QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT

Above: Reproduction Print and Document

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pumpkin Patch

Someone asked me about this pattern last year
and I couldn't find it in my Encyclopedia of Applique.
The patterns are categorized by construction
and this is one of the rather unusual designs that
has a large central image with four arms extending out to the corners.

Most applique designs have four elements growing out of the center north, east, south and west
plus four arms extending out to the corners, something I categorized as Four Plus Four...

As in this design numbered 22.41 in the Encyclopedia of Applique called Mexican Rose in the early 20th century pattern catalog from the Ladies' Art Company.


Where they sold it as an applique and a quilting pattern.

The closest thing I can find to the pattern of the day today
is their
Pumpkin
Ladies Art Company #508
My #12.68
It has the same concentric rings in the center with
four arms but little of the grace of the quilts
actually made in that pattern.
Of which I have found many.

Quilt by the exhibitor's great-great-grandmother,
Laura Ellen Davis Coffman, who lived in Salem, Indiana
 See Lisa's blog here:
http://inspiredquilter.blogspot.com/2010/11/quilting-through-ages-antique-quilt.html


There is variety in the centers, flowers, circles and pie crust like shapes

Online auction, possibly last quarter of the 19th century.

Found in the Ohio Quilt Project
The mid-19th century versions
tend to have fancier borders.

The pattern was one of those popular 19th-century designs
that seems never to have been published in the
20th century so it fell out of use.

This one's unusual in the colors reflecting the early 20th century
claret reds and indigo blues
rather than the mid-19th century Turkey red and green.


  You see it as a Four-Block set and as smaller blocks set all over.

The tan was probably once green.

As in this one from the end of the 19th century.


Here's a fabulous mid-century example found in the New York State
Quilt Project. Note the heart shape in the
corner florals.

Similar heart shape in a quilt shown
at the Wisconsin Quilt Museum

And another from an online auction


Here's a 36" block with a fancy shape in the corners.
I guess that many of these floral centers were cut
like a snowflake. Fold a circle of fabric into twelve pie shape pieces.
Then scallop the edge with your scissors
And applique them down.

You do see that pie crust shape too without the corners



Particularly in mid-19th-century album samplers.


I think we should call it Pumpkin.

Read more about the Ladies Art Company at Connie Chung's webpage

Monday, October 28, 2013

Factory Cutaways and Quilts



Quilts grow out of the available fabric. Quiltmakers responded to the arrival of factory-made clothing with new styles made from the factory cutaways. The crazy quilt is one.

This crazy quilt dated 1911 seems to
be made from large velvet pieces, unlikely to be
scraps from family sewing.

Crazy quilts became a fad in the 1880s,
fed by periodicals with instructions and advice.
Advertisers offered packets of silks just for crazy or puzzle quilts.

Here one could buy two pounds of leftover silk for about $1.00.
"Gorgeous Transparent Velvet Assortment"
Also 24 quilt designs.
That may have looked like this.

Crazy quilts in the 1880s and '90s tended to be made of
small, random-shaped pieces of silk built on cotton foundation squares with
a good deal of elaborate embroidery.

Quilt dated 1889 by "Grandma Wise"

Crazy quilt dated 1918

Towards the end of the 19th century and into the 20th, crazy quilts became less elaborate.

 Pieces were often larger, embroidery minimal. Here one can guess that the arc-shaped pieces were also cutaways from a garment construction.

We see the arcs again here.

Related to the crazy quilt is the string quilt, which also
developed about 1880.
String quilts are composed of thin "strings" of
fabric, often clothing-factory leftovers.
String quilts are also pieced over foundations,
but many quilters used newspapers rather than cotton.

Family in front of a string quilt.


There's a fine line between a string quilt and a crazy quilt.


The major difference is in the basic shape. String quilts
feature narrow strips; crazy quilts random shapes.

It's the basic classification problem.
Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?
Depends on your rules.


And how do you know if a quilt is made from factory cutaways? There is rarely a family story attached to these scrappy quilts. Above an early 20th-century top was sold with the history that it was scraps from a "ticking factory."It seems more like to have been a factory that wove cottons or cut them into clothing. It's impossible to know without that story, particuarly if the quilter cut the scraps into squares, rectangles or other
common patchwork shapes.

Family scrap bag or factory cutaways?
One minor clue is the triangles with blunt points.
This one looks like the maker used many of the scraps just
as she found them.

You don't see that blunted, long shape used until the turn of the 20th century


When you see it a lot.


The long triangular shapes are really not a concrete clue.
This fan-like block could be pieced of scraps begged, borrowed and cut up from clothing.

But it is provocative to think about how fabrics sold by 
the pound shaped the look of the quilts.

Ad for remnants in Good Housekeeping magazine in 1924:
"You will be surprised at the splendid value of these bundles. Every bundle a BARGAIN! Remnant bundles of Coloured Art Linen for cushion covers and fancy needlework.."

Friday, October 25, 2013

Houston Quilt Market: My Virtual Booth


My Quilt Market Virtual Booth
to showcase my new Ladies' Album collection for Moda:
Me and my assistant Dottie in a mish-mash of Victorian clutter.




Quilt Market begins today in Houston with Schoolhouse classes.
I won't be there but I always like to plan a virtual booth. My fabric line that Moda is
introducing at Market is called Ladies' Album, a 19th-century reproduction collection
with a focus on bronzey browns, olives and raspberry pinks.


Moda designer Susan Stiff and I came up with this
Ladies' Album design for the line's signature quilt,
right behind Dottie on the couch and the doll on the chair.


Shop owners will be ordering fabric for early 2014 delivery.
 I'll keep you posted on the progress.

The time frame is 1860-1890

The browns tend to be from the greener side of the palette,
an echo of the new dye called Manganese Bronze at the end of the 19th century.
The greens are more olive than blue-green.

Pinks are backgrounds rather than figures.


With dark blues for the dark contrasts.

Denniele Bohannon is working with a Layer Cake of 10" squares
for this spool of curved piecing.

The narrative theme is the 19th-century fashion for albums, both quilted and bound paper. Every home had a table to display the bound albums.







Note the table in my booth full of mementos.

Special show albums were part of the necessary decor.

The 19th-century fashion for bound albums is echoed in signed album quilts.



Reds and tans fill out the color scheme in Ladies' Album.





Thanks for visiting my virtual booth.
I'd invite you in to sit down but there isn't much room.

Update---Here's an actual picture of
the real quilt at the Moda booth at Market.
We have a nautical theme this year.