antique or vintage?

When I went to my hometown for the weekend, my mom offered me a quilt made by her grandmother Neal.

She cautioned me, “Now, back in those days, they just made things from scraps, it isn’t all fabrics that are matchy-matchy.” She said she had 2, and my sister had looked at them and told her to give me first choice.

Pretty nice for just being made from scraps.

I don’t have very many stories about my great- grandmother Neal- she lived on a farm in  Kentucky and my mom would visit them for holidays and in the summer. She would always buy store-bought bread, so the children could eat sandwiches, but my grandmother was embarrassed by how many homemade biscuits my mom and uncles would eat. I imagine them at dinner,  reaching for another biscuit, and my grandmother giving them that look that says, “I can’t believe you are reaching for another biscuit.” But then they eat it anyway.

So, at home in the more recent past,  mom climbed up on the step stool, and pulled out a zippered blanket bag. Wrong one- that one was little- a crib quilt made for my oldest brother by my paternal grandmother- amazing patchwork, and tiny hand quilting. My mom told me that she had made that one, then one for my second oldest brother, then was declared legally blind. No more quilting.
The next bag that came out of the linen closet was the right one- it had two quilts made by my mom’s dad’s mom, Hattie Hill Hutchcraft Neal.

My mom speculates that she was named after her aunt, who was Harriet Hutchcraft, and married a man whose last name was Hill, so she was Harriet Hutchcraft Hill, and the baby who became my great-grandmother was Hattie Hill Hutchcraft. You hear people talking about how much they like old-fashioned baby names, but you don’t meet very many Hattie Hills these days. Wonder why
The firstquilt to come out of the bag was a flower garden, hexagons in pastels and medium colors on a white field, with a scalloped border. The scalloped border was what sold me, Kate liked the hexagons. We laid it out on the recliner, and I looked closely at the tiny hand quilting. I’ve done some quilting and oh, my gosh, this woman knew what she was doing. If I were at all competitive I would quit, because, you know, I would be competing with someone born shortly after the time of the civil war.
The other quilt, that I left for my sister, had stars on a white background, also very fine quilting, just as good, really. (I feel a little guilty- did I pick the better one? Is it fair?)

So, now, what do I do with this beautiful old textile? Zip it into a blanket bag in

I can scraches ur quiltz?

linen closet? Hang it up somewhere? Use it on a bed for the cat to tear up? I love that it is an antique (actually, what are the rules on linens? is it vintage? antique? where do you draw the line?) and I would like it to survive to become even antiquer (I know, not a word…) I have passed by two separate quilt racks at a thrift store- clutter-y and not really my style. But it is a shame not to have it where I can enjoy it. What are your thoughts?


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ovariation
    Sep 27, 2012 @ 06:12:47

    That is simply stunning. My great-grandma and my grandmother were both talented quilters (also from Kentucky! What if they knew each other?), and my mom uses some of the quilts as actual bedding. However, they don’t have any pets or young children, and the quilts are on the rarely used guest beds. So… You could also consider a wall hanging?


  2. David
    Sep 27, 2012 @ 06:32:32

    Frame it behind plexi glass (to protect it from UV) for the wall, that’s what they do in the textile museums around these parts. You can see and enjoy with it protected….


  3. Candace
    Sep 27, 2012 @ 08:25:04

    Quilt racks aren’t really my style either, but how else can you have it out as the eye-candy that it deserves to be? My mother still has the quilts that my great grand mother made and she has a quilt rack. I can’t help but touch and admire them each time I see them.


  4. bertcollections
    Sep 27, 2012 @ 08:47:59

    What a lovely heritage to share. Thank you.

    I wonder if you could make it a seasonal quilt , just have it out on the bed in say the middle of winter (if it is cat safe).


  5. ann at thevelvetaubergine
    Sep 27, 2012 @ 23:45:35

    That’s really beautiful. But mostly I’m commenting to say that when we had our little boy two years ago, Harriet was my number one girl choice. (And our son is named Ralph.) I really DO love old fashioned names. I really love that wonderful quilt. I’d probably hang it.


  6. wordpressreport
    Oct 06, 2012 @ 23:34:56

    Reblogged this on WordPress Report.


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