Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Looking for Garden Quilts: Broderie Perse

Charlotte Whitehill and her Garden Quilt,
photo from the late 1940s.

I've been interested in Garden quilts for years. Friends Cuesta Benberry and Joyce Gross and I spent many pre-computer hours mailing photocopies of possible sources for the pattern shown in Ruth Finley's 1929 book Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them.

The Garden in conventional applique from Finley's book

Finley defined The Garden, a one of a kind quilt made by Arsinoe Kelsey Bowen, rather loosely as:

 "no actual pattern but rather an idea. No two Garden quilts were ever quite alike, though all have certain characteristics in common....All show a center medallion." Among the imagery: wreaths, flowers, birds, "festoons of ribbons or ropes, baskets, cornucopias and fruits."

Quilt dated 1859, Melrose, Maryland,
 in the collection of the Newark Museum

Single central wreath from the
 collection of Laura Fisher

These album quilts with large central wreaths
 MIGHT be what Finley was talking about.

But we never found truly similar quilts made before Bowen's quilt was published in 1929. See this post for ideas about what might qualify as a Garden quilt in conventional applique.

Cut-out chintz or Broderie Perse quilt
from the Koval collection

Another option: In 2003 Hazel Carter summarized a theory Joyce Gross developed. The design "is reminiscent of the early 1800s quilts that are today termed broderie perse...[appliqué] cut from printed fabrics of birds, flowers, animals..."

Broderie Perse detail

Here's a possible Garden quilt from the collection of the Museum at Michigan State University.
Wreath, flowers, maybe some fruit, birds.....
See more about the quilt here at the Quilt Index:

The wreath idea was certainly popular in the Broderie Perse era which ran from about 1780 to 1850. The one above from an English online auction shows the block influence in the contstruction. Block style eventually replaced the medallion format.

Another wreath with an unusual loopy swag.

Many of these floral medallions survive, each one different arrangement of bouquets and garlands cut from chintz, so it may be that the original Garden quilts were the early chintz quilts, out of fashion by the time Arsinoe fashioned hers.

Broderie Perse quilt from the collection
 of the Museum of American Folk Art

Ilyse Moore's Paradise in Kansas was inspired by the Garden quilt in Finley's black and white photo (towards the top of the page). See our new pattern book The Garden Quilt: Interpreting a Masterpiece by clicking here:

Here's another great wreath of cut-out chintz in the collection of the Winterthur

Saturday, July 28, 2012

I'm On Pat Sloan's Radio Show

 Monday I'm a guest on Pat Sloan's radio quilting show, American Patchwork & Quilting Radio, which can be heard live on your computer Mondays at 4:00 ET. The date:  July 30, 2012.
It's a virtual radio show----the Philco won't pick it up.

But you can hear the inteview if you click on this computer link:
At 4:00 Eastern Daylight Time---adjust your clock accordingly.
Click on the button that says "Live on Air."

Of course, being as it's all computerized, you can listen any time
If you miss it don't fret. After July 30th I'll be in the archives. Scroll down on their page to the box that says "Click on a Listing Below."  Find me---don't get distracted by Tula Pink or Betsy Chutchian.

And don't forget to turn your computer speakers on.

Or it won't work.
Here's a link to Pat's website: http://www.creativetalknetwork.com/

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Shady Sue and Sam

Sunbonnet Sue
Why won't she show her face?

What the heck are they up to?

Teddy Pruett has been keeping herself busy lately with her take on the world of Sunbonnet Sue & Oversall Sam. It's a shady world, full of small creatures ashamed to show their faces above their maternity dresses. They are preggers and threatening to go on Jerry Springer.

The Salacious Secrets of Sam and Sue
By Teddy Pruett

"Be Safe. Use Condiments"

Co-conspirators from AQSG donated vintage blocks for Teddy to re-work.

Here's a note from the artist:
I know you share my sentiments toward old Susie.  I was going to bring my new Sue-bashing quilt to AQSG but just found out I can't make it.  I thought you might enjoy seeing a few blocks from Sunbonnet Slut - er, I mean, "The Salacious Secrets of Sam and Sue."

For a Good Time Call Sue

I sez to her "You wouldn't say that to my face,"
and she sez, "You don't have a face."

Thank you, Teddy, for the pictures and the idea!
See another side of Sue in this post:

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Star Spangled Banners/Feathered Stars

Here's a spectacular feathered star quilt that was offered at auction earlier this year.

This block may be the fanciest feathered star of them all with it's pieced center---a Railroad Crossing or Flying Geese block. Adding applique is icing on the cake.

I have a similar antique block from about the same time
 1840-1860, so the quilt above caught my eye.

From the Quilt Engagement Calendar

The pattern was surprisingly popular. It's #2268 in BlockBase, my digital pattern program.

