Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Free Label for Your Union Blues Quilt

Print this label onto fabric for a period look to your quilt
made of my Moda Union Blues fabrics.

How to Print
  • Create a word file (regular size) or a new empty JPG file that is 5" x 5".
  • Click on the image above.
  • Right click on it and save it to your file.
  • Print that file out on a pre-treated printable fabric sheet that is 8-1/2" x 11". The label should be 5" x 5".

I used a graphic seen in a series of Civil War envelopes.

Union stationery was a popular consumer item during the War.
This image was also used for a series of specific states....
"Loyal to the Union, State of Illinois."

"State of New Hampshire"

Envelopes are a great source for period images.

Do a web search for 
Civil War Envelope

And if you haven't made a Union Blues quilt to put the label on yet, this doll quilt from Stella Rubin may inspire you.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Antique Quilt Exhibits: Summer and Fall 2015

The Pasadena, California,
Thimble Club on a field trip in the 1930s

Get your friends on a bus and go. 

Detail of a Confederate applique quilt made by 
Susan Robb,1861-1862. 
Collection of the Museum of Texas Tech University

California, Los Angeles.
The Autry Museum in Griffith Park. Empire and Liberty: The Civil War in the West. There's only one quilt in this large exhibit but it's the spectacular Susan Robb figural quilt. Through January 3, 2016.

The Fisk Sanitary Commission Quilt from
the Lincoln Memorial Shrine in Redlands, California
is on display in Pasadena.
California, Pasadena
Pasadena Museum of History. When Johnny Came Marching West: How the Civil War Shaped Pasadena. Through September 20, 2015. Four Civil-War-related quilts are among the many artifacts.

California, San Diego
The Mingei Museum will display changing selections from the Pat L. Nickols collection throughout 2015 in its Theater Gallery. Check before planning a trip.

California, San Jose
San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles. Found/Made. Curator Roderick Kiracofe includes found quilts from his collection and those of Julie Silber and Marjorie Childress. Made quilts include contemporary quilts constructed with found materials as well as contemporary art based on quilt themes.
July 11 – November 1, 2015

California, Santa Ana. 
Bowers Museum. The Red That Colored the World; Cochineal. 100 objects-textiles, sculpture, paintings, manuscripts, decorative arts, clothing and more- the exhibition explores the history of cochineal and the seductive visual nature of red.
October 31, 2015 - March 21, 2016

Colorado, Golden
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. It's What We Do: 25 Years of Collecting. July 30 through October 27, 2015.

Indiana, Indianapolis
19 Stars: Quilts of Indiana's Past and Present. Celebrating the bicentennial of Indiana's statehood (the 19th state) with an exhibit of 19 vintage and 19 contemporary star quilts. Through October 4, 2015http://www.indianamuseum.org/visit/exhibits

The American Quilt Study Group's 2015 Seminar is scheduled for September 9-13 in Indianapolis. They are taking registrations now:

Kentucky, Paducah
Quilt Museum. A Tradition of Variations from the Pilgrim/Roy Collection, traditional quilts with unique style.
Through August 17.

Red, White and Quilted. Contemporary and antique quilts.
October 16, 2015 - January 12, 2016


Maine, Augusta
At Maine Quilts 2015 expo, Augusta Civic Center, Something Old, Something New: Early Quilts from the Maine State Museum. Sponsored by Busy Thimble, Litchfield, Maine.
July 24-26, 2015

Susan Craig Spurgeon's interpretation of an antique
from the collection of the New England Quilt Museum

Massachusetts, Lowell
New England Quilt Museum. The American Quilt Study Group's Civil War Era Quilt Study will be up through October 1, 2015.

