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Quilts from the Michigan State University Museum Collections

Aunt Clemy’s Ribbon Quilt (Sawtooth Star Pattern)
Maker unknown
Provenance unknown
Silk,, glass beads, paper labels
30-3/4” x 60”
MSUM 1997:98.1; Gift of Annette Shaver
Photo by Mary Whalen, all rights reserved Michigan State University Museum

Quilts often include scraps of fabrics leftover from making clothing or from used clothing. The maker of this small quilt not only used such fabrics but made sure the source of the fabrics would be remembered. Stitched to twenty of the fabric pieces in this quilt are tiny paper tags with notes, written in pencil, detailing the source of the fabric, for example “Ribbon that was Clemy’s,” “Grandmother Gay’s bonnet,” “Aunt Rachel’s pelise [sic],” “Martha’s first silk dress,” and “Mother’s wedding dress 1822.” Red grosgrain ribbon is used as sashing between the blocks and jet beads circle the border. Each block is meticulously enhanced with embroidered stitches in a variety of colors and designs popularly used in the Crazy Quilt style. With the use of these sentimental tags and expensive fabrics, this little quilt conjures up images of a close-knit, well-off Victorian family. [NOTE: A “pelisse is a woman’s loose, lightweight cloak with wide collar and fur trimming]

Aunt Clemy’s Ribbon Quilt (detail)
Photo by Mary Whalen


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