"Buttons and patches and the cold wind blowing,
The days pass quickly when I am sewing"
~Author Unknown

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Woman's Strength and Courage

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.

Martha Ricks, by Elliott & Fry, 18 July 1892 - NPG  - © National Portrait Gallery, London

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.** 

Coffee Tree Quilt by Martha Ricks

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. 

19 comments:

Julie said...

Such a lovely and inspiring post.
I hope you are soon feeling much better.

Lida said...

Love the story and admire the quilt! Will look for the book! Greetings
Lida

onlymehere said...

I'm like you with the curiosity and now I have to find this book and read it! Thanks for sharing. Sorry you've been sick. I seem to have missed out on all of that but think I'm now caught up. Hope you're on the mend again soon. I was sick for several weeks this winter and to add to that the old fibromyalgia had to act up and make it even worse. I haven't felt too chipper for some time but hope to get back to blogging again soon myself. Take care of yourself and I pray there are no ambulance trips or hospital visits for you in the future.
Cindy

Nancy said...

Well, now since you have a video cam I can sew with you via skype. As you know, I have started the cross stitched Indian Squaw. It is a slow color changing piece but I love it so far. Longggg way to go though.
Love you, Mom

Barbara J said...

Oh my Heidi! I do hope that you're feeling better. Must have been quite scary. Do take take.

Very nice and warm story of Martha Ann.

Rowan said...

I'm so sorry that you are feeling unwell, I do hope that things improve soon. That's a lovely story about the quilt - I wonder whether Queen Victoria actually received it?

garden2day said...

It is good to see your postings. I wish you the best. You are an inspiration and so is this story. Please take care!

Maggie said...

Sorry that you have been ill Heidi, i hope you are soon on the mend x

Penny said...

I'm so very sorry you haven't been well. It all sounds very frightening and hope you are feeling better. I enjoyed the story behind this quilt. :)

Pondside said...

What a lovely story!
I'm so sorry to read that you've been unwell. I'm sending good wishes and healing thoughts your way.

Christine said...

Sorry to hear you've been unwell, hope you are feeling better soon.
Such an interesting quilt story

quilt32 said...

A lovely post - I had never heard of this lady and her quilt. Hope you're feeling better soon.
Lillian
lillianscupboard.wordpress.com

Catherine said...

I do hope that you are feeling better. That was quite the episode that you had to endure.
This was a great story ~ thanks for sharing the info on that quilt!

Carolien said...

Beterschap, Heidi! Hopelijk knap je snel weer op. Was dat even schrikken ...

Hugs, Carolien

Anne said...

What an inspiring story! I'm going to check the library for the book.
So sorry you are not well ~ prayers for a quick recovery and back to normal.
God bless,
Anne♥

Susan in SC said...

What a sweet story about the quilt. I love her picture. You can see her personality in her eyes and smile. So nice! Thanks for sharing Heidi! Take care of yourself!

Angela said...

Heidi hello there :-) This is just a quick message from the internet cafe here on the Army base in Cyprus. I just loved reading this post. You always have such intersting and inspiring things to write about. Quite poignantly,I am almost at the end of a brilliant book my sister has lent me called The Help. It's a fictional story based on fact and is about a young white lady writing about the lives of coloured domestic help in Jackson Mississippi in the sixties. It's a bittersweet account of the terrible prejudice thery endured and compulsive reading. It must be read before the film, recently out, is watched :-)
Warm hugs and hope you are feeling better. Angela xx

Jantine said...

Het zit je niet mee hè? Ik denk aan je! Ga nu even kijken of dat boek nog te krijgen is...

GardenofDaisies said...

I hope your hand is feeling better now.
What a lovely story... a very sweet woman and a beautiful quilt!