Monday, 8 February 2016

The Blanket Box and what was in the Seat Cushion

When the farm home of my Great Aunt Nannie Sinclair was being cleaned out in the late 1980's, I fell heir to the blanket box pictured above.  I have been calling it a trunk but as this website explains, trunks were made for travelling so would have had handles and straps.  The purpose of this chest would have been for storage and even for extra seating.  It has casters on the bottom to roll it from place to place.
 It would appear to be homemade with dovetail joints and a leather harness strap to hold the lid up but the latching mechanism would have been store bought.  Although the outside is repainted, the inside is the original colour. There is a small box built into the right side to hold small items and contained an old set of false teeth when I first got it.  (Have I really thrown them out?  I can't find them....)

The box had a fabric gathered skirt and seat cushion on it and I remember it sat at the top of the stairs in the Sinclair home (pictured below). My younger sister used it as a pattern and made me a new skirt and recovered the seat cushion in the same fabric.  Fast forward twenty some years later and I decided to take off the fabric and the old one was in the garbage before I got curious about what was in the seat cushion for padding.  It was VERY dusty but look what I found!  A crazy quilt!

This website  says this form was most popular at the turn of the century an often included silk and that the stitching was what made these works of art even though it was practical in nature.  Small and irregular scraps could be used up and attached to a plain back without anything in between. 

 I know my Great Grandmother Elizabeth Henry Sinclair (above) was known for her sewing talents and I imagine her along with daughters Mary, Jean, Ellen and Lizzie working on it and then using it to pad the blanket box seat cushion when it was worn out.   I think this would be beautiful as a wall hanging or perhaps pieces of it framed but haven't got around to it yet.  I'd be glad to share if any cousins have an idea for it!


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