Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Northern Lily & Southern Rose Block 1

Block #1
by Barbara

Here's the first block in the nine-month block of the month
 I'm doing this year with Moda called Northern Lily, Southern Rose.

I moved my star down a bit to show the fabric with the words "Union".

Susan Stiff designed it with me and made the model.
 She fussy-cut the word Union for the star.

We both used prints from my current Moda Civil War reproduction collection called Civil War Reunion.

 There's no green in that collection so we used a Moda Bella Solid. Susan appliqued hers to a tan print from CW Reunion. I used a monochrome toile-style print from my scrapbag.

Ilyse Moore is making the blocks at 8" and using an updated dusty pink and olive combination.

I chose a federal shield as the central block because I've seen many quilts from the 1860s with that image.

Here are a few antique samplers from online auctions
featuring a shield among other patriotic symbols and a lot of florals.



See the quilt that inspired the Reunion shield at the Quilt Index.org
It is a New Jersey sampler, inscribed in the center, "Presented to Reverend Mr. and Mrs. D.B. Stout by the ladies of Leedsville Dec. 1867."  Reverend Stout was pastor of the Middletown Baptist Church from 1837 to 1875.

Another sampler with a shield, this one from New London, Connecticut

Ask your quilt shop if they are carrying Northern Lily, Southern Rose this year.

And for inspiration a few more shields from vintage folk art and popular culture.

Three stars on this Memorial Day postcard

Diagonal stripes


Stripes going horizontally and vertically in this ink drawing.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Northern Lily & Southern Rose Block of the Month

Northern Lily, Southern Rose
82" x 82"

For the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of America's Civil War I've worked with Moda to do an applique Block of the Month called Northern Lily/Southern Rose

If you went to Quilt Market in the fall you might have noticed the quilt behind the sales reps. We are coordinating it with the reproduction collection Civil War Reunion.

Susan Stiff hand-appliqued the actual quilt.
Here's a snapshot.

I love the idea of two florals representing the North and the South, an image that Lucy Larcom used in an 1854 poem and song called the Kansas Call.

Lucy's name was mispelled on the sheet music
 (there's an M, not an N on the end).

When the Kansas Troubles inspired partisans to move to the Kansas Territory as antislavery or proslavery advocates, Lucy won a contest with a poem to inspire western migration.
Sisters true, Join us too
Where the Kansas flows
Let the Northern Lily bloom
With the Southern Rose

The poem was later set to music.

We can recall her imagery to celebrate the Civil War Reunion after the war.

For this Block of the Month pattern (9 months) I chose nine appliqued blocks drawn from mid-19th-century quilts---a Union shield and eight appliqu├ęd florals. The four roses and four lilies were each regional designs, favorites in New York or Tennessee, Pennsylvania or the Carolinas.

You can buy the pattern through your quilt shop. We are ready to ship it so ask if your shop is participating. If not have them contact their Moda rep.

I'm making one too and I will keep you posted throughout the rest of the year. I'll show you the first block in a few days. If you love to applique you'll enjoy working with these little known traditional blocks.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Red & White Quilts

Here's a virtual show of red and white quilts for those of us who aren't going to New York City this week to see the American Folk Art Museum's Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts

UPDATE on March 29th. Watch this You-Tube video, an interview with curator Elizabeth Warren.

These are mostly copied from online auctions over the past five years or so.

You see red and white quilts dated from about 1840 through the 1920s

People loved that Turkey red plain cotton.
It didn't fade, it didn't bleed.

Well, once in a while you might be sold some fabric falsely advertised as Turkey red. The newer synthetic dyes often faded to peach or tan.

The earlier red and white quilts tend to be red prints

The majority are solids. This is a full-size four-block quilt.

I wonder if this one wasn't red, white and green at some point.

A not so deliberate mistake in the center.

And here's a great one from the cover of an old Coats & Clark pattern booklet.

The real show in New York is up from March 25-30
Here's what they say about it:
For six days in March, the American Folk Art Museum will dramatically transform the Park Avenue Armory’s historic 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall with the installation of 650 red and white American quilts, all of which are on loan from the collection of Joanna S. Rose. It will be the largest exhibition of quilts ever held in the city. As an extraordinary gift to the public, entry to this unprecedented event is free.
Click here:

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cats On Quilts

Appliqued sampler by Susan Rodgers, 1867
Brooklyn, New York
Collection of the Smithsonian Institution

People often write to ask me about symbolism in Civil-War-era quilts. My standard answer is we cannot presume to know what a long-ago quilter was thinking when she made her quilt.

