QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT
Monday, September 28, 2009
I hope you noticed the full-page advertisement for my Civil War Home Front reproduction collection for Moda in the October Quilters Newsletter. It features a reproduction quilt that makes the most of the stripes and paisleys in the collection.
We are selling kits for this quilt, which is the result of a collaboration by five people. One is the anonymous maker of the original star quilt, in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum (#1997.007.0644). See it by clicking here:
The pattern for the quilt will be in the Dec/Jan 2009 issue of Quilter's Newsletter magazine. And the bolts should be in the quilt shops in late November.
Hickory Hoops stripe above and Cracker Pie paisley. Below a woman with the ideal silhouette for Civil-War-era fashion.
I named the individual prints in this collection for the make-do substitutes that Southern women came up with when they lost their access to factory and imported goods. The stripe in the edge triangles is called Hickory Hoops, reminding us that many rural women used wooden slats for home-made fashion underpinnings to support skirts like the one above. The paisley in the border is Cracker Pie, a recipe for a fake apple pie using seasoned crackers as the filling. Click on the link for a World War II era recipe for cracker pie, an idea that may have originated before the Civil War.
Friday, September 18, 2009
A few days ago the little sister of my much-missed old friend Marie Shirer brought a great quilt to my class. Carolyn had inherited the quilt above from her parents. Her father's mother's sister (Carolyn and Marie's great-grand aunt) was Hannah Headlee, an applique quilter extraordinaire.
Hannah was a painter who did watercolors and china painting. One of my favorite quilts in the whole world is her Iris Garland, which is now in the collection of the Kansas Museum of History. Click here for more information: http://www.kshs.org/cool2/coolquil.htmIris Garland by Hannah Haynes Headlee, Topeka, Kansas, about 1935. Collection of the Kansas Museum of History.
Cranes by Hannah Haynes Headlee, Topeka, Kansas, about 1934
The Peacock by Hannah Haynes Headlee, Topeka, Kansas, about 1932. Collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.Marie, Carolyn and I had lost track of the Peacock and I told Carolyn I would look around for it. I found it in the IQSC, a good home.
See their picture of it here: http://www.quiltstudy.org/includes/photos/quilt_database/large/2005_024_0001.jpgYou'll notice Hannah's unique border style---sort of a gothic swag.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Karla picked out trees and birds from antique quilts and I drew them up. She designed the quilt, machine appliqued the trees and wrote directions for her techniques. I wrote about trees. My favorite quote is one from Willa Cather:
"I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do."
Photographer Aaron Leimkuehler has built a wall that we can pin the quilts to rather than hanging them from a rod. Then editor Jenifer Dick and Aaron steamed all the wrinkles out that the poor quilt acquired in its FedEx trip across the country. We can make the quilts look remarkably flat----not that Megan's quilt WASN'T flat. My job was to sit in a chair and say---"A little up on the left."
Now that I have insulted everyone –Megan by implying her quilt wasn't flat, and Jenifer and Aaron by posting photos of their rears I will close for the day by telling you to click here to see more about Juniper and Mistletoe:
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Britain's Textile Society is hosting a conference dedicated to the work of Thomas Wardle September 25-27 timed to coincide with the exhibition: Dye, Print, Stitch: Textiles by Thomas and Elizabeth Wardle at Macclesfield Silk Museum in Cheshire. Click here to read more about the conference:
The Morris prints are so great (No thanks to me---thank the Morris Workshop artists) that simple patchwork is quite effective. Here's one by Linda Frost just using the strips.
Friday, September 11, 2009
"My nephew recently handed me a very old primitive box with a sliding lid. He had cleaned out my sister's house after her death and found this box with a note inside from my grandmother: 'For Joyce'.
Inside were some completed and some unfinished quilt blocks which I remembered from age three in 1933. I had loved this project which my mother was working on for me. She died when I was six, and everything disappeared. Occasionally through my life I have wondered about that quilt and was blown away when I opened the box. Many of the paper patterns were there also, so I was able to identify her source. Unfortunately all my searching has not turned up the pattern. I would so love to find it."
Because she had some paper patterns she knew the source was the newspaper column in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in the fall of 1933 under the name Prudence Penny's Patchwork Zoo. Each pattern is signed Buren.
I don't have all the patterns but I did have an overview sketch. The first book I wrote Creature Comforts was based on the Patchwork Zoo. Here's a quilt my co-author Marie Shirer made from some of the patterns. We adapted animals from the original sketch and used the same idea to draw more. Marie and I didn't think to use paper piecing in that book (nobody had invented it yet) but they'd all make great paper-pieced designs.
Our book is way out of print, but it's inexpensive. See more here:
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
I took the snapshots above of Mary Abbot Williams's quilt at spring Quilt Market. She made it to commemorate Quaker safe houses on the Underground Railroad. There are names on the doors.
Patricia Turner sent a photo of her sister Ruth Turner Carroll's quilt.
"I curated an exhibit on African-American quilts at a historic house in Sag Harbor, NY (I’m from there) this summer. Because of Sag Harbor’s 19th century free black community, there are lots of anecdotal evidence re: Underground Railroad. I asked my sister who has become an avid quilter in her retirement to make a quilt using Facts and Fabrications that could be displayed during the exhibit and then raffled off. I figured it would give me a good springboard for the inevitable quilt code stories that would be mentioned by patrons and I wanted a surefire way to minimize disappointment when I talked about the flaws in [the quilt code stories.]
People would ask and then I’d explain and show them Ruthie’s quilt as an example of the kind that could be made to celebrate the courageousness of the fugitives and conductors who participated in the UGRR. No patrons walked away distressed and the ultimate winner of the quilt was thrilled to have it. "
Monday, September 7, 2009
The Prince Regent set the tone. He was quite a conspicuous consumer. To see one of his quilted chintz banyans (a sort of bath robe) in the collection of the Royal Pavilion Museum click here:
See a waistcoat with a similar print at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
To read more about fashionable cotton prints of the time click here:
And here are sites where you can buy reproductions of the late 18th century chintzes---prices on a scale with Regency-era extravagance though.
You can download a lovely catalog featuring some chintz from the Titi Halle/Cora Ginsburg website
Saturday, September 5, 2009
One of my favorite websites is Flickr's "The Commons", a group of historic photos. Click here to see the Southworth and Hawes set of mid-19th-century pictures of Bostonians, posted by the George Eastman House, a photography museum in Rochester, New York.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Two were by Morris's major design partner John Henry Dearle (1860-1932), who began as an assistant when he was a boy and took over the firm's art direction after Morris's death in 1896. I had originally intended for the designer's name, the design name and date to be printed on the selvage of each piece but we ran out of room. Here are photos of the two in the collection that Dearle designed.
Dearle did many tapestries and carpets. To see one of his collaborations with Morris in the Victoria and Albert Museum click here: