Saturday, February 26, 2011

Dot Cutters

News From Dotland

Those of us enrolled in the Karla Menaugh school of applique have long used removable office dots for the templates for our circles.

Stick the dot on the back of the fabric.
Cut out the fabric with a small seam allowance.
Glue the fabric over the dot, getting a nice round circle.
Applique by machine or hand.
Cut out back of dot.
Remove paper.
Uh OH!
Office dots, even the removable kind are too sticky.

I've been thinking. What is going on in the scrapbooking world that could help? I went shopping.

Here's what I found.

A Fiskars Squeeze Punch that cuts 1" circles.
There are plenty of other circle cutters out there, but this one seems to be easier on the hands.

Multiple dots cut out of freezer paper.
Now I can iron them on the back of the fabric and remove them easier.

I have to confess that my major hopes were dashed, however. I thought this might cut fabric but--- No Way. I tried fused fabric, I tried fabric with freezer paper on it. It just isn't sharp enough.

But I'm happy with freezer paper dots. There is no stopping me now.

The next shopping expedition:
A paper cutter to cut out 1-1/2" hexagons.

And if you got a ginormous dot cutter you could do snowglobes

Or anything....

Read more about Karla's machine applique techniques in our book
Susan McCord, which you can buy from the Pickledish store at the Kansas City Star website.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Stars Out of Control Part 2

These stars that cover the whole quilt top often work really well.
Even when the sewing is a bit problematic the graphic impact saves the quilt.

You can see why everybody wants to make one---at least one.

When the graphics work they are impressive.
But sometimes stitchers bite off more than they can chew.

I showed seven-pointed stars in an earlier post.
Click here:

It's surprising how common seven-pointed stars are.

The six-pointed stars seem to have been planned,
as there's a long tradition of six-pointed stars.

Here's one from about 1840.
She might have planned it as a seven pointed star.
And here's the extra point.

The one-pointed star?

There's so much that can go wrong.

From the collection of the American Folk Art Museum.
See information about their current exhibits here:

This one belongs to Deb Rowden.
 It's the star (so to speak) of her collection of
Thrift Shop Quilts.
See her blog Thrift Shop Quilts by clicking here:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Civil War Reproduction Prints

Ann Kimble showed me her paper pieced medallion top
made with precuts of my Civil War Crossing prints for Moda.

I love how she fussy cut the stripes.

This collection of reproduction prints came out in 2009. 
We know it takes a while to do these hexagon quilts.

See more of Ann's patterns for paper piecing by clicking here:

Annette Chavez has just finished her version of the vase and flowers from the "Frost on the Fern" quilt in Barb Adams's and Alma Allen's When The Cold Wind Blows. The toile background is fabulous. The whole thing is fabulous. She says she is going to call it "Toil on Toile".

My favorite part: She used a reproduction red from Civil War Homefront for the vase.

I do a Civil War reproduction collection every year or so. There are common shades between them so you can build a stash of tans, reds, blues, browns, etc with print styles such as paisleys, stripes, foulards and patriotic prints.

The star print and others are from the
 last three Civil War reproduction collections I've done
with the Union print in Civil War Reunion.

The precuts for the 2011 line Civil War Reunion are in the shops now and the yardage should be out in February with more reds, browns, blues and a great eggplant purple.
One more reason to be glad that February only has 28 days.

And see this Jacks quilt top from the 2010 collection Civil War Homefront at the Quilt Hollow blog.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Name on the Quilt

A few months ago the editors at The Quilt Life Magazine asked me:
What was the most surprising thing I've found out in quilt research?
I had to think for a while and I decided the answer:  
I've been most surpised by the differences between what we call a 19th-century quilt design and what the quiltmakers called it back then.

What would you call the pattern pictured above?

This quilt from the collection of the Shelburne Museum confirms a name I probably would use for this pattern. Another name I'd use would be Democrat Rose.

We don't know much about pattern names before 1890 when magazines and quilt pattern companies really began to publish them as a way to sell patterns. But some earlier quiltmakers like Charlotte A. Raynor actually recorded the name on the quilt.

Most of the examples I've seen over the years, however, do not confirm my idea of what the pattern is called. The Arizona Quilt Project found a similar quilt to the one above. The maker Sarah Gear appliqued her name and the words "Odd Fellows Rose" in the border. (See their book Grand Endeavors, page 187 for a photo of the quilt.)

