Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Civil War Reunion: Just Squares

Roseanne Smith has finished a top made from the Civil War Reunion collection that's been in quilt shops for a few months. 
Ladies' Auxiliary
Roseanne Smith
74" x 88"
The quilt has a really rich madder tone, very much in keeping with the colors used in the Civil War era. For the Civil War Reunion theme we are calling it Ladies' Auxiliary, remembering all the women's groups that kept the memory of the war alive for generations.

Women's group dedicating a memorial at Gettysburg about 1930.
Photo from the Library of Congress.

Roseanne started with small packets of 2-1/2" squares we handed out at fall market last year. She added more squares cut from 2-1/2" Jelly Roll strips and some white prints from her stash.

Here's a block, 5 x 5. Twenty-five squares finishing to 2"  = a 10" finished block.
I see she didn't like this arrangement though and reversed the shading so there are more lights than darks in her finished quilt blocks (13 lights, 12 darks per square). There are 20 blocks.

She set it with the plum colorway of the two large prints.

The paisley (8187-17)  is called Women's Relief Corps.
She cut these 10-1/2" squares for alternate blocks.

The stripe (8186-17) is called Decoration Day.
She cut the stripe 9-1/4" and mitered the border.

Diagram drawn in EQ7.

I'm afraid a lot of the big prints are already sold out.
But we'll have another Civil War reproduction in shops early next year. Look for 1862 Battle Hymn in January, 2012.

Next year's line will recall the 150th anniversary of the War's first full year, the year Julia Ward Howe published The Battle Hymn of the Republic. Muted colors recall the mood of mourning and prints are named for battles in that very sad year when North and South realized the War might drag on and on.

See a preview of 1862 Battle Hymn here. The sales reps should be bringing it around to shops for pre-orders any day. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Every Early Repro Collection Needs...

Every Early Reproduction Collection Needs... a white ground chintz.

The document print is at the top,
 the reproduction from Lately Arrived from London at the bottom.

Chintzes, large scale cotton florals originally printed in India were a fashion rage from the 17th through the early 19th centuries.

Nineteenth-century white ground chintzes often survive
as Broderie Perse designs in American applique quilts.

Annie Righton Smith, Smithsonian American Art Museum.
 Gift of Patricia Smith Melton 1998.149.19

Cut-out chintz or Broderie Perse quilt from an online auction.
Notice the free form stars scattered around the images cut from white ground chintz.

White-ground chintz border

Reproduction quilt top by Roseanne Smith
Roseanne's quilting this top now.

These splashy prints were popular for interior decorating but also for men's and women's clothing.

The Netherlands was one of the few European countries that permitted free trade in chintzes. Many bold articles of clothing survive there. Above two baby jackets (jakje in Dutch); below two baby caps, the top example a dark ground chintz, the bottom a white ground chintz.

Chintz was fashionable for womens' gowns and men's banyans (lounging robes).

Banyan from Tasha Tudor's collection

Click here and scroll down to see King George IV's white-ground chintz banyan

Read more about the history of chintz
At this blog post MoreWeJAdore:
And this one from TheDreamstress
And a reenactor site:

See more chintz dresses at the Victoria and Albert Museum 

And the Kyoto Costume Institute

And see another post by me about chintz with lotsa links.

Click here to find out how to order a white-ground reproduction from the American Quilt Study Group
And you'd better buy yardage from my Lately Arrived from London collection---yardage in shops soon.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Civil War Survivor

Detail of a signature quilt dated 1862

Quilts reliably attributed to the years 1861-1865 are in short supply. Fabric shortages during the Civil War, the use of quilts by soldiers in camp and hospitals, and confiscation by foraging soldiers reduced the numbers made and those that survived.

Earlier this year Regina wrote with questions about a signature quilt dated 1862, found in a Cape Cod attic and donated to a thrift shop. Someone there recognized its historical value as it was signed by women with old Dutch names familiar to local historians in New York and New Jersey. One block had the town name Nyack, New York, which is north of Yonkers on the west side of the Hudson.


Regina had a question about the unusual pattern. I did find a version in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns,  BlockBase #3760, published about 1910 by Massachusetts pattern merchant Clara Stone under the name Sailor's Joy.

 But Clara Stone's version design is pieced and the Nyack quilt is appliqued in the center.

Regina did some more research on the design and found that quilt historian Susan Price Miller was also interested in the pattern.

Susan Price Miller, detail
Star Signature Quilt

For the American Quilt Study Group's 2010 Study of Star Quilts, Susan reproduced a quilt from her collection dated 1877. At the AQSG web site picturing her quilt she writes:

" The thirty-six 10-inch blocks probably came from northern New Jersey, the home of most of the signers, and were joined with wide sashing a generation later. The center points of the stars are cut away in convex curves, providing space for signatures. I discovered a small group of published examples of similar eight and six pointed stars. All have narrow sashing and borders and were made in the New York/New Jersey area before the Civil War."

Susan's quilt is patterned in the book Stars: A Study of 19th Century Star Quilts, so if you are looking for a Civil War reproduction design consider the star made of teardrop shapes, which can be appliqued or pieced. Click here to find out more about the book.