Small Wonders: Doll and Crib Quilts
November 5 - December 26, 2015

Nebraska, Lincoln
International Quilt Study Center & Museum/Quilt House. Among the many contemporary and antique quilt exhibits up now:
  • Covering the War
  • Director's Choice: Red & Green Applique
  • Selections from the Ghormley Collection of Doll Beds
African-American Quilts from the Cargo Collection. 
Sept. 4, 2015 - May 24, 2016

Oregon, Philomath
Benton County Museum. Modern Materials, Quilts of the 1970s, quilts from the Volkening collection. August 21 - October 3, 2015 

Pennsylvania, Harrisburg
Susquehanna Art Museum. Quilts 20/20: Traditional Roots, Contemporary Art. 20 historic quilts from the Pilgrim/Roy collection and the LancasterHistory.org collection plus contemporary pieces.
Through August 30, 2015.

Turkey red and white delectable mountains quilt
with corners cut out for a four-poster bed.
Texas, LaGrange
Texas Quilt Museum. Antique Four-Poster Quilts is part of the overall exhibit theme: "Quilted To a ‘T’ ". Through September 27, 2015.
Virginia, Harrisonburg
Virginia Quilt Museum.
Civil War Quilts: Antebellum to Reunion. July 4 - October 3, 2015. "Quilts from the Shenandoah Valley, some donated by local families along with family history from that period."

New Quilts From an Old Favorite: Carolina Lily. July 14 to October 4, 2015 

Seminar, July 24-25, 2015. Civil War Quilts: What the Women Left Behind. 
Featured Speaker Lynne Zacek Bassett, "Herstory in Civil War Quilts."

Washington D.C.
D.A.R. Museum. Eye on Elegance: Early Quilts of Maryland and Virginia. Through September 5, 2015.
Curator of Costume and Textiles Alden O’Brien looks at quilts from Maryland and Virginia in an exhibit of 36 quilts with a focus on quilts from 1790 to 1860, design migrations and the many hands who made the quilts.
Posey Quilt, Early 19th-century
Collection Dumbarton House.

Dumbarton House. A Quilt Full of Poseys and Provenance. Examines the early 19th century “Posey Quilt” pieced of silk dress fabrics from Martha Washington, Nelly Custis, and the quilt’s creator, Mary Alexander Posey plus the lives of the women and the context of historical uses of silk and textiles in Federal America. Through September 7, 2015

Wisconsin, Cedarburg
Wisconsin Quilt Museum. In Stitches: Embroidery Needle Arts includes crazy quilts, punchneedle, redwork, needlepoint, counted cross-stitch artwork. Through July 12, 2015.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Lazy Quilt Reporter

Quilt of many pieces, about 1935

"Mrs. M.L. Simpson, of Phillipsburg [Kansas], has recently completed a quilt with 3,711 pieces. It is claimed so far as known this beats all other records. She was about four months making it and every part of it was by hand. She is now piecing the second one."

None of the quilts pictured in this post have anything to do with the quilts mentioned in the news articles. See below for explanation.

The rare diagonal strip set, about 1900

Be wary of stories concerning the biggest, the oldest or the most. They are usually wrong--- As is the above article from 1921 about Mrs. Simpson's quilt of 3,711 pieces, which "beat all other records."

Detail of a Trip Around the World quilt
about 1900

If the reporter had done any research at all [s]he might have noticed an earlier story in the Jefferson Texas Jimplecute in 1905:

"Mrs. T. A. Harris, of Cooke county, recently completed a quilt which has 13,050 pieces in it. It required seventy-five days to do the work and fifteen spools of thread were used."

Quilt about 1880-1910, probably from Pennsylvania

Mrs. Harris did not claim to hold a record for pieces. She was perhaps just looking for a little recognition for her persistence. (Or maybe an excuse as to why she couldn't have folks over to dinner lately.)

Triangles, about 1870-1910

The Essex County, Vermont Herald noted in 1892 that:
 "Betsey Fuller, aged 83 years, has recently completed a quilt containing 13,320 different pieces."
Here we have a persistent and industrious woman pulling the "old lady card" to get her name in the paper.
Diamond four patch, about 1890

Or maybe it was her children sending a 19th-century press release to the editor. 13,000 pieces is a lot of pieces.

