Pattern Name: School House Alphabet
Quilting: self quilting machine pieced and hand-stitched
Material: cinnamon red and white cotton calico with natural white cotton calico backing
Heritage: This quilt was found in Tennessee. This quilt is meant to be on display for all to see. This is a rare School House alphabet quilt and I have not yet seen one in person. It not only features all of the letters of the alphabet but also the letters "EHTL" at the end of the quilt. The extra spaces past 26 on alphabet quilts would have been the space for the quilt maker to leave their initials, and that is evidenced here. The quilt also features 9-patch blocks in the sashes, which would be a nod to more traditional quilts.
In 1906, Ladies Art Company, a mail-order business that published hundreds of quilt patterns, offered a series of alphabet block designs. The letters are made of triangles, squares, rectangles, and trapezoids to avoid having to make curved pieces, which tend to be more complicated.
Condition: Overall the piece is in remarkable condition. The colors are fast and there is no fading and the fabrics are strong and sure. There are a few small storage stains here and there, some faint yellowing, but it is obvious that great care was taken to store and care for this quilt over the years. With proper care, it will last many more. This is not a quilt that would benefit from a wash. I recommend sunning the quilt upside down for any cleaning that might be necessary.
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