|1857 Album quilt top by Nancy A. Bekofske|
|Some of the first blocks from 1857 Album|
|I created the inkwell to reflect my interest in writing|
|1857 Album block|
|1857 Album block|
|I used green, red, and orange as my main applique colors|
"Although little verifiable biography enlightens the genesis of the merry Housman Quilt, the spirit of a locality animates it and it is vibrant with sentiment, symbolism, and the interests of a family. It was made in 1859, which is not old as quilts go. The present owner inherited it from an aunt whom she had seldom seen and she knows only that it was made in the Housman family which had Dutch ancestry; historical records show them to have lived on Staten Island as early as 1675. It is believed that some young son of the Housmans emigrated to Pennsylvania where he married a girl born and bred to German traditions. Being, therefore, well versed in local folklore, her patchwork took on the exuberant quality of a regional document which, at her passing, went to the Staten Island branch of the family.
|The Houseman Quilt|
"Of not so personal but more general interest are the flower forms. Left of the house is seen a conventionalized passion flower. The lute as a motif was often employed by music-loving people, while oak leaves (top row, right of center) bring to mind German songs and stories; it is written that in ancient oak groves Germanic forebears worshiped their gods and held their communal assemblies. In Pennsylvania the double rose, fuchsia, pomegranate, and tulip are constantly recurrent motifs in the adornment of dower chests, household utensils, and needlework.
"Your old quilt may be decorated lavishly with hearts or there may be just one tucked away unobtrusively in a corner; the presence of a heart or dove indicated a bride's quilt. In the Housman Quilt a circle of hearts has been arranged in a round patch. The Star and Crescent (upper right-hand corner of the quilt) painted on a barn was a potent talisman to ward off unfriendly spirits from cattle and still other symbols had the property to insure prolific increase. Left of the Star and Crescent is the St. Andrew's Cross; though more often placed in a circle, in this quilt it has been set in a square. The St. Andrew's Cross, sure protection against sorcery, was a favorite hex mark. For instance, a witch, placing her hand on a door-knocker into which the occupant of the house as previously had the foresight to cut a St. Andrew's Cross, would be rendered helpless and impotent. Tools and guns, so marked, never disappeared or behaved badly.
"In the Housman quilt a green leaf appliquéd close to the corner of each unit block becomes a group of four leaves when the blocks are set together; leaves cut in three lobes supply a pleasing border finish. this piece is owned and shown by courtesy of Mrs. Frank Carroll."
I enjoyed working on this quilt for nearly two years! Now....to get it quilted!