Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Quilting Parties of Questionable Accuracy

The Brothers Assist in the Quilting, Harper's Weekly, 1863

I've been posting about vintage images of quilting parties here and at my 
Civil War Quilts blog.
The wood engraving above seems to represent the end
of the work and the beginning of the supper. 

The cook in the kitchen is one of many women laughing
at the men trying to thread needles. Why they are threading
needles after the quilting is finished I cannot say.
Perhaps they are binding the quilt.

Quilting Party, 1849

The similarities between this 1849 illustration and the 1863 picture
indicate the earlier engraving as a source for the other.
Women are either binding a quilt or the artist knew
very little about how quilts were quilted.

A Gilbert, Leisure Hours, 1890

Gilbert seems to have a good idea of how an 1890 quilt might
look but the finished quilt is more for visual effect than showing
how quilts are made.

The visual effect is always important.
You see a lot more pictures of women pretending
to sew on finished quilts than women actually
sewing patchwork.

Part of the caption here: "The work was tedious, but Argaree and her sister enjoyed working on the project together." (Hey, reporters! Doing dishes is tedious, patchwork is not.)

I couldn't find a picture of the most egregious error in
depicting quiltmaking, which was a late-20th-century Northern Bath
Tissue advertisement where women were quilting
with knitting needles. Here the artist has bowed
to public pressure and put more accurate needles in
their hands. I see the knitting needles are now in the hair.

UPDATE: Alexandra sent a URL to this old ad, it may
be far-fetched but the quilters are holding the right kind
of needles. In the one we are discussing they held knitting
needles. (Blowing one's nose in the quilt! Bad form.)

UPDATE 2: Stephanie saved the old ad. Here are the quilters
poking at a quilt with knitting needles.

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