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Pieced Double Irish Chain Quilt

ca. 1850
Origin: America, Virginia, Sfafford County
103" x 115 1/2" (262 x 292 cm)
Plain and printed cottons
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2000.609.3
This is a large pieced bed quilt designed with 25 patched squares using printed cottons, alternating with squares made of yellow crosses and red patches on each corner in a Double Irish Chain pattern. Each small patch measures approximately 2 1/4" x 2 3/8" square. One block is embroidered in brown thread with a bird, script "V A" and an unknown shape. The quilt is backed in plain-woven cotton and bound in a one-half-inch folded strip of the same printed cotton that is found in most of the yellow blocks. It is quilted in 5-7 running stitches per inch in three colors of thread in a pattern of diagonal rows spaced about one-half inch apart.
Label:Nancy Virginia Alsop, nicknamed "Jenny Wren," made this bold geometric quilt prior to her first marriage at age 19. She embroidered her initials "VA" and the figure of a bird into one of the quilt blocks. Virginia also made a crib quilt using the same materials as are found in this quilt. Despite her busy life as a wife and mother, Virginia kept making quilts. A red and white quilt in the pattern "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul, is signed "VW," after her marriage to William Waite.
Provenance:This quilt with two others created by Nancy Virginia Alsop Chewning Waite(2000.609.2 and 2000.609.4) descended in the family until they were acquired from a family member by the museum.
The quilt is said to have been made by Jenny (Virginia) Alsop, of Stafford and Spotsylvania Counties, who married William Waite. A photograph in the family's collection shows a woman who is thought to be the quilt maker, see file. The photo can be dated ca. 1905 by the clothing and frame. Genealogical research suggests that the quilt maker was Nancy Virginia Alsop, born May 21, 1834 in Stafford County, Virginia and died in 1915. She was the daughter of William Alsop of Spotsylvania County and Manissa Harding of Stafford County. Her first marriage was to Joseph E. Chewning; they were married in 1853 in Stafford County, and the children were born in Spotsylvania County. Her second marriage was to William L. Waite of Spotsylvania County. That second marriage date is unknown, but their child was born in 1869.

Notes from a telephone call between Linda Baumgarten and Jane Van Leeuwen state that "Aunt Jenny's" home was just beyond Spotsylvania Courthouse, northwest from Fredericksburg; it was a town with its own courthouse.
Inscription(s):This quilt has an embroidered block with a bird, the initials "V. A" in script, and an indecipherable motif.