Regina has published her research on the Nyack quilt at her web site:

The quilt is now in the collection of the Historical Society of the Nyacks and on display. Click here for more information about their new museum.

My favorite book this month is a history of the colony of Nieuw Amsterdam which explains how all those Dutch names came to New York and New Jersey.
See more about Russel Shorto's The Island at the Center of the World by clicking here:

The contrast between the Dutch culture and the English culture that tried to replace it and erase it is fascinating. Another book about Nieuw Amesterdam is Jean Zimmerman's The Women of the House, which focuses on one family and women's lives and rights under Dutch law.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Northern Lily/Southern Rose Block 6

Dixie Rose by Ilyse Moore

The sixth pattern in the Northern Lily/Southern Rose pattern is a Southern rose.

Dixie Rose by Susan Stiff

Detail of Dixie Rose quilt
 made by Sarah Williams,
Anson County, North Carolina, before 1860
The North Carolina quilt project found two examples of this pattern in their search for regional quilts, both made prior to the Civil War. The name Dixie Rose had not been published until their 1988 book, but that was the name that apparently had been handed down in one of the families. Note the use of paisley shapes for the leaves in this one.
See pages 82 and 140 of the North Carolina Quilts book by Ellen Fickling Eanes, et al.

And see the full quilt at the Quilt Index here:

This block was in a North Carolina sampler dated 1855, made for Laura Brown McCallum.
See the full quilt at the Quilt Index by clicking here:

Judy Davis did a Dixie Rose for my Civil War Women book using paisleys.

The name Dixie Rose has been a part of Southern imagery since the War. Augusta Kortrecht wrote two popular girls' books Dixie Rose and A Dixie Rose in Bloom in the early 20th century, and O. Henry wrote a story called the Rose of Dixie. A websearch for the words reveals information such as one Dixie Rose Lester (born 1913) is buried in Paulding County, Georgia. You'll see a few recent birth announcements of 21st-century girls named Dixie Rose.

Dixie Rose by Barbara Brackman
I have all my applique blocks done now and I am thinking of a set.
Possibly side-by-side to make a wall hanging.

Brenda Papadakis included the Dixie Rose (at a tiny scale) in her Dear Hannah pattern several years ago.

Here's Susan's version of the finished Northern Lily/Southern Rose sampler,
 done in Civil War Reunion fabrics and Moda Bella Solids.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dogtooth Stars How-To

Nineteeth-century quilters often free-cut stars for applique. The maker of this New Jersey album pictured in an online auction appliqued stars over the seam intersections. 

The quilt looks to be about 1840-1860.

Spiky Stars by Deb Rowden, 2009

Deb Rowden interpreted an antique quilt for the American Quilt Study Group's Red and Green study a few years ago, appliqueing 16 free-cut stars just as the maker of her inspiration quilt had done. This old-fashioned technique allows you to create an impulsive look that is quite refreshing in our era of templates. See her inspiration at Stella Rubin's online shop.

These stars all begin with a circle. Determine what size you want your finished star to be and cut a circle 3/8" larger or so. This is a great use for the Go!Baby Cutter so you might want to cut a bunch of 5" circles. In the past I used a jar lid for a template.

We'll cut an 8-pointed star first. Fold the circle in half and then half again, etc. till you have it folded into a pie-shaped piece that shows 1/8th of the circle. Just like cutting paper snowflakes.

Press it so the creases are really in there.
Before you unfold it take a scissors and snip it in the creases.

Use a sharp scissors and snip through all the layers right in the creases.
The longer your slash the spikier the points on your finished stars.

Open up your circle.
Baste it or glue it to the backround.

Create the star points by folding under those edges. Do not trim them. Fold them under and applique them down.

You can be as precise or spontaneous as you like.

You can also make a six pointed star.

I reverse appliqued a hole in the center. You can layer circles on top of the star or do reverse applique.
Notice the shadow of the folded-under points above. That's usually not a problem. My imitation chrome orange fabric is pretty thin.

The only difference in creating a six pointed star is in your initial folding of the circle. Fold it into sixths instead of eighths.

And then there is the five-pointed Betsy Ross star.
American children are taught to cut five-pointed stars with the legendary story of Betsy Ross cutting one for George Washington and the first American flag. Historical bunk, but a fun way to learn to cut a five-pointed star. Most of us forget immediately.

For a five-pointed star:

Again: Begin by folding the circle in half.

Then fold a piece over that is twice as wide as the section that is behind.
The proportions here are 1:2. The pinkish shape is twice as wide as the red shape visible here.

Fold the smaller flap backwards.

This works better if you open it up before you slash it.
You'll see you have an extra line in the creases.

Ignore the extra crease.
Slash down the correct 5 creases.

The deeper the slash the sharper the points.
Fold under the points and hand applique.

In this block dated 1863 the maker laid a red five-pointed star atop a blue five-pointed star to get a 10-pointed star. There are many possibilities.....

See this great use of the free-cut star in another quilt from Stella Rubin by way of the Selvage Blog: