This is a reproduction of the 1718 coverlet. The original was purchased some years ago by the Quilters' Guild of the British Isles and professionally conserved with the help of grant money. It is the oldest dated patchwork so far known in the world. Because of the age and fragility of the original which can only be rarely displayed, guild member Pauline Adams masterminded the making of a reproduction using silks as similar as possible to the originals. Some designs she created with her computer. The reproduction was displayed at the AGM and Pauline spoke about the project and laid out the vast amount of documentation that accompanied the coverlet. The whole is pieced over papers, NOT appliqued. I made one of the easier blocks, a pink hourglass near the top. We were sent a kit with just enough items to complete our section. This included special linen thread. We had to attach the pieces to the papers sewing only through the hem and the paper NOT the surface fabric and then to oversew the pieces together with tiny stitches so many to the inch. It was scary. The pictorial blocks were fiendishly difficult apparently but this is how all patchwork was done at this time. The papers are left in as they are in the original and the backing then added. X-ray type research is being done into the papers of the original to shed more light on the quilt's history and maker.
I believe the original is to make a rare appearance at the QGBI's inaugural exhibition at its new permanent home, St Anthony's Hall in York to be held from June-September. I plan to make the trip.
I should like to see a book on the lines of the Dear Jane one giving the patterns correctly drafted, allowing the quilter to decide how to make them.