Monday, October 13, 2014

A treasure comes home

I'm busy processing photos this morning. Looking for free pattern downloads related to pictures I took during the retreat. Yikes - then I realize - time is running out to get the blog posted so I am going to focus on one part of what I saw while I was away.

We were fortunate enough to be in Bracebridge when the local guild had their guild meeting.

The guild banner for the The Pine Tree Quilter's Guild of Muskoka

We knew who the speaker was and we were off - well Linda and I were. I was hesitant - even though I knew the speaker, I didn't want to "waste" time. You know how some guilds can go on and on with all the blah blah blah stuff. We were NOT disappointed - this was an amazing guild.

The show and tell was spectacular.  I am not going to post any pictures as I didn't ask if I could, but there was a mother/daughter team - they were both learning to quilt. They had their first and second quilts there - OK - so I will just slink to the back of the room. They were SPECTACULAR and FUN!!!!!   There were many other samples of amazing workmanship and creativity that blew us both away.

Then a lady from Gravenhurst got up to speak about this quilt that was hanging up at the front of the room when we arrived.

A signature quilt - yawn yawn right?  - WRONG!!!!

This quilt had the most amazing story but before I get into the story - look at the WORKMANSHIP!!!!!   My first thought was that the satin stitch was done by MACHINE. NOPE - this quilt was made in 1915 and the workmanship is impeccable. And the fact that it is still intact today goes to show that tiny stitches and excellent workmanship will ensure the longevity of a quilt. I was blown away!!!!!!!!!!!!

Center panel of the quilt

If you can enlarge the photo you will see that it was done by hand. Looks like TWO big strands of floss were used.  That isn't what I mean - how about 12 strands - it looks like two UNSPLIT pieces of embroidery floss were used. 

The stitches on the signatures were teeny tiny and NONE of them seemed to coming loose

Must have been done by different people as some of the lettering was thick and some was not

What is amazing is the that the front of the quilt is so pristine and perfect yet if you look at the back you can tell the quilt was well used.

The back of the quilt. See how the batting has thinned out in places and there are several worn spots on the back

The quilt is going to be professionally framed and will hang in Gravenhurst. I have forgotten where - library? City hall? museum?

Anyway - the quilt surfaced during the First World War. Apparently a wounded Canadian soldier was found wrapped in the quilt on the door step of a house in France. The solder spoke only English and the people that found him only spoke French. He kept pointing to the word Gravenhurst on the quilt. They nursed him back to good health. In return for their help, the quilt was left with the French.  It was passed down a generation or two.

I believe it was on the death of a family member that it was decided to return the quilt to Gravenhurst. Much toing and froing of e-mails, but at last the quilt came home. It has been stored in a vault in Gravenhurst for the last 4 years.  Not sure when it will go on display.

The shape of the quilt makes me think that it was made for a soldier - it is long and narrow - like a bed roll quilt. There isn't much more information about the quilt, no idea who the soldier was and they are not going to persue it. The soldier was not found near the fighting in France and so there is the possibility that he was a deserter?  If so - they didn't feel that that detail was important. And there is NO way they could find out the information now.

Reminds me of another quilt with a somewhat similar story.  Check out my blog link for the story.   Isn't that exciting!!!    I wonder how many other quilts there are with stories like that!!!!!!!!!!!

Linda and I arrived a few minutes late for the guild meeting. We had arranged to leave at 12:30 (YES - the guild meets in the afternoon!). We were sitting around yakking and then I remembered that the clock in the kitchen of the retreat house was 10 minutes slow.  OH MY GOD - it was 12:45 and the meeting started at 1 PM. We flew out of the house.

After we signed in and slunk to the back of the room, the membership person got up and announced our names and said that we were staying at the Quilter's MisBeehaven. Who pops up two seats down from us?  Judy - the owner of Quilter's MisBeehaven!!!!!!!!   I had met her once before but this time we got our picture taken with her!!!!!!!

Me, Judy and Linda!

Oh yes - we were THRILLED that we took the time out of our retreat time for the guild meeting.   It really was a lot of fun and we learned tons and were so inspired when we left!!  And that is the sign of a good guild meeting.

On that note - I am still sorting through the rest of the pictures from the rest of the retreat. Willl post tomorrow.

Have a great day!


1 comment:

  1. Hi Elaine, RE your knitted squares: You could weigh one square, then weigh the leftover balls of yarn, and do the math to determine how many more squares you could get.