Well no one recognized the blocks I posted previously so I guessing this is a rather obscure quilt but I decided it might be fun to bring it out of obscurity and do my version. I was inspired by all of Esther's work on LE to actually make a quilt that I had seen in a book several years ago and kept speaking to me. Several years ago I was browsing in an antique store in Charleston , SC and came across and old quilting book from 1983 called "American Graphic Quilt Designs" by Dolores Hinson. Now since I am mostly interested in appliqué quilts this title would not have drawn me in at all but the dust jacket showed a photo of the center of a wonderful Baltimore Album quilt. After browsing through the all black and white pictures I realized that this was an early study of Baltimore album quilts with some great quilts I had not seen before. I have followed the Baltimore quilting revival since its early days and had all of Elly Sienkiewicz's books as well as other authors and was startled to discover new, to me, research. Apparently the publisher of this book got it wrong when choosing a title and as a result this work has been overlooked.
Anyway this is the Rachel Meyer quilt as it appears in the book. Just a black and white line drawing and lots of verbiage describing the colors used in the fabrics and embroidery. But the author also went a step further and drew out templates for the blocks as a "pattern". She obviously never actually made the quilt as the templates are not very accurate but a great starting point. A few years later I travelled to Baltimore hoping to see some antique album quilts up close and personal. Unfortunately the Maryland Historical Society had none on display at the time but I was able to get a copy of a book describing the quilts in their collection and voila a color photo of the Rachel Meyer quilt.
I have always loved Jacobean embroidery and the stylized leaves and flowers used and the flowers and leaves in the quilt reminded me of that look. But what also intrigued me was the fun animals and embroidered details on the quilt as well as the medallion setting. It certainly looked nothing like the baskets and flowers I saw in most of the Baltimore album quilts of the time. And so it remained on my wish list until recently.
If you follow my blog, you will know I recently had major back surgery. The severity and length of my expected recovery came as a surprise and I knew I would need something exciting and inspiring to get me through the long days ahead. So in one week I scrambled to prep as many blocks as I could using those templates as my guide. So far it has been interesting work. I have cut the templates as printed anD often discovered that they would not fit together on the block. So In a rather freewheeling fashion, I have resized or redrawn things and made adjustments in placement. And I am finally using the color palette that I was planning to use for LE before my purchase of some beautiful Dutch Chintz sent me in another direction.
So this is not a reproduction quilt for me but one that will probably be recognizable to anyone who has seen the Rachel Meyer quilt. And if you look at the flowers closely you might think they have inspired other modern quilters as some of the elements are very similar to those used in Kim McLean's magnificent work.
Oh and here is a photo of the book. As you can see I used it when creating my own center for the Captain Russell quilt as there are also templates in the book for that quilt. It is a great book for your personal library and an online search shows that it is readily available used at very low prices. I have seen it for as little as a dollar.
So now I am working on 2 exciting appliqué projects, which should really keep me busy stitching!
Update: Well apparently the cheap versions of this book are no longer available. I admit I had not looked online for about a month but when I last looked there were several cheap copies. Now the cheapest appears to be about $35. Sorry!