Sunday, April 26, 2015

Alice's Scrapbag: New Repro Prints

Strike-offs for a fall reproduction line:
Alice's Scrapbag
Balmoral Blue shades

Frock pink & Garibaldi Red shades

Most of the prints come from the four-patch below.

Double Four Patch by Alice Browne, age 9 in 1867

This simple quilt is pieced of blocks made from scraps of 
Alice's family's home sewing.

How do I know?

Alice wrote a note stitched to the lower left front in the picture above:
" This quilt was pieced---a complete surprise for my mother---when I was nine years old. Almost every piece in it is from dresses of members of the family."
Alice L. Metcalf 

Alice Lancaster Browne (1858-1929) made the blocks for this quilt as a gift for her mother Catherine Mechling Browne. Alice's father had died in Kentucky during the Civil War, the same year Alice's sister Josephine was born. Soon after her mother was widowed, Alice, sisters and her mother went to live with Catherine's parents in western Pennsylvania.

We can imagine mother Catherine's delight at seeing the neat double four-patches made from prints from the family scrapbag.

A tiny calico

I would bet that Alice's Pennsylvania-German grandmother Anne Eliza Heiner Mechling has something to do with the surprise.

In the 1870s mother, grandmother and three daughters moved to Lawrence, Kansas, my home town. It looks to me like the quilt was set and quilted in the 1870s when Alice was a teenager, probably finished here.

Lawrence in the 1860s with the Bullene store in the center. Kansas State Historical Society

Alice married William Lathrop Bullene when she was about 18. William came to Lawrence, Kansas Territory as a child with his parents in 1857. His father opened a dry goods store, which is still in business here as Weaver's Department Store.

With William Bullene, Alice had two daughters Marguerite and Frederica. The youngest inherited the quilt with the note from her mother attached. Frederica's granddaughter has cared for the quilt into the 21st century.

Alice's in-laws the Bullenes with her youngest daughter 
Frederica the child in the center.

Alice and William divorced after 14 years of marriage. When Alice was 55 she married Brigadier General Wilder S. Metcalf during World War I.

A pink foulard with a textured background---
Probably a dress for Alice or her sisters.
Two reproductions at the bottom.

Alice's  family allowed me to photograph the prints in the quilt. We've chosen several to reproduce in a fabric collection coming out in late summer, 2015.

Alice's Scrapbag

The pink here is a reproduction of the tiny brown calico

Moda's sales reps are showing Alice's Scrapbag now, but the precuts won't be available until August. Here's a sneak peek.

A touch of olive in the reproduction of the brown figure.

Read more about the Bullene family's experience during Quantrill's Raid in the Civil War at this post:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

More Strip Sets at an Angle

Bedquilt made by Sarah K. Headley, date-inscribed 1838,
Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
Collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum
See a larger photo here:

Georgann Eglinski's version for an American Quilt Study Group
project interpreting antique quilts made before 1840.

I showed a strip quilt set an angle in this recent post:

A mid-19th century Flying Geese quilt with the geese
flying northeast.
 You rarely come across a vintage quilt with strips at an angle.

This last quarter of the 19th- century example was at the Kalona Quilt Show a few years ago

Here's a quilt that is pieced of two strips, red solids and a shirting print.

I wonder if the color contrast in the reds
was in the original or there's been some fading.
I'm guessing it was always two shades of red.

The idea of a strip set at a 45 degree angle
is enticing.

I Photoshopped the 19th-century top below
and put it aslant.

And  an early 20th-century diamond strip too

Are they more interesting on the diagonal?

The scarcity of quilts in a diagonal set may be explained by the quilt below.
Diagonals mean bias problems.

20th century strip quilt

But the possibilities make it worth the extra effort, as in
this Photoshopped chintz crib quilt from about 1830.

The original quilt was pictured in an old
Quilt Engagement Calendar

Monday, April 20, 2015

Chelair's Union Blues Kit Quilt

Union Blues by Chelair Etter
Have you seen the ad for my Union Blues kit in the March/April issue of QUILTmania?

Carrie at the Moda blog has pointed out that
there's a typo in Chelair's name

The headline should read "Union Blues Made by Chelair Etter"

Me at market last fall in my virtual booth

Now I know you like to think I sew all these quilts but
I tell you this quilt is beyond my skills.

But not Chelair's. She wears many hats at United Notions
including quiltmaker. Below is a great quilt she made
for the Collections for a Cause line 
Warmth a few years ago

The Union Blues kit is available now. Check at your local shop.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Altered Quilts

Natalie Chanin, Aunt Mag's Chicken Recipe

She's added applique and embroidery to an old quilt.

Natalie Chanin shows these quilts in Alabama Chanin.
See this website:

Natalie Ball and Gina Adams are showing altered quilts in two installations at Johnson County Community College's Nerman Gallery in Kansas City. Both artists derive their inspiration from Native American history.

Two pieces from Natalie Ball's "Mapping Coyote Black."

From an interview by Dianne Carroll: "Coyote is famous, everyone knows from countless oral and recorded stories that Coyote is a trickster. I offer Coyote to viewers as a woman, the avatar of myself as artist."

Detail from Gina Adams's installation "Its Honor Is Here Pledged"

Adams uses a technique similar to Chanin's but appliques letters onto vintage quilts. 

“I have been cutting out the letters of entire broken treaties, pacts written by the U.S. government and signed by Native American tribes.These pacts promised tribes money and power in exchange for the rich lands they had called home for possibly thousands of years."

The installations are on view until May 10th.
Two links:

Mandy Pattullo works on a smaller scale.

You can't have this one because I bought it in her Etsy store.

See her blog here:

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Union Blues & Richmond Reds Ideas for Precuts

My Union Blues collection has been shipped to shops.
Look for yardage at your favorite store.

I've been doing a little sketching in EQ7,
thinking about Moda pre-cuts in the 5" system.

Surely someone's thought of this pattern before

Alternating blocks of rectangles

and four-patches

I thought about combining my two most recent
Civil War reproductions
Richmond Reds and Union Blues.

They both have a good range of darks and lights.

Probably the easiest way to set this would be to
combine the blocks in strips, one strip of rectangles,

one of four patches.

The hardest thing is to get the checkerboard alteration of dark and lights to work by
rotating the blocks on the design wall.

My inspiration was an antique quilt I saw online.

What if you turned the strips on the diagonal?

That's actually the way the vintage quilt was set.
Which makes it pretty wonderful.

And then there's the border on the original.
It's outrageous.

I haven't got a real pattern here. Just some ideas.

Start with squares. Cut some in half

Cut some in quarters
Piece them together.
You'll have to trim the rectangle squares to match the four-patches in size.
Make strips.
Play around.