Ellen Harding Baker set the standard for nebulous quilting way back in 1876. Check out all of the tiny stars and what appears to be the Milky Way! This magnificent embroidered wool and silk quilt, currently housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, was used as a teaching aid in Baker’s astronomy lectures and based on textbook illustrations available at the time. According to the museum, “astronomy was an acceptable interest for women in the 19th century and was sometimes even fostered in their eduction.” (I have to say that I’m pleasantly surprised by this revelation.)
Best of all: Baker constructed this beautiful quilt while living in Cedar County, Iowa (and later moved to Johnson County — my old stomping grounds). I’m so proud of my fellow countrywoman!
And to think that I considered interstellar quilts as strictly a token of the modern age…
[Via even cleveland]