QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT By Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman Above: Moda's Morris Earthly Paradise

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Morris Hexathon 12: Hampton Court

Morris Hexathon 12: Hampton Court by Becky Brown

12: Hampton Court by Ilyse Moore

This week's hexie, a star inside a star, is named Hampton Court for the current location of the Royal School of Needlework, another William Morris legacy.

Hampton Court Palace in London.
The 500th anniversary of this Tudor castle was celebrated in 2014. It has long been the home of an impressive tapestry collection from Brussels, commissioned by King Henry VIII.

The Great Hall with the Abraham Tapestries
"This morning, as it is fresh and fair after the rain, I am going to throw dull care away and have a holiday, to wit I am going to Hampton Court by myself to look at the tapestries and loaf about the gardens." 
William Morris letter, possibly to Georgiana Burne-Jones, 1887.
Elephants in the Story of Abraham wearing 
tapestries with a double star---tapestry in a tapestry

The Royal School did not begin in such elegant apartments.The School of Art Needlework opened in 1872 in rooms above a shop on Sloane Street with several goals: employing women in meaningful work, upgrading the art of embroidery and reviving historical embroidery techniques. William and Jane Morris and other members of the firm were supporters of the goals and the organization. Morris and Company became suppliers of patterns and materials. 

Show room featuring articles for sale

The School became Royal when Queen Victoria granted Patronage in 1875.

"The designers at work making the fabric."

A star inside a star.
This week's pattern has four templates: 
1 hexagon, 2 diamonds and 1 triangle.
You may think there are too many dang pieces. Scroll down for an alternate block.

Pattern for an 8" Hexagon
(4" sides)
 To Print:
  • Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11". 
  • Click on the image above. 
  • Right click on it and save it to your file. 
  • Print that file out 8-1/2" x 11". The hexagon should measure 4" on the sides
  • Adjust the printed page size if necessary.
  • Add seams when you cut the fabric.

A version probably made from the 
Kansas City Star pattern, about 1935.

It's BlockBase #257, a pattern found in 20th-century quilts, published and named several times in the 1930s.

Names include Ozark Diamonds and Ozark Star from the Kansas City Star, which also called it Ma Perkins Flower Garden.
[Ma Perkins was the lead character in a radio soap opera---we are not exploring Ma or the Ozarks in this series so we will let it all go at that.]

Designer Eveline Foland's 1931 pattern in the Star.

Carrie Hall's interpretation of Foland's block from the Spencer Museum
collection at the University of Kansas---
accurate down to the stripes called for.

Feel free to redraw this block, changing the number of pieces from 37 to 25 by eliminating the star in the center.

Here is an alternate block for Hampton Court. To make it
print the pattern below. If you are using rulers or pre-cut templates:
The yellow hexagon finishes with 2" sides.
The green diamond finishes with 2" sides.

One More Inspiration
Quilt from about 1870
from dealers Woodard & Greenstein,
published in an old Quilt Engagement Calendar

The Royal School of Needlework continues to offer classes and shows. Visit to see the palace, the school, the tapestries and their special exhibitions.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Calli's Question: Endless Chain

Calli writes:
"I spent a weekend with friends and we enjoyed seeing a lovely antique collection of a friend's mother. I loved this quilt but am stumped by the pattern. Can you identify it? Also can you see fabrics well enough to roughly date the quilt?"
It's in BlockBase as #2716 with two names...

Grandma Dexter's pattern---1930s

Crazy Star from Grandma Dexter and Endless Chain from the Alice Brooks/Laura Wheeler pattern syndicate,both from the 1930s.

I had photos of a couple of other examples that look, like Calli's, to be from the 1930s or '40s. Those multicolor prints with white as a neutral are typical 1930-1960 style.

Here's an ad for the Laura Wheeler pattern from the early 1930s:
"The quilt Endless Chain means endless fun for you who piece it. Gay scraps are perfect for this...simple to join. Here's an old favorite that's favored today!"

(I wouldn't agree with any of those statements except for the one about scraps.)

A third vintage example.

It's a great pattern except for the part about 12 seams meeting in the center (endless fun!) but if you like a piecing challenge BlockBase will print it out for you any size you like.

Calli drew it up herself for paper piecing. She sent a picture of two blocks done in thirties repro prints.

Nice centers!
She won't have to be appliqueing a circle over those.

You could also buy the pattern Modern Prism from Zen Chic---
A slight adaptation to accommodate challenging centers. 

A fourth vintage example

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I forgot something-the bird

Block signed by H. Coates perhaps.