How about an indigo star like the block above?
The Illinois Quilt Research Project 
found a quilt assembled  from old blocks
 like this one. In the border is appliqued:
I don't know of any other patterns named for Andrew Jackson. This might be the only one.

For a picture, see page 60 in the Illinois project book: History From the Heart

I might call this pattern Missouri Rose or Love Apple or Pomegranate.
On the reverse of this one is inked:
Mississippi Beauty
Judith Connor's Quilt. Presented by Jane Shelby,
Feb the 10, 1855

The quilt is now in the Winedale Collection at the University of Texas.
Click here to see the file in the Quilt Index with a photo of the quilt.

And here's
"The Peony and Prairie Flower"
by Parnell Grumley, dated 1847,
in the Shelburne collection.
The block might be the peony,
the border the prairie flowers.

How about this pattern?
I really don't have a name for it
because I don't think I've ever seen it before.

Clarissa Strong did us a favor when she created the border in 1854, telling us it's "The Indiania Fancy Quilt." The quilt is in the collection of the Indiana State Museum. Read more about their collection at the WomenFolk webpage by clicking here:

Years ago I saw an unpublished quilt in this pattern. Badly burned, it's fortunate that it survived at all. The applique pattern is one we'd call Prince's Feather---or is it Princess Feather? It really doesn't matter, because on the face of the quilt it says: Kossuth's Feather

Lajos Kossuth was an extremely popular figure in the 1850s, a Hungarian political activist intent upon overthrowing the rule of the Austrian Emperor in his homeland. In exile, Kossuth traveled the world raising funds for his revolution. A magnetic speaker and handsome man, he toured America 1851 and 1852.

Like all publicity-conscious revolutionaries, Kossuth wore a dramatic costume. His was topped with a large hat and a larger feather. The Kossuth feather became a fashion statement. I've never seen another reference to the revolutionary name for a pattern we identify with royalty.

Read more about the history of the pattern at Karen's blog posting:

And click here to see a pieced quilt with the pattern name "Ladies Ramble" on it at the Bergen County (N.J.) Historical Society:
Read more about it here by scrolling down:

So when people ask me what is the "correct" name for a quilt pattern I just have to say: "There is no correct name for a quilt pattern." That surprised me when I figured it out years ago. Now I just shrug and say, "Whatever you want to call it."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Does This Stripe Make My Quilt Look Fat?

Strips and stripes from various online auctions and other digitial sources

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ditsies and Mela Koehler

Brenda and her mom have finished the top they made from a ditsy floral pattern I showed last year.

I'd seen a kit in an online auction and showed it when I was discussing ditsies---vague florals of basic shapes. The pattern was easy to draft (that's the great thing about ditsies-there's nothing to them) and they made it in hand-dyed fabrics with various black batiks for backgrounds.

A very modern looking quilt in the color scheme and in the simplicity of the floral.
You can follow her progress at her Scraps And Strings blog:

 A hundred years ago these simple florals (textile designers now call them ditsy prints) were a keynote in modern design.

Artist Mela Koehler often featured simple florals in her illustrations of fashionable women. Here's a modern floral on a period costume in a postcard from about 1910.

My favorite Mela Koehler illustration.
Two dachshunds and a rainstorm

Melanie Leopoldina Köhler-Broman was born in Vienna, Austria on November 1885. As an art student in Vienna between 1905 and 1910 she was a student of Kolomon Moser, one of the stars of the Vienna Workshop movement (the Wiener Werkstätte.) Her illustrations of fashionable women and children became popular postcards and fashion designs. She was interested in textile designs, as you can see in her postcard illustrations, and also designed prints for the Workshop. She died in Stockholm on December 15, 1960.


Translation of the German ö in her name causes numerous spellings of Köhler. She signed most of her postcards Mela Koehler but some have her married name Mela Koehler Broman. Another spelling is Koeler. She also signed some Mela Koehler Wien, which means Mela Koehler Vienna.

She often included dogs with her fashionable women.
Same storm, different pet.

And here's a little eccentricity from Vienna before World War I,
Taking your pet pig out for a glass of champagne.

Original Mela Koehler postcards in good condition are worth over $100.
I'm keeping my eye out at the flea market. 

Oh, we were talking about ditsies weren't we. Read more about them in this post that inspired Brenda.