¤ "Gather up the Fragments: Civil War-era quilts," a lecture by Jeananne Wright ¤ 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. ¤ $3 for guests; free to Delectable Mountain Quilters members. ¤ Wright also will be at Penny's Pieces in the Sundance at Fish Creek shopping center on Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday appraising quilts. Written appraisals are $35 and take half an hour. Oral appraisals are $15 and take 15 minutes. Wright offers a 10 percent discount for more than one quilt. ¤ 871-9888
One of Jeananne Wright's quilts is mouse-eaten at the edges and stained with mud, but she would never think of giving it up. She won't guess its market value because she never plans to sell it.
The quilt was made before the Civil War and was buried in March 1862 in Northern Arkansas during the Battle of Pea Ridge.
The quilt was owned by the Pope family, Wright said.
"They knew the battle would be fought on their land and decided to bury the quilt in a box and flee. They probably buried other things with it, like silver."
During the Civil War, soldiers were allowed to take anything that could be worn, eaten or slept under, so families often buried treasured items to hide them from the soldiers.
The women eventually came back and dug up the quilt. Rainwater seeped through the ground and into the box. You can still see where the quilt had been folded.
"Those are its battle scars," Wright said. "They make it more valuable because they authenticate the story."
Wright found the quilt at an antique show in 1996. She noticed it under the counter at someone's booth. They were using it as packing material.
Wright is a quilt historian, collector and an American Quilters Society-certified quilt appraiser.
She will be in town Monday and Tuesday appraising quilts at Penny's Pieces in Sundance at Fish Creek shopping center and to give a lecture about Civil War-era quilts at Monday night's Delectable Mountain Quilters meeting.
She will show the Civil War-era quilts from her collection, including a red, white and blue Union quilt. She also will talk about the most famous quilts from that era -- the quilts made for the soldiers by the U.S. Sanitary Commission. More than 25,000 of them were made, and only five to 10 of them are left in existence, all in museums.
"During the Civil War, especially in the South, women couldn't get fabric," Wright said. "You could buy fabric for $100 a yard on the black market."
Wright will follow her discussion with a question-and-answer session.
Most commonly, people ask her about quilt care.
"Keep it out of the sun," she said. "Do not wash the quilt unless you have advice from a professional. Refold it every three months and never, ever put it in plastic or in a wooden trunk. If you aren't going to display it, wrap it in a white cotton sheet."