Monday, April 7, 2008

Blessed Threads

Along the eastern seaboard of the United States textile mills were built in abundance beginning in the early 1800's. Powered by water the spinning machines produced textiles.

They drew workers from surrounding areas and had an immense impact on their lives and communities.

While the mill girls (as they were called) are a fascinating story of lasses as young as ten, working six days a week, twelve to fourteen hour shifts for $2.00 - this is about a by-product of the production.

Many convents were also in these areas, most slightly north in Quebec. Relying on generosity, mill seconds and discontinued fabrics, bolts of milled cotton (usually shirting) arrived at these places the nuns called home.

No piece was wasted as the Sisters' nimble fingers cut, pieced and quilted or tied the fabric into warm, lofty covers.

Though utilitarian in purpose some allowed an individual to demonstrate her love of subtle color and careful patchwork.

Most were made for the less fortunate in the close-knit, surrounding towns and villages. Some did remain to warm the souls of the dedicated women who made them. Sewn together by blessed threads a few still survive for us to enjoy.

Picture: Inside a Convent
Convent Quilt: made of shirting and apron gingham - early 1900's


Stacey said...

Thank you for sharing such goode historie~ There are old mills long abandonded in Troy and Schenectady but the Comfort Cottage. My great, great Aunt worked many years at the Troy Shirt Factory and I have some of the things she made. A treasure for sure!

Pinkie Denise said...

Wow, I loved hearing this story and the quilt so lovely, love the soft pink color...I wanted to let you know
that I had to run and find Romantic Homes and yes, that is my mom's home...OH,that Corey she loves to keep secrets and surprise people and this was a wonderful surprise for sure....Thank you for letting the cat out of the bag Miss Maddie Hugs to you Pinkie

Christine LeFever said...

Mea culpa, my heart but that is a beauty!


Sandra Evertson said...

Such a sweet lovely quilt!
Sandra Evertson

KaReN EiLeeN said...

I love history and fashion of yesterday. Love your storytelling as well.

Warm Regards,
Karen Eileen

Fete et Fleur said...

Beautiful Post. The quilt is lovely.


softinthehead said...

Ahhh write the most interesting posts. I am a HUGE quilt piece collector. I frame the pieces I collect and display them along one long wall. It is interesting to see the different types of fabrics used through time and from different places. I just acquired a wonderful piece from 1862 that is in great shape, the colors were very vibrant for the time and the stitches so tiny I needed a magnifying glass to see them clearly (getting old lol) Pam

Donna O'Brien said...

Susan- you never cease to amaze.This is something I would never have known about without you sharing these wonderful stories.You don't need photos as your words paint a beautiful picture, my friend!

Tracie said...

What a wonderful post, it truly touched my heart.

Suzanne said...

Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story Susan. How wonderful to learn about these quilts sewn together with "blessed threads". (I love the title to your post).

nicol sayre said...

Thanks so much for sharing little snippets of the past. I so much enjoy my little visits with you. Tho' too few and far between I know your heart is in the same place as mine xoxo N

Doreen said...

What a wonderful bit of history and a heavenly quilt. Thank you for sharing such wonderful pieces of the past with us.


FrenchGardenHouse said...

What a lovely story. I am learning so very much from you, dearest Miss! You paint such a beautiful picture with your words, and seeing one of the quilts is the icing on the cake.

xo Lidy

Sea Angels said...

Hello Susan, what a treasure you are, and what a beautiful title, I feel it has the makings of a rather good book. Do you ever write? you seem to have so much interesting knowledge, that also has a soul, and a wistful beauty about it, enhanced of course, by your wonderful textiles. How you brighten my life in so many ways.
Have a lovely weekend
Hugs Lynn xx

Sharon & Rodger, American Harvest said...

Hi Susan,
I really enjoyed reading your blog on the mills. What a great history lesson. Gotta love that pink fabric in the quilt. Sorry I've been away so long...thanks for not forgetting about me.

Donna O'Brien said...

Just checking in...!

Joy at Cupids Charm said...

Hi Susan! I sooooo enjoyed your post! I always learn something and I am always inspired. I just attended a museum showing called Vatican Treasures. There were many antique garments on display that were worn by different popes over time...the workmanship of these fabrics took my breath away. Xo ~ Joy J.