Remember the post on this pattern,
a coxcomb variation (App Enc #43.78)?
The topic was technically the eagles in the border but I got distracted
by that little reverse applique heart in the flourish in the corner.
See the post here:

I found some more with that flourish....This one dated 1860.

Quilt made for Daniel Hitt Kincheloe Dix, a Methodist Circuit Rider.
 Date-inscribed 1860,
made in Western Virginia (now West Virginia). 
From the WV Project and the Quilt Index.

By Frances Gossett, Michigan Project

Attributed to Ellen Lewis Bruell Cash
Mcminn County Living Heritage Museum
Another Quilt Index Photo, this one from the Tennessee project.

Once I saw this Tennessee version I realized that if you wanted to fill up the
block you'd better add a bird in the corner opposite the flourish.

Three very similar quilts with very similar birds

Ad from Laura Fisher's shop in the Clarion in 1999

The 1988 Quilt Engagement Calendar pictured
this one from Stella Rubin's shop.

So if you were inclined to make this quilt you might
make do with this pattern above that I Photoshopped together.

Detail of Cranberries & Cardinals by Jean Stanclift

I also remembered we've done a book with a similar pattern in it. Jean has an antique quilt in this design and did a terrific interpretation of it.

There seems to be no end of the stuff you could add to the basic pattern.

The basic pattern. A Four Block from Buckboard Antiques.

Jean's border

But since it's Linda's birthday week let's focus on the birds.

Buy the book Cranberry Collection by me and Karla Menaugh with
Jean's quilt pattern in it here at my Etsy shop

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Morris Hexathon 11: Merton Abbey

Morris Hexathon 11: Merton Abbey by Ilyse Moore

Again we have a tessellation---one pattern piece---a triangle.

Merton Abbey by Becky Brown

The triangular pieces are flipped to get the rotating star, a sort of a mill wheel. I named it Merton Abbey for a mill on the Wandle River south of London.

The millhouse and wheel at Merton Abbey

The heart of a mill is the wheel, and the mill at Merton was the heart of the Morris enterprises for sixty years.In 1881, William Morris purchased this old textile factory. He'd decided that he had to weave, dye and print his own fabrics.

As in everything that interested him, he intended to master traditional techniques.He needed a mill for a traditional power source. Because he believed in preservation he bought one in need of rehabilitation rather than building a new operation, planning to "resuscitate the local industry in one of these beautiful villages."

In 1940 Liberty and Company bought Merton mills, which they operated until 1972. The mill wheel still functions and a good day to visit is on a day when the shops are open.

Woman hand weaving carpet at the Merton Abbey mill.

Detail of a carpet from the Merton Abbey works.

In an 1884 letter to The Century magazine Morris explained his artistic philosophy at Merton:
I have tried to produce goods which should be genuine as far as their mere substances are concerned...tried, for instance, to make woolen substances as woolen as possible, cotton as cottony as possible, and so on; have used only the dyes which are natural and simple, because they produce beauty almost without the intervention of art....
Detail of a tapestry woven at the Morris works at Merton Abbey,
 designed by Edward Burne-Jones and John Henry Dearle.

The warp threads are cotton, the weft silk and wool; 
the dyes natural indigoes, madders and other vegetable colorings.

The Strawberry Thief from 1884 was one of the chintzes
printed at the Abbey.

Block Printing yardage by hand at Merton Abbey
The yardage above may be a first step in printing the Strawberry Thief.

Morris's daughter May remembered visiting "the long rickety printing shed to see where the handblocks were pressed and hammered on the chintz bit by bit with soft precision."

This design doesn't seem to have been published with a name so it has no BlockBase number.
Cut 6 of the triangle then flip the pattern over and cut 6 more.

A triangle cut in half

Pattern for an 8" Hexagon
(4" sides)

To Print:
  • Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11". 
  • Click on the image above. 
  • Right click on it and save it to your file. 
  • Print that file out 8-1/2" x 11". The hexagon should measure 4" on the sides
  • Adjust the printed page size if necessary.
  • Add seams when you cut the fabric.
Firecracker from The Quilt Room
A contemporary version for a Jelly Roll.

Another option---if you want to deal with 12 seams
meeting in the center!
An old reliable solution to that problem is to stick 
a circle in the middle to cover any seam malfunctions.

For example: Endless Chain, BlockBase #272, which is similar.

The Wandle River at Merton.

One More Inspiration

Quilt by Angeline Paralee Hambleton Smith (1871-1949) 
About 1930. Palo Pinto County, Texas.
Collection: The Briscoe Center
University of Texas at Austin
Quilt Index picture.