Thursday, April 26, 2018

Log Cabins-McCall's Quilting

I have an article in the May/June 2018 issue of McCall's Quilting---a 2-page history of the log cabin design.

The magazine has several patterns for some graphic variations.

See more about the issue here:

It's all a good excuse to show you 12 great vintage log cabin quilts---mostly found in online auctions.

Wool, early 20th c?

More of the same.



Below two Half-A-Logs (really 1/4 of a log)



Housetops About 1900

It says Hitty and it's a doll quilt, maybe 1880-1900

From eBay seller French72 Antiques

From Laura Fisher Quilts

Posts I've done about the pattern:

Monday, April 23, 2018

Past Perfect: Judie Rothermel

April's Past Perfect featured quilt designer is Judie Rothermel.

Judie has been designing reproduction fabrics since 1987.

She's done many collections of Aunt Grace 1930s's repro prints.

Tea Leaves

And lots of miniature quilts

How many repro lines in 31 years!
What a gift for us traditional quiltmakers.

Sturbridge Stars

Her lines and quilt designs range across the 19th century and into the 20th.

Thirteen Stars from 2007.

Her quilts are often simple patchwork making the most of
 old-fashioned prints.

Stars & Bars

Centennial Quilt
She's known for her samplers too.

Heirloom Applique

Judie's Album Quilt

Judie's inspiration has been antique quilts from her own collection and from museums such as Old Sturbridge Village and the New England Quilt Museum. She and husband Bob ran the Schoolhouse Quilt Shoppe in Canton, Ohio for decades.

The shop is now open by appointment only.

Thanks to Judie and Marcus Brothers for providing us with so much of our stash of repro prints.

Nineteenth Century Schooldresses
One of her latest lines

Friday, April 20, 2018

Solar System Quilt

Solar System
A.D. 1876
Collection of the Smithsonian Institution

In 1866 Nathan Mills gave a lecture at a Quaker meeting house in Iowa. According to the church history, "The subject of his lecture was 'Astronomy.' The chart he used was a bed quilt so quilted as to represent the solar system."

Perhaps his visual aid looked much like Ellen Harding Baker's Solar System Quilt pictured above.
Sarah Ellen Harding Baker was living in Cedar County, Iowa ten years later in 1876, the date on this wool quilt.

She may be the "Iowa woman" referred to in an article copied in several newspapers in the winter of 1883-1884. "An Iowa woman has spent seven years in embroidering a solar system on a quilt."

Sarah Ellen Harding Baker (1847-1886)
From the Smithsonian's site

Had she started in 1876, seven years would make it 1883. Ellen Baker was busy in those years raising her five surviving children and embroidering stars.

An "astronomical quilt" was not that unusual. In 1853 the Washington Mechanics' Fair Instititute  listed many quilts shown at their first exhibit, among them M.F. Saffel's "astronomical quilt."

Eliza Sumner's 1848 "Family Register Quilt" 
also includes "A Representation of the Starry Heavens" and 
"The Sun and its Rays in their irregular order."

The quilt was documented by the Massachusetts project and featured in their book Massachusetts Quilts: Our Commonwealth. Eliza (1802-1856) lived in Spencer, Massachusetts

An 1873 story in the Chicago Tribune featured a Celestial Bed Quilt with no pictures.


Sold at Carlsen Gallery Auction
Quilt by an unknown maker representing the sun and
seven planets in circular orbits. Mars, perhaps, or
Mercury is red; Jupiter has stripes; Saturn rings and moons.

From Woodard & Greenstein
Suns, moons and stars are not unusual choices for

From Laura Fisher

From James Cox Antiques

But most seem to have no scientific function.

A celestial chart from 1834

E.H. Baker is buried in the Lone Tree Cemetery in Johnson County, Iowa.

I'd make one but I'd have to decide whether to include Pluto or not.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Thomas Allom: A Lancashire Cotton Mill in the 1830s

Women working at power looms in Lancashire about 1835
from a watercolor by Thomas Allom

Thomas Allom (1804-1872)

Thomas Allom was an architect and painter who visited a huge cotton mill
in Preston in Lancashire, England in the early 1830s.

Swainson, Birley & Company
a hand-colored engraving from an Allom painting of the Fishwick Mills

The Swainson and Birley mills had a history of over a century. Their buildings were variously known as the Bannister Hall Printworks and the Fishwick Mills.

 1882 cotton kerchief celebrating the Fishwick Mills

 Swainson was considered the best furniture printer at the time --- furniture being
a name for chintz. This ca. 1835 print is in the collection of the
Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Allom probably had a commission to record the workings of the mill---the latest technology. His watercolors were engraved as prints and included in an 1835 book by Edward Baines: History of the Cotton Manufacture in Great Britain

Black and white engraving in Baines's book.

Allom's picture of calico printing on cylinder presses is an
often reproduced engraving from the book. 

Border stripe printed by Swainson about 1835
The Victoria & Albert Museum has several prints from the Swainson mills
See the whole print here:

Carding, drawing and roving the cotton fiber.
Allom painted four steps in cotton print production beginning with carding the
raw cotton by machine.

The wood engravings produced for multiple printings are quite impressive. More impressive are the actual watercolors that Allom painted, which are in the collection of the Manchester Science Museum.

The paintings are described as "pencil, pen, sepia and wash"

Allom was working about five years before photographs.

His attention to detail is best seen in the paintings

Spinning the yarn on mule spinners, the second step.
(There were spinning jennies and spinning mules---named for work animals.)

Power-Loom Weaving, the third step

Note how many young women were employed. In 1835 a local medical examiner counted 433 mill employees between the ages of 11 and 18 of which 256 were girls. 

See the Allom paintings here

The accession numbers on the paintings indicate they were acquired in 1985. I would imagine
they were purchased at a Christie's Auction then. A real treasure.

Allom's painting of the mills
The 7-story main building opened in the mid 1820s  was known locally as the Big Factory

Read Baines's book here

And learn all about the "Great Mechanical Inventions"