This past week, I happened to be looking for free daily offers on my Kindle and came across this children's book called Martha Ann's Quilt for Queen Victoria. I love quilt based fiction for any age.
Last night, I decided to read it before I went to bed. I was touched by this story that I woke up this morning and immediately started looking for information. As a quilter, when I read at the end of the story that it was based on a real woman's life and the quilt existed, I had to see if I could find a photo of the Coffee Tree quilt.
This is Martha Ann Ricks. This photo is part of the collection taken at the National Portrait Gallery in London. It was taken on July 18, 1892. Her eyes and smile tell a story in themselves.
This is the Coffee Quilt which she stitched by hand for Queen Victoria. It was made with affection and conviction for the queen. She herself was quoted in The London Times saying...'The Lord told me I should see the Queen, and I know I will.' She hand appliqued more than 300 green leaves with red coffee berries.
Excerpt from Martha Erskine Ricks: 19th Century Quiltmaker by Hicks...
**The Coffee Tree Quilt Mrs. Ricks designed had over 300 pointed green leaves with plump red coffee berries all delicately hand-appliquéd onto a white background. The quilt was composed of a center tree trunk extending the length of the quilt. Mrs. Ricks divided the background into four quadrants with a main branch in each quadrant attached to the center trunk. Dozens of leaves with coffee berries attached to minor branches in each of the quadrants. Scalloped appliquéd leaves and berries bordered the entire tree. She most likely spun, wove and dyed her own cloth using both cotton and fibers from the silk cotton tree. The size of the quilt was at least as large as our present-day queen-size quilts.**
I found this version of the quilt from the story Kyra Hicks wrote on her blog. Isn't it beautiful! Thank you so much Kyra for sharing this inspiring story with the world through your book. Martha Ann has really touched my soul.
Normally, I use my book and food blog to write a book review but I just had to share this book with you. It is such an inspiration to any woman who sews, quilts or stitches. I will be quilting today with Martha Ann in my thoughts and a feeling that I am linked to her and all woman who worked magic with their needle and thread before them and draw on their strength and courage.
Personal note: I have been neglecting my blogs as I have not been feeling well. I had to go into the hospital over Easter and am not totally recovered yet. Rather than write it all out, you can read about it on my home and garden blog here. I find myself in bed at 7pm some evenings totally worn out. The specialist just talked to me this morning about my test results and it appears that my immune system just went on tilt which is something they cannot explain. It is not a result of anything I ate. I have an emergency kit with 4 medications to take if it happens again before I call an ambulance. I think I have a nerve infection in my right hand also which is causing me major discomfort for the last two weeks so my needlework is coming more slowly at the moment. I am left handed though and grateful that I still can do things. I do have some works in progress to share so hope to get to some of them on my next blog post.