Sunday, November 8, 2015

Turkey Tracks or Wandering Foot - Looking at Clues

Out and about this weekend and discovered this mid 19th century quilt.

There's something suspicious here!
Do you see it?

No, it isn't the bicycle trying to sneak into the photo.  Although displaying a quilt on a bicycle with the chain oil etc. should be a crime...

It's the yellow.

This quilt required additional investigation.

Are you with me?

First, the hand quilt is exquisite.

All the signs of an 19th century beauty.

Feathers, double and triple line quilting, double line cross hatch...

I think the texture created by the hand quilting is lovely and really 'makes' the quilt.

The block is sometimes done with appliqué, sometimes inset seams.

Known by many names, I'm calling this one Turkey Tracks.
Brackman Applique:  5.36
Brackman Pieced:  3109 variation

This style and era were usually done in red and green, why is this one yellow and green?

Let's look closer.

The green is worn in places.

The hand quilting keeps it stable.  All seams are hand sewn, including the binding.

See how uniform the stitching is?  The hand quilting goes right through the appliqué.

The tip of the leaf goes to the seam so it is difficult to confirm if it is applique or pieced.

The seams at the tip of each yellow flower petal confirm they were pieced blocks.

From the tip of the petal the seam can be seen.

What's the red?  A hint from a past life?

YES!  This has been repaired - the worn red covered in yellow.

Checking the back there are more signs of red.  Could have been an errant fiber caught in the quilting?

Note the lower thread count backing fabric, helps with getting small stitches.

A few visible knots on the back.

Held up to the light, the red is very obvious.  Perhaps less so in my photograph!

Some of the red is still fully in tact, some is completely gone.

I would GUESS the 'repair' was done in the 1970s or so based on the yellow print.

Still a lovely quilt, I hope you enjoyed exploring it with me.
Have a great week,


  1. Clever of you to pick that - and thanks for another fascinating post! Must have been quite a job to repair and re quilt over the yellow to match the intense quilting plan. Love the yellow and green combination ...

    1. Kind of like your lily quilt! They could be sisters.

  2. Great detective work. thanks for sharing.

  3. ok - so this is a fascinating post. Gorgeous, gorgeous handquilting and a mystery - who can resist that? So how did they manage to quilt over the "new" yellow applique without having double stitches on the back? Out of curiosity - how was the border quilted? So when you say you discovered it - does that mean it came home with you :0) ?? Loved exploring this old quilt with you - THANKS!

    1. The stitches are only through the top and a bit of the batting. The backing only has the original hand quilting stitches.

  4. It is a gorgeous quilt. I will never look at a quilt the same way after this post. Thank you so much for sharing. Most interesting, entertaining and eye candy on top of that. Love it.

  5. Awesome! Did it come home with you?

  6. It is beautiful and you are amazing! This was so interesting! :)

  7. Looks like someone did a lot of work so they could enjoy that beautiful hand quilting! Very interesting!

  8. I saw the photo, and thought, lovely quilt. But your description is fascinating. o the yellow has been appliquéd over the top and then quilted as well?
    I hope someone loves my quilts that much is the distant future.

    1. Yes, the stitches in the new yellow appliqué thread do not go through the backing.

  9. Interesting! I think it s a good repair job, despite the yellow---they redid the quilting and did a beautiful painstaking job of repairing this beauty. Would we have preferred red? Probably, but this person's work saved this gorgeous quilt with its exceptional handquilting. Great find and detective work.


  10. Fascinating - sometimes quilts can really talk to us - and someone thought enough of this wonderful quilt to make those repairs. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Fascinating - sometimes quilts can really talk to us - and someone thought enough of this wonderful quilt to make those repairs. Thank you for sharing.

  12. You are the Sherlock of the quilting world. What a great story and detective work. Somebody saved this for some special reason. Glad you discovered it and I'm assuming you brought it home. Would you ever remove the yellow?

  13. Are you saying you purchased the quilt? The quilting on it is an interesting design and it is well done.

  14. Such a mystery and you solved it! This is what is so fascinating about old quilts, the stories behind them. Wonderful blogpost.

  15. This is fascinating! I would not make a good quilt detective, but I love learning from your experiences.
    So the burning question seems to be, did you buy it?

  16. Great detective work. Since yellow is my favorite color, I too might have repaired it with the color of my choice. Lovely quilt. Thanks for sharing it and your sleuthing!

  17. What fascinating information on this quilt!
    I think it's beautiful in it's pieced simplicity and the quilting on it is gorgeous!
    A very lovely treasure quilt!

  18. You are quite the sleuth! Such beautiful quilting. Can you tell if there was quilting on the original red applique?

  19. What a timely post. I have an old quilt that I made more than 28 years ago and the recipient of the quilt has used it to the point where it needs repairs. There are some worn spots that will have to be replaced. I think I'll use this post as my inspiration for those repairs!

  20. Wow what a find, this quilt is just stunning, borders and applique, I love the fabrics and all that dainty quilting, it is truly breathtaking. I can't imagine how long this must have taken. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks for your comments!