Mosaic Friendship Quilt
Quilt top pieced from hexagons in Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern.Full description »
Quilt top pieced from hexagons in Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern. Each of the ninety ‘flowers’ has a signature, sometimes accompanied by a handwritten inscription or stamped design in its cream centre hexagon. Cream cotton has been used for the ‘paths’ between the flowers. A chintz border (4½ in wide) runs around the edge of the quilt. Backing and binding of plain cream cotton. Feather quilting along the cream hexagon paths and straight parallel lines are quilted diagonally across each of the flowers.
Made in Shepherdstown, Virginia, and dated 1848, this Signature quilt features a colourful collection of commercial chintz fabrics that had only recently become affordable through new industrial processes. This type of quilt was often made as a joint effort in the mid-nineteenth century to commemorate a special event, to raise funds or to honour the contribution made by an individual to a community.
The dates inscribed on the blocks range from 25 January to 9 September 1848. Many of the signatures are accompanied by verses with a Christian theme, some taken directly from the Bible. On 6 January 1848, the Feast of the Epiphany, a committee of the Old Reformed Church of Shepherdstown agreed to introduce catechism to church school classes. One of the signatories on the quilt, Joseph Welshans, was the secretary and treasurer of the governing board of the church. His wife and children also signed blocks.
Several blocks have the inscription ‘remember me’, suggesting that this quilt may have been made as remembrance for a respected member of the community (as this type of quilt often was). Owing to its biblical references, it is thought that this quilt could have been made for a pastor or as a raffle prize to raise funds for a local church. Although the name of the person that made this quilt is unknown, one inscription indicates that it may have been pieced by more than one person: ‘And as we join / This quilt to sew, / So may our hearts / Together flow / With Christian / Love’.