I got a lot of questions about this quilt after I posted photos of it on my dining room table during the party and also when I used it to cover my display table at Heritage Days. This quilt was given to me by one of our friends here at Chickens in the Road, a grande dame known in the comments section as MMHoney. (You can meet her in this post.)
The quilt was made by her mother in 1941, when MMHoney graduated from Walton High School. Embroidered on the quilt are the names of her classmates and their towns. (Back then, there were many tiny towns flourishing in this county….like Stringtown. Those tiny towns aren’t much today, but the school in Walton still pulls from the surrounding rural areas.) The colors in the quilt are green and white because those are the Walton school colors. (Go, Tigers!)
As an aside, the small high schools were eventually closed in favor of one county high school, where my kids attend, but the k-8 school in Walton took on the school colors and mascot. I’ve posted lots of pictures of Morgan in her Walton Tigers sports uniforms. My father also graduated from Walton High School. I kinda wish they still had the small-town high schools here, though they do have a wonderful new high school with great facilities, so there’s the good and the bad. (The old Walton High School building has been many things over the years. Currently, it’s being used as a church.)
The quilt is made in a Friendship block pattern.
Most of the cotton prints in the quilt came from MMHoney’s dresses.
It’s seen a lot of hard use in its day and some of the corners and edges are quite tattered.
When she gave me the quilt, MMHoney suggested that maybe I would like to cut it up to use for various craft projects.
I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do with the quilt, but cutting it up wasn’t on the list. When I took it to Heritage Days and used it on my display table, a number of people passing by the table recognized names on the quilt, and that settled it. This is a quilt that needs to be seen. I covered the table at the party with it and again people recognized names on it.
It’s on my dining room table right now. I probably won’t keep it there all the time, but it makes a nice special occasion tablecloth–especially when people are here to see it. I believe special things are meant to be used and enjoyed.
The Walton High School graduating class of 1941, at their 50th reunion in 1991:
(Front row, left to right: Warren Harper, Dewayne Canterbury, Lakin Ryan, Marie Starcher, Dorothy Looney, Nellie Kee, June Harper, Lorraine Ferrell, Jack Bransford. Back row, left to right: Jason Conley, Dotson Raines, Donald Lowe, Oral Henderson, Bruce Westfall, Wayne Robinson, Helen Strickland, Glendine Hunt, Addie Knopp, Thural Henderson.)
The class of 1941, in their senior yearbook:
(1. June Harper, 2. Dewayne Canterbury, 3. Thural Henderson, 4. Helen Strickland, 5. Harry Strickland, 6. Oral Henderson, 7. Wayne Robinson, 8. Nellie Kee, 9. Robert Taylor, 10. Warren Harper, 11. Joe Bailey, 12. Dotson Raines, 13. Loretta Harris, 14. Edward Knopp, 15. Goldie Romine, 16. Lakin Ryan, 17. Ralph Williams, 18. Addie Knopp, 19. Josephine Hill, 20. Dorothy Looney, 21. Jason Conley, 22. Lorraine Ferrell, 23. Rita Fields, 24. Marie Starcher, 25. June Taylor, 26. Clay Westfall, 27. Bruce Westfall, 28. Donald Lowe, 29. Glendine Hunt, 30. Marie Jones, 31. Jack Bransford, 32. John Taylor, 33. Hughie Williams.)
Tips for Cleaning Vintage Quilts
Several people asked about cleaning issues when using an old quilt on a table. Vintage fabrics require personal attention. Don’t use your washer and dryer. Soak old and fragile fabrics in cool water with a mild soap–as long as necessary, all day or even overnight. For a quilt, you can use a large tub. Swish the material around in the water to release spills, don’t rub. Rinse several times, gently, in more cool water, then squeeze the water out (don’t wring) and lay the material out to dry–in the sun and fresh air, if possible. For stains, you can spot-treat before the soak. Dab some white vinegar on the stain and see if that helps. If you want to use a product, try dabbing on a paste of something like OxiClean or an enzyme cleaner like Biz–these are safe for cottons, but be careful about embroidery. Test a tiny spot first to see if the colors run.
And remember that stains and tatters are a vintage fabric’s laugh lines, so relax.