This quilter is fascinated by historical quilts, especially those made 1820 and before. I have been researching historical quilts for many years. Quilts of Virginia 1607-1899 was purchases specifically because of the few historical quilts that were in it. Finding Martha Washington quilts in it was a bonus to me.
However, the book contains many examples of quilts and quilting – especially the mid to late 1800’s.
Yes, most of the quilts in this wonderful book are past the time period of 1820. However, the ones that are within that time period are beautiful.
I am only going to share two that are documented to have been made by Martha Washington (1731-1802). Martha and George Washington married in 1753. She was already a young widow with two children that George would help raise.
The Martha Washington Quilts:
On page 44 of this book, is a photo of a finished, but unquilted, top. Made in 1790, it is in a center medallion style made from linen and cottons. Finished size is 100″ x 97.5″.
On page 45 is the second quilt made by Martha Washington. It is named the Penn Treaty Quilt. Made in 1785 from linen and cotton, it is 100.75″ x 100.75″. Some of the same fabrics are in both quilts. The center square was a copperplate printed linen depicting William Penn signing the treaty with the Indians in Pennsylvania in 1682.
Regardless that Martha was the first “First Lady”, she described herself as “an old-fashioned Virginia housekeeper”. This means that she did or supervised being done everything from house cleaning, bookkeeping, gardening, cooking, childcare, entertaining visitors, and first aid. She stated that she kept 16 spinning wheels in constant operation (page 44).
If you are interested in Martha Washington, a search at your local library or the internet will yield much information. Whatever your politics are, Martha was a fascinating woman. She lived in a time period that saw many changes within the US.
Here is a simple medallion quilt featuring George Washington.
I hope you enjoyed these two Martha Washington quilts.