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Harding Family Quilts
These quilts came from Louise Harding's attic.  Click here to read more about Louise's family. 
We discovered two identical quilts in Louise's attic.  Both are red and white, horizontal layout, straight line quilting.  As expected the block is identified by a variety of names: Album, Chimney Sweep, Friendship Chain, and Christian Cross*.   The quilts have six rows of six blocks and measures approximately 70"x70".
One of the quilts is in relatively good condition with only slight discoloration and stains from storage.   The other was obviously used.  The color has faded, the fabric is worn and some edges are tattered.

Ruby McKim's book, 101 Patchwork Patterns, copyright 1962, includes an album block similar to the Harding quilts.  The book describes the pattern as "a real old-timer.  It's original purpose was for a gift for a bride-to-be.  A group of friends would get together and each would piece a block and embroider her name upon it!"  An interesting note is McKim's description states the blocks are 10 1/2 inch blocks set diagonally with alternate white blocks.  The Harding quilts follow the same design.  The blocks are approximately 11" but it's reasonable to think they may have originally been 10 1/2" and stretched over time .

We know the Harding family quilted for others.  Is it possible the quilts were made to sell but never sold?  Why was one quilt used and the other stored?  Albums seemed to be important to the family.  Not only did they compile photo albums but signature albums.  These little books are simply small albums containing signatures, we assume of family and friends.  But why are there no signatures on these quilts?   Maybe it isn't a signature block...maybe it is a chimney sweep block.   We can only imagine. 

The album block can be dated as early as 1890s* but it is hard to identify a time period for these quilts.  My best guess is the quilts were made between 1880 and 1910.

Click here to read more about the Harding family and other quilts from this collection.

I hope you enjoyed the story.  Please send comments to - charlena@doveinthewindow.com 

*reference books:

Maggie Malone, 5500 Quilt Block Designs

Barbara Brackman, Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns

Eileen Jahnke Trestain, Dating Fabrics, a Color Guide 1800-1960

Ruby McKim, 101 Patchwork Patterns

To view additional quilts or stories about the women who made them click on the links at the top of this page. 

Copyright 2008 Joe-Pye Butterfly, LLC. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04/30/08