One winter in the early 1850’s, while the Booth family was living at Tudor Hall, Asia pieced a Job’s Tears quilt for her brother John Wilkes. Years later, she recorded his reaction in her memoir: “Oh, take away that sorrowful canopy,” he said, pretending to shiver. “I shall always see old Job at the foot of my bed, naked and bent, with long white locks, and beard hanging to his knees, and shedding tears as big as these patches. I have seen a picture like that somewhere, and I don’t want to be haunted and made melancholy by the thought of Job. I think God tried him to the very verge of despair.”
Although Asia did not describe how she responded, I could well imagine how she might have felt. In Fates and Traitors, I have Asia indignantly reply, “What a thing to say about a quilt made with a sister’s love!”
Asia’s quilt has been lost to time, and as is often the case with quilt blocks, the Job’s Tears name is attributed to several different patterns. Pictured above left is one of the most popular Job’s Tears blocks, sewn from fabrics belonging to “Lucy’s Collection,” my fabric line inspired by another character from Fates and Traitors. Above right is the same block in fabrics from my previous collection, “Christmas Bells.” This pattern offers instructions and templates for a 6″ finished version of the Job’s Tears block, the perfect size to use interchangeably with blocks from Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler and the Loyal Union Sampler.