Several years ago I was commissioned to complete a quilt which was started 60 years ago. There were 45 redwork blocks beautifully embroidered, and enough vintage muslin to make a bed sized quilt. Before my client left, she pulled 5 log cabin squares from her purse that she found in the trunk with her grandmother's unfinished quilt. My heart stopped. The fabrics were clearly very old - some were made before the turn of (the last) century and had still retained their color and vibrancy. When I turned them over, I had another moment of discovery: the blocks had been foundation pieced on salt bags, all from New England and New York. The front of the blocks were beautiful, but it was the back of the work that made them worthwhile and told their history.
Pictured is the front and back of a block I found in Branford, CT yesterday at the home of a woman who had just moved into an assisted living complex. Again, the front is nice, but the back tells the story. I will treasure this piece: the comics are actually dated 1976.