Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Rachel Meyer Quilt

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!

35 comments:

audrey said...

It's a beautiful quilt! I can definitely see why you decided to make your own. The black and white photo is probably very helpful as well since you're making yours in different colors. Can't wait to see the rest of this one!

Julierose said...

Oh this is a beautiful quilt--I so envy you appliquers! i seem to be unable to do it without messing up completely. I really think your color shoices are gorgeous...can't wait to see it finished. Hang in there...hugs, Julierose

ritad said...

Beautiful quilts! And what a great find to have run across the book!

Mayleen said...

Beautiful! I especially like that scalloped border. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

Raewyn said...

Wow, what an interesting story and a beautiful quilt. I love the fabrics/colours you are using and look forward to watching your progress on this quilt.

Rachaeldaisy said...

I've really enjoyed reading about the Rachel Meyer Quilt and your journey in creating your quilt inspired by it. I like the way is so floral and each block has an animal or bird. Your blocks are beautiful, you've made so many! Will you do that wonderful scalloped border too?

Margaret said...

Stop!
I already have 47 more BA quilts to make!?!?!
Margaret

Quilter Kathy said...

Sounds like the perfect recovery project!

Janet said...

What a great quilt! I can see why you want to reproduce it. I love the fabric colors you have selected for it. Exciting stitching indeed!

Oops-Lah said...

Another wonderful project, and you've already made a great start. I love the colours you are using. I hope your recovery is going well.

Cissa K said...

I never saw this beautiful quilt before. Thanks for sharing your information.I love your blocks. Speedy recovery to you.

Judy Dietrich said...

I have this book, but can not remember seeing this picture. I hope I can find the book, now. I am glad you were smart enough to get these blocks prepped. The colors are great and I like what you are doing with this quilt design. I need to go back and look at some old favorite books to see what else I missed!!! Hope you feel better each day.

Every Stitch said...

How interesting to hear the story of this project. Have never seen the quilt before and it will be wonderful to follow your progress on such a beautiful quilt!
Hilda

Thimbleanna said...

You had me at animals! I LOVE the colors you're using -- they would have been gorgeous for LE too. Thanks for taking us along on this quilt -- it will be so fun to watch your progress!

Carla said...

I still can't believe how quickly you work. I can't remember if you do needle turn or freezer paper method? Stunning projects. I hope you are up and around before too long

Robin said...

Thanks for sharing the book and your version of the quilt. It's going to be a stunner. Hope your back heals well and quickly.

A Nudge said...

What a glorious quilt that is going to be, Heather. Alas, the least I can find the book for now is $33. Have put it on my wish list.

The Copper Sparrow said...

Very lovely, thank you for sharing (linking at Esther's blog). I enjoyed seeing and reading about your quilts.
Cindy

Cheri said...

Great start Heather, I think the animals are charming on the quilt Nd I really like the stylized flowers you are doing. The scalloped appliquéd border on this quilt is great. I am going to enjoy and look forward to your posts on these projects.

Janet said...

Hi,
I love the quilts you have been working on. You are so prolific. I guess your blog triggered people to get the Hinson book because the least expensive I could find it for was over $35.
I hope you continue to recover and can't wait for your next post.
Janet

Barb said...

I know that quilt!!!
I have the black and white drawing and also the patterns. Bought them at the Lowell Quilt Museum's book sale.
It will be a treat to watch you make this!!

Barb said...

Beautiful quilt...I admire anyone who tackles this quilt and your blocks are just fabulous.

Karen said...

I am very interested in your quilt project! What a good design and a good start for you.

Carole~Wheels on the Warrandyte Bus said...

The Rachel Myer quilt looks stunning, how fortunate that you were able to see at least a colour photo of it. I'm going to enjoy following your progress on this one.

Lori said...

Your interpretation is wonderful! I'm not familiar with that quilt, but I am now. :)

Michele said...

Absolutely gorgeous work, and inspirational, too! I have that book, and it is a fabulous source of ideas. Hope you feel 100% soon. I look forward to watching your progress. Michele

Miriam said...

Looks like you have chosen the perfect recovery project!
It will be exciting to watch your progress with each block. I love your fabrics.

Best wishes for a swift and complete recovery.

Jane in Wales said...

I have had that book for several years too, with something similar in mind. Your version looks wonderful already!! I hope you will be able to keep stitching away on it!

Sally Bramald said...

I found you! I have got a copy of the book and it is fabulous. I couldn't remember where I had seen it, thank you so much. I will amend the post and link back here.

Bunny said...

You sure are an adventurist when it come to your appliqué this is wonderful. Hope you are recovering well.
I just think your work is amazing especially since I am new to appliqué.
Bunny

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Featheronawire Sally Bramald said...

Coming back to this, I have found one large colour photo using Google images but no way of finding the original. I have searched the collections of the Maryland Historical Society with no joy....

Jocelyn Thurston said...

I am so in awe of what you make. This quilt is going to be so beautiful. I have that book and found it at a thrift store. I will be looking through it with fresh eyes thanks to this post.