Channeling Barbara Brackman – The Auction Mystery Quilt

Have I mentioned before that I love antique quilts?  Maybe once or twice?

Over the years (as my budget waxed and waned) I’ve collected a number of antique quilts and quilt tops.  Not a large number and most of them in semi-sad shape, but I love everyone of them like children.

So imagine my delight, while digging through a basket of crazy quilt pieces (and yes I do mean cut up pieces) at a local antique auction, I found a couple of quilts buried at the bottom-  a vintage basket quilt and this drop dead gorgeous scrap quilt tied with cotton string:

Whole Quilt 1

 My heart just about stopped (I save this type of enthusiasm only for antique quilts and winning lottery tickets).  Two of the block corners have triangles and two of the corners have pie shaped wedges with an end result of alternating quarter-square triangle blocks with a wonderful circle shape.  You can somewhat see the block shape in this picture.

Quilt Block 1

Pinks and browns and conversation prints, oh my!

Quilt Block 3

Ditties and squigglies and that wonderful pie shape that comes together at the corner of the blocks.

Quilt Block 2

But oh, the mystery.  The fabric *appeared* to be old, but it was hard to tell for sure across the entire quilt.  It even *felt* old;  there’s a small gap in the binding and I could see cotton batting complete with cotton seeds.   The backing was all in the same pinkish striped fabric:

Backing 1

Given the range of fabrics and age, this quilt may have been a result of someone’s scrap bag collection across many years and quilters.
And the icing on the cake was the intriguing block pattern.  I think I’ve seen it before, but can’t put a name to it.   The auction was crowded and it was hard to get the entire quilt out to assess, so I had to make do with evaluating just the parts that could be pulled out of the basket.

Of course, the minute I cross the quilt-inspection line to “intrigued,”  most generally the quilt comes home with me (I mean who needs to eat EVERY day).   The auctioneer pulled those two quilts out of the basket and the bid was on choice;  fortunately it was late in the auction and not too many people were left.  I got choice for a very good price and took them both!

As a quilt historian wannabe, I’m planning to channel Barbara Brackman and do some research on this one.  Is it an old top that was finished and tied much later?  Maybe new(er) blocks mixed with older ones in order to complete the quilt?  What are the fabric ages?  Can I identify them definitely?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll get measurements, more (and better) pictures and start working through the blocks one by one to document the fabric.  Stop by Pinterest to see my progress-  I’m thinking I may need to recreate this one from my own stash🙂

2 thoughts on “Channeling Barbara Brackman – The Auction Mystery Quilt

  1. Hello from South Carolina! I am visiting you from the GYB party. It is taking me some time to get through the list, as my time has been very limited lately because of serious illness in the family and spending much of my time caring for 3 of my 5 grands.

    I really enjoyed my visit here today and am signing up to be a follower. I sincerely hope you can find a moment to visit me at my blog of varied interests!

    • Welcome, Lynn- thanks so much for stopping by! I’m so sorry to hear about the illness in your family; will keep you and your family in our prayers.

      I’ll be hopping over to check out your blog shortly- hope you’re having a great day in South Carolina!

      Take care,


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