Although there are exceptions....  I came across the quilt above when I was looking for 1860s samplers with patriotic symbols on them. There are several patriotic, Christian, Masonic and other fraternal symbols in Susan Rodgers's 1868 quilt. The meaning of  images like an anchor and a triple link chain (Christian hope and Odd Fellows Fraternity) is easily understandable today.
But I am not enthusiastic about ferreting out symbolism that isn't obvious in today's culture.

This image of cats and birds on Susan Rodgers's quilt probably has no deeper meaning than
"Watch out, birds!"

See more about her quilt by clicking here:

But that darn cat.

Sampler dated 1868 Willimantic, Connecticut from an online auction.

You see him occasionally in quilts from the 1860s.
It's a front view, he has his tail curled around him
and his legs are indicated by two reverse appliqued holes.

Here he is with whiskers from the 1867 Reconciliation quilt by Lucinda Honstain.
It's in the collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum.

Lucinda put two versions of the cat on her quilt

She also did a tiger cat on a calico pillow. See a photo of the whole quilt:
It's number 2001.011.0001in the IQSC Collection.

Well, Lucinda was from Brooklyn too.
And the pictorial quilts are both dated 1867.
I don't know what it all means.

Sandi Fox did a nice little gift book called Cats on Quilts Years Ago.
She found another of the same cat.

A yellow cat in an Irish Chain

Here's the cover of Sandi's book.

(I have to guess the graphic artist who did the cover was from Brooklyn too as the top right creature is not a cat. It's an opossum, something we have in abundance in the woods across the street from my house. And in my yard late at night.)

The story of opossums on quilts is another story for another post. The topic today is Cats on Quilts. So keep your eyes open for cats on quilts from the 19th-century.

No, Roseanne, not those kind of cats on quilts.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Quilts of Prince Edward Island

Quilts of Prince Edward Island:
The Fabric of Rural Life
by Sherrie Davidson

Here's a new book for your collection of quilt survey publications. Sherrie Davidson has done a documentation project on the Canadian island north of Maine and Nova Scotia.

Medallion quilt 1810
(c) Sherrie Davidson

The book is a loving look at a small community. She found over 300 quilts and includes photos of many. The earliest is this medallion quilt made in 1810 for a wedding that never took place.

A detail of the center panel.
(c) Sherrie Davidson

 It's interesting to see that these English panels, which were quite popular with quilters in the southern U.S., were also used in Canada.

A red and white quilt about 1900
(c) Sherrie Davidson

There's a chapter on red and white quilts (a timely topic), as popular on PEI as elsewhere about 100 years or so.

She looks at the quilts in the social life and memories of the Island and places them into the context of quiltmaking at the time. Read more about Quilts of Prince Edward Island here:

Here's what the publisher says about the book:
In September 1991, Sherrie Davidson began undertaking the Heirloom Quilt Survey on Prince Edward Island. Her goal was to document and preserve the rich island history of quilt making from its beginning in the 1700s to1970. After almost twenty years of documenting the story of quilt making on Prince Edward Island, this book, Quilts of Prince Edward Island, is the result. In her quest, Sherrie Davidson visited over one hundred island homes and registered 305 beautiful and stunning quilts, each containing memories, often very personal, of family life on Prince Edward Island down through the years. These historic quilts were such an intimate part of past daily life and also player a vital role in community life whereby women came together to help raise money for community events. Today, these surviving quilts are often associated with treasured family and community history. Quilts of Prince Edward Island offers examples of every aspect of island quilt-making and also documents the story of island quilt making over the past three centuries.

Sherrie Davidson has loved, sewn, and collected quilts for over 30 years. She is past president of Kindred Spirits Quilts Guild and former owner of Heirloom Quilts in New London, PEI. She resides in the hills surrounding Nashville, Tennessee.

Prince Edward Island is mapped in green here above Nova Scotia

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bettina Havig: One Woman Show

Four Stars with Broderie Perse
 by Bettina Havig

Bettina handquilts her quilts so it is doubly impressive to see the amount of work she has accomplished.

Bildeston Uneven Nine Patch
 by Bettina Havig

Some of these quilts, like the nine patch above, are patterned in her 2009 book
Across the Pond: Projects Inspired by Quilts of the British Isles.
Click here to read more about this book:

Friendship Quilt by Bettina Havig
And some of them are recently finished.
 The one above is a group project that she put together last year.

The Morris Workshop
by Bettina Havig

 This one's made from my 2009 Moda collection
 of William Morris reproductions.

Stars with Doreen Speckmann's Provincial Prints
by Bettina Havig

And this one's made from her friend Doreen's line.

Album Quilt
by Bettina Havig

Another group project.

Berrington Hall Medallion by Bettina Havig

The quilt above is the cover quilt of Across the Pond.

See Bettina's webpage: