Friday, February 12, 2010

The Wickersham Quilt

The Wickersham quilt is a signature quilt that was made in 1854 by Rebecca Wickersham. It is believed the quilt was made in memory of her husband, John Wickersham, who died in 1853. The quilt is comprised of 63 applique blocks....two of which are used as a border treatment. The entire quilt is set on point. There are various signatures on the blocks....believed to be those of family and members of the Quaker faith (of which the Wickershams belonged). The blocks themselves have mostly a floral theme and are a combination of various hand techniques....with hand applique being the most prominent, although there are blocks that were hand pieced....and quite a bit of hand embroidery. It is a very pretty quilt and has held my fascination for several years now.

It is one of those quilts that I knew I just had to make when I first saw it. I did attempt to make a couple of blocks by hand, but just wasn't happy with the way the finished block looked. It just looked as though something was missing. Fast forward a bit to the time when I got an opportunity to learn digitizing. Even before my first digitizing class I knew that this was the way to finally make the Wickersham quilt. I knew that this technique would embrace all that wonderful "folk art charm" of the quilt while allowing me a way of letting the "inner beauty" of the blocks shine through. Pictured above is the first Wickersham block that I have stitched out. I simply love the way it turned out! I think it retains that "folk art charm" while being a bit more of today....with the decorative stitching on the vase. The use of variegated thread on the flowers just seem to make them "glow"....and gives them life. The berries are all embroidered. 

The block pictured below is another block from the Wickersham quilt. This one was a very simple block. Just a flower surrounded by leaves. The center of the flower on the original block was left empty (that's where the maker of the block had signed it). I chose to fill it with decorative stitching to give the illusion of there actually being a flower center. While it is wonderful to see all the signatures on the original quilt, I have opted to leave those off of my interpretation of the quilt. So far I have digitized about a dozen of the blocks and have stitched out two. I really love the way the blocks are turning out.....and love the way it has a more modern feel to it while still retaining the "folk art charm" that originally drew me to the quilt.

This is defnitely a long-term project for me. It takes hours to digitize each block.....and hours to stitch them out. I'm hoping to have all the blocks digitized and stitched out by year's least that's my goal.  :>) I will be sure to update my progress on this wonderful quilt as I go along. The original quilt measures 107" x 99". My completed quilt should be around that size as well.

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