Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Backstitch at the National Quilt Museum in Paducah

My quilt in Paducah

Backstitch: A 25 Year Retrospective of Advances & Milestones in Quiltmaking, an exhibit celebrating the silver anniversary of the New England Quilt Museum, is now at the The National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky through September 16, 2014. Curators are Anita Loscalzo and Laura Lane.

Hickory Leaf by Barbara Brackman,
Quilted by Lori Kukuk

I was pleased to send a quilt. At the original venue at the New England Quilt Museum I loaned the Hickory Leaf above, an interpretation of an antique quilt from about 1840. That quilt was not available (I couldn't find it until last week as I am moving from my Victorian house of 40 years) so I sent another reproduction, also an interpretation of an antique from about 1830-1850.

Birds in the Air
by Barbara Brackman

I hand pieced this quilt (except for the strip set), one reason it took so long to make. The other reason
is that this is the last large quilt I did before I started designing reproduction prints for Moda, so finding the perfect period prints was a challenge. A shopping challenge, which I will always accept.

The brown-ground chintz was curtain fabric from Calico Corners. The setting triangles are cut from a great Pilgrim/Roy print, still one of my favorites.

More information about the Backstitch exhibit:

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Richmond: Free Quilt Pattern for Richmond Reds

"Richmond," pieced in Richmond Reds
by Becky Brown

Becky, who used to live in Richmond, Virginia, wrote she couldn't resist making up the "Richmond" block in my new 19th-century reproduction line called Richmond Reds. The Moda collection has a good variety of dark and light calicoes to give a period look to her block.

Twelve 8" Richmond blocks set side by side.
The block was given the name in Hearth and Home
magazine about a century ago.
With a 6" finished border the quilt will be 36" x 44"

Instructions for the border:

Quilt from the early 20th century. The setting squares
of light calico or shirting have faded with hard use.

The idea of using a print rather than a plain white was a standard look for everyday quilts from about 1870-1930. The lighter prints can be viewed as contrast, background and neutral.

Pine Burr about 1870-1890

Patchwork patterns in the magazines and newspapers certainly influenced taste. Light calicoes were advised in the Prairie Farmer's homemakers' column in the year 1886.

"Patchwork Pattern
Mrs. H. E. Snow contributes the specimen of patchwork given...It is to be pieced of two colors of calico, a light and a dark, or may be of medium shade and white. The plain illustration needs no description."

This quilt with its light calico background from about 1890 may have been inspired by Mrs. Snow's design in the 1886 magazine.

Another Prairie Farmer pattern contributor during that year was "Elder's Wife" who advised setting quilt blocks with "light calico of small figure" for practical reasons.

"As a rule, quilts are more useful as outside covers if set together with light calico of small figure, than if white were used. Especially if there are children, the white very soon gets soiled and makes much hard work in the washing..."

By "outside covers" she means a spread to top the bed clothes.

Back to the pattern for "Richmond".....

I could tell you as Mrs. Snow did in 1886,
"The plain illustration needs no description,"
but there might be sobs in the comments.


So I will direct you to the pattern for an 8" in my Civil War Quilts
blog that Becky did a few years ago:

And also tell you that it is # 1654 in my BlockBase program for PC's, where you
can print out a pattern any size.

Here I've had BlockBase print rotary cutting instructions for a 12" block.


I said: "It needs no description!"

Just be glad it's not 1886 and Mrs. Snow is not writing this blog.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Postcards From Abroad

Roseanne and I recently went to England and France.
Here we are at the Tate Modern eating lunch.

I had several travel was to follow in Jane Austen's
footsteps to Bath.

Another was to see some Arts & Crafts and modern
decorative arts at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The lunch room has William Morris trays.

A fabulous Margaret and Charles Mackintosh piece.

We went to a lot of art museums. I liked the Tate Modern's Ellsworth Kelly
collage (Gironde), which looked quite familiar. He cut up painted paper
to make it in 1941.

I took 500 pictures of which about 100 are usable. Be prepared
to sit through more postcards from my vacation later.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Emporia Quilts: Rose Kretsinger's Pennsylvania Beauty

Pennsylvania Beauty by Common Threads in Waxahatchie

We put this dynamic block in the center of our Emporia Rose applique quilt.

And on the cover.

Unfinished quilt top by Rose Good Kretsinger
Collection of the Helen F. Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas
Rose never finished her version. She usually found her patterns in antique quilts and this one must have caught her eye because it fills up the square block nicely. 

Many of the mid-19th-century applique patterns are based on Germanic folk arts which use regular symmetries to fill an area with pattern.

Ina Mae Carney's version

This block is unusual in its construction with a central
flower and four stems coming out.

Here's another design with a central flower and four stems.

They aren't too common because the aesthetic here was to fill up the space.
Four stems or motifs tended to leave a lot of white space.

Central flower/4 stems

Filling up the whole block successfully using four arms took some skill.

The common design solution was to add a little something--
a 4 plus 4 design.

Here's a popular 4 + 4 pattern, Mexican Rose...

Even more popular---the Democrat or Whig Rose. The rooster comb
fits into the empty space: 4 stems plus 4 combs.

One graceful way to fill space with only four arms was
to curve those arms. The quilt above is the closest I've seen to Rose's block.

Pennsylvania Beauty by Karla Menaugh

If you design your own applique you might try
an exercise in making a center flower with whirling arms.

If you don't design your own applique---use the pattern from our book Emporia Rose.

The Common Threads shop is offering a monthly kit
for their new version. Click below for more information about
the ten-month program, which begins in November, 2014.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Winnetka: Richmond Reds

Winnetka is #8305 
The picture of Winnetka, Illinois, is from the Winnetka Historical Society.

The basket weave print in my new Moda collection Richmond Reds is reproduced from a scrap of cotton printed in periwinkle blue on white. Because this collection leans towards the warmer side of the color wheel we colored it in eight different shades of madder style reds, brown plus an olive.

The document print

Pages of "Basketweave & Latticework" from 
Textile Designs: Two Hundred Years of European and 
American Patterns for Printed Fabrics 
by Susan Meller and Joost Elffers

In their index to print style, Meller & Elffers classify basketweaves with latticework.

The idea of a textural illusion has long been an important part of printing fabric.

Lane's Net is a popular print with a texture that dates back to the early-19th century.

Roller printing's detail allowed print designers to go all-out in creating a 3-D image.

Basketweaves continue to be popular with designers and customers. The print style is less of a clue to date than the color. The green print above is a mid-20th-century feedsack.

The blue-violet in my document print is a good clue
to 1870-1890, but the print is such a classic, especially in madder-style reds and browns,
that you could use it in any 19th-century period quilt.

Why Winnetka? For this line and the next I picked names of American towns
with a nice lilt. There's a Winnetka, California but I was thinking of Illinois.

As was the Bob Crosby band. Listen to the jazz song "Big Noise from Winnetka," written in 1938 by Bob Haggart and Ray Baudac.  They must have liked the sound of the word too. Click here for a YouTube video.