Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Quilt That Found Its Way Back Home

Since we began this blog a year and a half ago, we have shared many of the stories that quilts tell. Now we'd like to share the story of an old quilt that began in one place, traveled to another, and eventually found its way home.

Some time ago, our friend, Carol, mentioned that her mother had a good friend from her Garden Club, who had a beautiful old quilt; she asked if we would like to see it. This friend, Peg, also ran a bed and breakfast in an old log cabin that was built in 1700s. Teri and I (Kara) love old quilts and old buildings, so we jumped at the chance to see both. 

While it took a little time to arrange, we finally were able to travel to Boyds, Maryland, to see the quilt and its home. Pleasant Springs Farm is a bed and breakfast run by Peg Coleman; it is a delightful 18th century log cabin set in an idyllic pastoral setting.

A lovely place to stay

All one needs is a glass of iced tea and this front porch!

The cabin was lovingly restored by Peg and her husband back in the 80s; it is surrounded by 30 acres of gardens, woodlands, and pastures. While it is only 28 miles from the hustle and bustle of Washington, DC, one would never know it when rocking in one of the rocking chairs on the front porch.

A lovely arbor
We met Peg at her lovely home, and she led us on a tour of her farm. First we walked around her extensive gardens and enjoyed the beautiful June flowers.

A view of the gardens from the cabin front door

Peg's collection of hand-dyed and spun wool

We also found out that at one time, Peg had a dye garden, so she could dye the wool from the 100 sheep she raised. Now she only has a few sheep, but she still has much of the wool yarn that she dyed and spun herself. She no longer sells her yarn, but it is beautifully displayed on the wall as you enter the cabin.

A few of the sheep left

Our next stop was the cabin. Peg shared with us that the cabin was built in 1768 by Thomas Drury, and was then sold to the Austin family in 1804. Generations of Austins lived in the tiny cabin that at one time housed as many as 13 children! The Austin family put on the additions (for good reason). The cabin was sold in 1951, and it then was vacant until 1980, when Peg and her husband bought the property.

The cabin in 1980

As Peg led us into the cabin we were finally able to see the quilt. It was a beautiful triple Irish chain made from feed sacks from the feed mill that was just down the street from the cabin. And though the quilt was wonderful, the story as to how it got there was even better. 

A stunning triple Irish Chain

This sign hangs next to the quilt in the cabin
A Frederick, Maryland, newspaper wrote a story about the bed and breakfast and log cabin restoration project, and a former local resident, Sarah Wade, read the story. Not too long after the story was published, Mrs. Wade contacted Peg and said that she had a quilt that she would like to bring back to where it belonged. In the 1940s, the quilt was commissioned to be made by the three Austin sisters that resided in the log cabin. (They were three of the 13 children.) Mrs. Wade had no one to leave the quilt to, so she thought that it should go back to its first home.

There was no electricity or plumbing in the cabin when the quilt was made, so they had no Ott lights to help with the long hours of piecing and quilting. The quilt is made of feed sacks that were purchased from the local feed mill down the road and is hand-pieced out of 1" blocks. Although the quilt is not signed, Peg has a picture of the three sisters, as well as their names. 

The quilt-making sisters in 1900

So many little pieces!

We had a delightful lunch with Peg, her friend Jane, and our friends, Carol and Bonnie. After lunch we looked at a few old quilts that Jane had brought. We also learned more about the farm and were able to enjoy a special day with new friends.

A fantastic lunch!

Good friends catching up

Another Irish Chain quilt

Teri and I are going to be sending Peg a written description of the quilt, along with its story. This way she can have it as a written record, so that others years from now will know more about this special quilt and how it found its way back home. We were so happy that we had the opportunity to meet Peg Coleman and to hear the story of her quilt, as well as to see her splendid homestead.

Do you have a quilt that has a special story? Contact us and maybe we can share it here!