- The quilt is not really a quilt - it is a "counterpane". A counterpane is a quilt top with finished sides but no batting, backing, or binding. It would have been a prized possession and displayed only for decorative purposes.
- It is assumed the maker was Mrs. Vigors who lived in Marylebone, a district of London, U.K. It is estimated she made it in 1805 - 1820. The entire quilt is hand pieced and hand appliqued. The piece measures 96 1/2 by 104 inches. The piecing was done using the English Paper Piecing technique. Evidence to support these conclusions were obtained from bits of postcards, envelopes, and lottery tickets used in the piecing, still attached to the back of the quilt.
- Somehow the quilt made it to America and was acquire by the Shelburne Museum in the 1950s. The museum sent it to a Miss Edna Einbigler in New York City for repair and restoration. I have seen a few correspondence from Miss Einbigler to the museum. In one letter dated July 1955, she said "..the spread, or at least the workmanship on the spread seems almost too refined and classic to be Early American...." In a later letter - apparently after she had been working on the quilt for some time - dated August 1958, she said, "The work on this quilt is the finest hand stitching I have ever seen."
- I was able to find a little information about Miss Einbigler. According to the ship's passenger list, she immigrated to America aboard the S.S. Furst Bismark on August 27, 1903. She was accompanied by her parents, Herr Rudolf and Frau Anna Einbigler.
- I have not been able to find any information on Mrs. Vigors to date. I will continue my search and post as I find more information.
- The quilt is made with decorator chintz fabrics which were popular in the early 1800's
I made changes to make the pattern an original design. Most significant are four Grandmother's Fans replacing the quarter circles in the center medallion. I completed my quilt top on April 8, 2009. It is now machine basted, by my dear friend Eiko who is a long arm quilter. I will begin hand quilting it in the Fall/Winter 2009. My finished quilt top measures 102 by 102 inches. I am working through the process of publishing a pattern for the quilt. I would so love to share the design and the techniques, all hand work! with other quilters. I plan to hold retreats and classes to teach the techniques once the pattern is published. Please stay tuned to my blog for more information.
Thank you for reading my blog. I hope my excitement about this amazing quilt is contagious. I would love to hear from you if you are interested. My hope is to connect with other people who love antique quilts and textiles. I will be sharing my experiences and research going forward along with pictures of other quilts I have made (including my extensive UFO list!!). I also plan to share techniques I have created for quilting by hand. Judi