QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT


Monday, June 21, 2021

1912: The Old Quilt #3

 

1912 Mary Fairs?

Third in a series trying to figure out what Marie Webster was looking at when she began publishing  quilt designs --- her series of "New Patchwork Quilts" at the end of 1911.

One reason there are relatively few cotton quilts in my 1912 dated files is that quilters like Mary were enthused about wool quilts. Her comforter (it isn't quilted) looks to have several pieces made of wool suiting samples cut to rectangular form.

Less embroidery on this one.

And this one. You pulled swatches from a sample book 
of men's suitings (and probably cut more rectangles to match.) 

1919-1920 Suitings

Some times these are called postcard quilts as you could use a regulation postcard for a template.  Thousands of rectangle utilitarian bedcovers were made. It's hard for us to see these as fashionable, but they must have been in 1912. 

1912, China Grove, North Carolina

Made perhaps by people at the China Grove High School.

The embroidery style with linear patterns covering the seams is derived from crazy quilt style, which by 1912 was 30 years old. 

What had started out as a fad in elegant silks about 1883 was by 1912 typically done in wool and wool and cotton blends. Political problems with Chinese imports had made silk relatively expensive and the expansion of ready-made clothing factories made wool and blends an accessible option (particularly cheap if pulled from sample books or obtained as factory cutaways.)

From Betsey Telford-Goodwin's Rocky Mountain Quilts inventory

Embroidery was for the most part rather minimal in these 20th-century crazy quilts.

Although the seam-covering patterns could be quite fancy.

Quilt with label saying it was from Aunt Helen, 1912.
New York project and the Quilt Index.





"1912, Mother"
Related styles included wheels, twenty years later
to become a huge fad in cotton prints.





Cotton wheels on wool and blend backgrounds.

Related to the fan fashion that had thrived since the
1880s.


A few quilters adapted the sampler style to wools as in this 1912
Pennsylvania example from GBBest quilts on Ebay.

Pattern samplers were influenced by the abundance
of catalog and magazine designs. Hearth & Home magazine,
for example, asked readers to send in pieced patterns 
named for their state and state capitols in 1912.

1912, Kansas
One finds fancier embroidery on the redwork quilts,
another fashion begun in the 1880s. These occasionally have patchwork too.




The Nebraska project files show this one in blue,
which was just becoming a popular alternative to
Turkey red embroidery.

Another fashion that might distract one from piecing calicoes:

Cigarette silk premiums from Cindy Brick's Crazy Quilts book

New and old styles on the line at Marie Webster's house,
Indiana Museum of Art

It does seem that Marie Webster with her magazine articles, pattern and kit business and 1915 book really did change quilting, particularly applique, but it took about ten years or more for the style revolution to occur and for the "Old Quilts" to actually become old-fashioned.

7 comments:

  1. I bought a copy of Marie's book but haven't read it yet. The embroidery on those crazy quilts is just amazing! They look like designs today that we select on our machines.

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  2. These are reminiscent of the Crazy Quilt that was given my by Grandma. Hers had lots of embroidery, shattered silks, and men's weight suiting. Or would women have worn that light weight wool too?

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