You might realize that my snippiness about lazy reporters comes from a 2015 persepective when I can go to the Library of Congress's newspaper website and search for the words "recently completed a quilt." In a half hour I came up with 16 references to quilting feats.

Perhaps mid-19th century?

The only reason I bring up the whole thing is to entertain you readers, and show a lot of pictures of quilts with a lot of pieces.
Triangle top, about 1870-1910. 
This took longer than 4 months. The fabrics
range over decades.

Talk about your lazy reporter.

Dealers Woodard & Greenstein sold this quilt
several decades ago

See the Library of Congress's newspaper files here:

Quilt about 1900, sold at Northeast Auctions

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Folk Art Fakery

The Quilt Detective doesn't get many shady cases.

But there's some forgery---- or perhaps just misrepresentation--- that's been going on in the antique quilt market for over a decade. The code of the detective requires we solve this case.

Quilt offered at Cowan's Auctions June, 2015, auction

"American. A child's quilt with calico patches and 
African-American figures."

The auction house grouped this quilt with another small quilt and a piece of needlework.
Estimated value for all three: $75 - $150. The description and price seems accurate for a recent tied, mini-quilt.

Another version.

Here's a third example in a recently ended online auction.

 Bidding was
to begin at $475. Here's the auction description:

23 1/2" W X 32 1/2"L




Fortunately nobody bid on it.

In 2004, Darwin posted a note on the Quilt History List about one that sold after brisk bidding in an online auction.
"I agree that this piece is not very old. There were a lot of these floating around about 10 years ago. Well, I guess they have a little age but are they worth the price?"
What kind of price? One of my students brought one to class about 15 years ago. She was quite proud of this piece of African-American folk art for which she had paid $1,000.

What's it worth?
I hadn't the heart to tell her: "About $35."---whatever a small, tied, comforter in a "primitive" pattern copied from an old quilt would be worth.

I did tell her that these little primitives are quite common. Note how many I've found at auction on this page. The fabrics look to be about 1990--lots of cranberries and blues that were popular in those years. 
A fourth version

The prints and the white plain muslin have been tea-dyed front and back to look old.

I've only seen tied versions, no quilted pieces. Most have this same distressed cotton backing.
Are these coming from the same source?

To anyone with a good eye, these fabric don't look early 20th century. 

The prints look like 1980 fabrics, bleached-out and tea-dyed, a technique I used to teach before reproduction prints were available.

I indexed the pieced human figure in BlockBase and my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns as BlockBase #940.5: "Unnamed from quilt ca 1900 in Bishop's New Discoveries."

The 1975 book pictured a variety of
collectible quilts from dealers, collectors and museums.

Here's a snapshot of page 54.

"Pieced Quilt, southern Missouri, c 1900, 
73-1/2" x 71" (America Hurrah Antiques)"

Could this pieced design actually be a circa 1900  quilt?
There is a small category of vintage quilts with pieced humans.

But I didn't find many published pieced figures to index. This nine patch
from the Ladies Art Company catalog in 1898, Oklahoma Boomer,
recalls the land rush in Oklahoma.

See more about Block Lotto's 2009 version of the Oklahoma Boomer here:

University of Nebraska collection from the Quilt Index,
about 1930

Above,  an early 20th-century quilt which
is probably a sampler of Ladies' Art Company patterns.
There's an Oklahoma Boomer block on the left side.

So let's assume the original quilt in the 1975 book is an authentic antique.

We know the source for the original. But what about the copies?

  • Are these forgeries made by one person? 

  • Or is it a pattern sold and then stitched by people who love a pseudo-folk-art look?

We need some crowd sourcing on these questions.
  • Have you ever made one of these?

  • Where did the pattern come from? 

I've looked and cannot find a similar pattern for sale now, used or new. My friend Bettina remembers it as a commercial pattern from the 1980s but....

Looking forward to the comments.