Woodbourne designIt seemed like it was about time for some quilting-related items on this blog.  MCHS has a fine (if we do say so ourselves) collection of quilts from Montgomery County, including the “Woodbourne Quilt,” a lovely Compass Rose quilt from the 1850s.  Along with the quilt, the donors gave us a collection of illustrations that the quiltmakers used to design the patterns stitched onto the quilt, one page of which is shown here.

The Woodbourne Quilt was, according to family tradition, begun by Susan Maria Waters Dorsey and finished by Harriet Woodward Dorsey Blunt.  Susan was married to Henry Woodward Dorsey, Harriet’s half-brother.  (Henry was also Susan’s brother-in-law; Henry was Susan’s younger sister’s widower.)  (To add to the family-connection fun, the DAR Museum has a companion quilt in their collection; it contains some of the same quilting designs as the Woodbourne Quilt, and was made by Mary McCubbin Waters Waters, a relative of Susan’s.)

The quilt itself is “signed” (in quilting stitches) “S.M. Dorsey 1852.”  Now that I’ve gotten this far into today’s post I realize there’s no way I can do justice to either the quilt or the collection of drawings in one little blog post, written on a Tuesday evening in something of a hurry before it’s time to go over to the museum and open up for tonight’s speaker.  So this is merely a taste!  The drawings include birds, fish, flowers, leaves, hunting scenes (including men, dogs, horses and at least one running fox), and elaborate medallions.  The names “S.M. Dorsey” and “H.W. Blunt” are also designed.  They were drawn on the backs of  letters, invitations and the like, with tantalizing scraps of information about County people and places. 

Maybe I’ll break with tradition (if a 3 month old blog can have “tradition”) and post some more on this quilt on Thursday. In the meantime, more about the Woodbourne Quilt can be found in A Maryland Album: Quiltmaking Traditions 1634-1934, by Gloria Seaman Allen and Nancy Gibson Tuckhorn; we don’t have it for sale, but it is in our library in Rockville.  We are thinking of reprinting our “Woodbourne Quilt Designs” pattern book, as well; if you read this blog and think “Yes! Reprint it!” let me know, and I’ll add your interest to the arguments in favor.