Sunday, December 30, 2012

Textile History: Peacock Alley

I've indexed pieced patterns and I've indexed applique but I am not going to index chenille bedspread patterns.
This may be due to childhood trauma. We slept under these hand-tufted bedspreads.
1) They were scratchy, part of the trauma
2) They were an attractive nuisance, so to speak, the tufts just begging to be pulled out while one listened to the radio.
3) One got yelled at for pulling out the tuft---more trauma.
A more pleasant childhood memory is
driving by roadside bedspread stores.

These retail establishments were everywhere south of Cincinnati.

There were commercial establishments like motels and trading posts that sold the spreads and also individual vendors. One of my favorite photos can be found in the Georgia Virtual Vault
A small independent shop.

The making and sellings of these hand-tufted bedspreads has been documented in Georgia, the heart of the craft.
Catherine Evans Whitener is credited with the revival of the old candlewicked spread and turning it into a cottage industry.

Highway 75 is recalled as Peacock Alley because of the many
bedspreads in that design in the roadside shops.

There are numerous surviving examples

They made robes too.


There were other patterns

Just crying out for an index.

Click on these links for more information


And click here to see Carma's vintage chenille cakes---edible I believe. (But I am easily fooled when it comes to food.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Morris Apprentice Prints & Sources

Morris Housetop Detail
by Roseanne Smith
For my new Morris Apprentice reproduction line for Moda I used prints designed by Henry Dearle.
Detail of Seaweed
Roseanne is using the Damask Black colorway for her sashing
and the Fennel Green colorway in the blocks
Dearle designed many repeating patterns for the Morris Company in his role as Art Director. Here are the sources for two from the Morris Apprentice collection.
"Seaweed" was originally designed for wallpaper, like most of the other prints in this collection of cottons for quiltmakers.

"Seaweed" is the pattern that Britain's Royal Mail chose to represent Dearle for this year's 150th anniversary stamp collection honoring Morris and Company.

See Dearle's original painting for the pattern, which is in the collection of the Huntington Library by clicking here:
"Tomtit" is a medium-scale print with a graceful diagonal repeat.
It comes in four colorways.
The print, also originally wallpaper, is named for the small birds. Tom Tit is a variety of the tit bird family, which includes the titmouse and chickadee. Tom Tits are stocky, social birds with small beaks. Here they seem to be perching on giant wild rose bushes.
Another version without the birds is called Sweet Briar, illustrated here in the design magazine, the Studio Yearbook for 1907.
In the left hand block "Tomtit" in Kelmscott Blue #8242-12
A snapshot of Roseanne's housetop-style log cabin so far.

Monday, December 24, 2012

A Morris Mini and a Free Label

Christmas Star
by Georgann Eglinski
Each of the seven prints in my new Morris Apprentice reproduction collection was designed by J.H. Dearle around the turn of the last century. Dearle was a versatile designer, creating pattern for glass, wovens and printed wallpapers. He did printed cottons but many of the designs had origins in other media. Below are details about three of the prints that you can find in a seasonal red. (We call it Red House Red after a William Morris home.)
"Tulips" in Red House Red
Georgann fussy cut the Tulips for her Christmas star mini. The stars are 6".
"Tulip" comes in five colorways. Dearle designed the print for woven wool yardage, dated by Linda Parry as 1895-1900. (See more about Parry's index at the bottom of this post.)
Those tulips are just the kind of flower Dearle loved for the gardens in his tapestries. The above detail is from one of the Holy Grail tapestries.
See a reproduction of a Dearle tapesty "Greenery" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's website here:
Click on full-screen and then drag around and enlarge to see the detail.
Georgann fussy cut a vine from the "Foliage" print for her border.

"Foliage" also comes in five colorways. This pattern was designed by Dearle as wallpaper. The Victoria and Albert Museum has a sample from a wallpaper book which they date as 1899. See the paper here:

We've colored the Foliage print in monochromes and low-contrast shades so it makes a great background as well as a border. One of my sewing groups is finishing up a group project using the light green (8245-18 Sage Green) as a background in all the blocks.
We are auditioning (I think) the red Foliage for a final border here.

Georgann saved the triangles left over from the stars and made other mini.
With the "Artichoke" print for the border.
"Artichoke" is another Dearle design for wallpaper, registered in 1897. It really reflects his change from the Morris idea of medieval tapestry design in formal repeats to more organic Art-Nouveau-like flora with lots of curvy tendrils.
Artichoke is the largest and showiest piece in this collection and comes in six colorways.
We also used it as the border in the Morris Apprentice quilt for the Moda project sheet. It will be fun to see how quilters use this spectacular print.
See the free quilt pattern here at the Moda website:
Here's a free quilt label for a Morris mini or full-size project. You can print it onto prepared fabric with your desktop printer by clicking on the picture. Or click here to see a PDF.
I modified a design from the Morris Company's catalog in the early twentieth century. The frame is one of the woodblock printed borders they were famous for.
Linda Parry's book William Morris Textiles is the standard index for textiles from Morris and Co.
It was published in 1985 by Viking Penguin.

It's available as a used book rather inexpensively.