These 73 quilt blocks were recently discovered by Pat Seymour and stitched into a quilt and pillow by Mary Salmond. The blocks had old newspapers as the backing, dated 1905, 1906, and 1912, from The Republican, The Atchison County Mail, and St. Joseph News-Press. The two local ladies are hoping someone will recognize the fabric and know who stitched the blocks.
Pat “Dorothea” Seymour of Fairfax, Missouri, discovered 73 8”x10” crazy quilt rectangles in November 2020. These rectangles were sewn onto cut-out 8”x10” newspaper clippings as a backing and stability for the small pieces of leftover fabric from used dresses, shirting, blankets, or drapery. This is also called paper-piecing, which has come into vogue in recent years with quilters. Pat believes she purchased the quilt blocks at an auction or sale in Rock Port many years ago.
In January of 2021, Pat’s neighbor, Mary Salmond, photocopied the 73 news articles. She picked 20 of the most important and significant articles and Quilters Boutique in Rock Port copied these 20 onto a transferable paper so that Mary could iron them on white fabric. Many of the newspaper pages were dated with the years 1905, 1906, and 1912 and were printed in “The Republican,” “Atchison County Mail,” or “St Joseph News Press.” Mary made a separate quilt with these 20 8×10 rectangles with black on point squares and a black border. She was able to tear the newspaper off because of the needle perforation from hand-sewing to newsprint (and probably the age of the paper). Therefore, the original 73 newspapers are still intact.
Although most of the fabric was still in perfect condition, about 15 rectangles were soiled with stains. Mary tried to clean them with heavily-diluted bleach; some came clean, some stains remained, and one bleached out the thin and fragile fabric. After this, Mary ironed 8×10 rectangular light fusible pellon on the back of the fabric. She squared up all rectangles and seven came up short. She only used 64 rectangles for the quilt, six for an oblong pillow (which has stuffing from the squaring up of each piece), and one extra piece which makes for a visible sample to display. This was done in February of 2021.
The rectangles were sashed with 1 1/2” black making 8 by 8 rows; the border is black also. Mary used a black and gray tweed-type wool for the back of the quilt. Wool, flannel, or muslin could have been used, but she had the wool piece and thought if the woman, the seamtress, had wool for the warmth she would have used it.
Mary would like to label this treasured quilt with the name of the seamstress who sewed these rectangles, so she’s asking the readers in the area to dig into their thoughts and see if they can give a lead. If you know the seamstress who created these blocks or have any ideas, contact Mary Salmond at 660-253-0546 or firstname.lastname@example.org.