March, 2014


Belle Abram

Probably made in England
Gift of Nancy Harris, 2007.028.0001

Family history tells us that Belle Abram probably made this quilt in England. Started in 1799 and completed in 1808, Abram used the popular mosaic patchwork technique sometimes called template piecing or English paper piecing.

She drafted four sizes of hexagons and two sizes of diamonds together with half-square triangles. She placed the smallest sizes in the center and progressively increased size with each border. Belle's design strategy could have been for practical reasons, since larger-sized shapes would speed up the project.

The medallion style featuring a central image surrounded by multiple borders (called frame style in the United Kingdom) was the dominant quilt design format in the Atlantic World until the 1840s when block style formats became prominent.

The history of this quilt also records the patterns of migration of one Wyoming family and the preservation of family history from generation to generation. Nancy Harris inherited the quilt from her grandmother Cathryn Harwood Bowman (1885-1965) who had also inherited the quilt.