QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT

QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT By Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman Above: Moda's Morris Earthly Paradise

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Orchard House-Alcott Quilts and Document Prints

If you visit Orchard House, the home of the Alcotts in Concord, Massachusetts, you may
come across one of Abba May Alcott's quilts in the bedrooms.

Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House is
a popular museum.

The museum owns several quilts attributed to Louisa May Alcott's Marmie, Abigail May Alcott. The Quilt Index has photos of Louisa's family quilts documented by the Massachusetts project. These were donated to the museum by Alcott descendents. Some of them qualify Abigail May Alcott as: "Possible quiltmaker/ no solid evidence."

But the quilts are certainly old enough to have been
made by Abigail who was born in 1800 and died in 1877.
These quilts seem to be from the year's of Abba's young womanhood,
raising a family on a limited budget.


Links to the Quilt Index files attributed to Abigail May Alcott:

http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=1D-FC-D10
http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=1D-FC-D11
http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=1D-FC-D12
http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=1D-FC-F6

My latest Moda reproduction collection Old Cambridge Pike pays tribute to the Alcotts and the other New England intellectuals in their circle. Below are three prints named for them.

"Abigail May" is an all-over design, a print that
imitates a woven brocade with an exotic floral and vine.


The document print is the orangey-red at the top above.
The silhouettes are of unknown people
but I imagine them as Bronson Alcott reading his ideas
to Abba while she does her work.

"Orchard" is a small geometric---or are those fruit? It's
the classic mid-century everyday print,
a simple figure in a diagonal, spaced repeat.
The original document print was madder-dyed shades:
brown/black to light red with 
a blue accent.

We did it in three madder shades and a blue ground too.

#8327 "Good Wives" is named for a lesser-known book, a  sequel to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. It's often published in a 2-volume combination with Little Women.

The document print was this heart on a stem.
My scrap was chrome yellow but you often see this print
in madder shades. We did it in colors across the
palette in Old Cambridge Pike.
It's a tiny print, perfect for backgrounds.

I'm using Goodwives as binding right now.

See two other posts about pieces and patterns named for the Alcotts here:

http://barbarabrackman.blogspot.com/2015/12/abba-may-alcotts-garden-path-quilt.html
http://barbarabrackman.blogspot.com/2015/12/wild-oats-quilt-pattern-for-old.html


This old postcard of Orchard House says
"I walked by here Saturday afternoon..."

4 comments:

The Civil War Quilter said...

I love this new line of fabric. Orchard in red background is my favorite. naturally, I had to purchase yardage! :)

janie krig said...

Thanks for the history stories and your fabrics are beautiful.

Tine said...

What a lovely story - and the background makes your fabrics even more interesting. I am used to working with much brighter fabrics - but these are wonderful!! I am tempted to try!

suzanne said...

How nice to see the Alcott quilts, I can just imagine Susan Sarandon making them!
I look forward to the family. A few nice blue backgrounds in there too.