts!