I purchased this charming old quilt as a ‘cutter quilt’. This is the term used for quilts that are in a very sad condition and can be cut up for small projects with out feeling guilty about cutting up an old quilt. I could see it had potential for salvaging into small keepsake pieces.
When the quilt arrived in the mail, I realised I could not contemplate cutting up this beautiful old quilt. I identified the block pattern in Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Blocks as Darting Birds designed by Nancy Page.
The maker of this quilt had a good collection of fabrics dating from the 1880s to 1900s, including the gorgeous double pink used in the alternate blocks. The birds are pieced from reds, blacks, indigos and browns. The patterns are florals, checks, stripes and polka dots. The backgrounds of the blocks are mostly shirtings.
The beautiful backing fabric used on this quilt was a pleasant surprise as the seller had not mentioned this. The majority of old quilts have plain muslin backings.
Obviously made by a skilled needlewoman the piecing is neat and accurate. The hand quilting stitches are tiny and even and the maker chose cross-hatching for her quilting design.
Most of the wear on the Darting Birds quilt was on the outside edges. I decided to cut the outside rows off the four sides of the quilt. Removing the damaged area has provided me with some scraps for cutter quilt projects. I stitched a new binding – nice and narrow in keeping with the original. Even though some of the remaining blocks are worn, I can still admire and enjoy this old and obviously much loved quilt. I hope you can too!