The published name is Star Spangled Banner, a name given a quilt in the collection of Vermont's Shelburne Museum.
You might want to rotate the BlockBase pattern like this when you set it

BlockBase has been out of print for about a year while the people at Electric Quilt updated the program. It's back in print so you can make a Star Spangled Banner---or any pieced quilt you'd like.
The program prints patterns for templates, rotary cutting or paper piecing, which might be the way to go with the Star Spangled Banner.

I've only seen that Shelburne quilt, the source for the name Star Spangled Banner, published once. It's in black and white in this 1957 catalog from the Museum.

The quilt with a strip border and fringed edge is signed and dated
"Alexander Cramndin, Jr. made by his mother 1840."
The center block is different from the corner blocks.
They called it the Star Spangled Banner because at least one verse from the song is quilted into the white areas below an eagle.

As far as I can make out from the photo it says:

"Star Spangled Banner
Between their loved home and the war's desolation
Blessd with victory & peace may???
Praise the Lord that hath made
and preserved us a nation"

Which are words from the last verse of Francis Scott Key's song.

I would guess many of these feathered stars are constructed in pieced modules rather than as star blocks.

Your design wall might look like this while you were working on the red and white quilt above.

Here's a block in an Ohio quilt in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, made by Eliza Smith Barber in Akron. See the whole quilt by clicking here:
Click on the picture there to see details and more information. The border is clever.

We can assume this is the same Eliza Smith Barber (1817-1899) mentioned on this page about Akron women. She was born in Canton.

Eliza's husband George and her son
whose name was Ohio Columbus Barber

A somewhat simpler version of the pattern, one of a pair of quilts made by sisters Rachel Rich McLaughlin and Nancy McLaughlin Miller in Noble County, Ohio.
See more about the quilt above here:

It's twin was on the cover of this catalog from the Canton Art Institute. Perhaps the pattern was passed around in Ohio.

A late 19th century version,
a slightly different pattern, constructed as a block.

View a similar set in the International Quilt Study Center & Museum collection (#1997.007.0288)

Red and Green Stars
Joy Swartz, 2010
45" Square
Joy entered this quilt in the American Quilt Study Group 2010 Quilt Study when the theme was 19th Century Stars. Joy copied a quilt in her collection at a smaller scale.
Read more here:

See another contemporary version by Debra Wagner at the Quilt Index here:
Dealer Stella Rubin has one

Another from the IQSC collection (#1997.007.0367)
Despite the red and white coloring and the stuffed work quilting it's dated as 1930s or 40s.

It may look intimidating but with BlockBase you can print the pattern any size: I'd be thinking 36".

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Looking for Garden Quilts

Ilyse Moore, Paradise in Kansas, detail

Our new book The Garden Quilt features Ilyse Moore's interpretation of a quilt that Ruth Finley
showed in her 1929 book Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them.

The Garden Quilt was made in the mid-19th-century
by Arsinoe Kelsey Bowen of New York.

Finley defined The Garden rather loosely as "no actual pattern but rather an idea. No two Garden quilts were ever quite alike, though all have certain characteristics in common....All show a center medallion." Among the imagery: wreaths, flowers, birds, "festoons of ribbons or ropes, baskets, cornucopias and fruits."
Joyce and Cuesta in 1989

While quilters were inspired to copy The Garden, quilt historians were inspired to find more examples. For many years, my fellow Quilt Detectives Joyce Gross and Cuesta Benberry collected pictures of Garden quilts. We were never able to find the original and we never found similar quilts made before Bowen's quilt was published in 1929.

Paradise Garden by Betty Herriman

Every example we found, as in this picture from the magazine Ladies' Circle Patchwork Quilts, was made after Finley's book was published. Surely there are appliqué medallions from the nineteenth century, but do any of them qualify as "The Garden"?

Mid 19th-century quilt from an online auction

 Using Finley's rather loose description we looked for appliquéd medallions with ropes and ribbons, cornucopias and fruit cut from calico prints and Turkey reds.

Floral Applique by Emeline Travis Ludington (1820-1887)

This recent purchase by the Metropolitan Museum of Art might qualify but no fruit, no ropes, no ribbons. Intriguingly, it's from Carmel, New York (Putnam County.)

Here are the swags---with a border growing out of a pot.

Collection: Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The same idea---different muse.

Rose Wreath by the Palmer Sisters
 in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution

Concentric rings with the pots in the corners. This quilt is also a New York quilt, made in Otsego County.
Read more: http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/object.cfm?key=35&gkey=169&objkey=9579

Here's the idea of a medallion of loops: Birds and Grapes
From the McCarl Collection
and the Western Pennsylvania Project at the Quilt Index

We noticed this quilt from the collection of the Brooklyn Museum published years ago by Rose Wilder Lane.

Cover for Quilt.  Brooklyn Museum,
Gift of Mrs. Tunis G. Bergen, 29.1154

 But this photo from their online collection pictures shows it's more a sampler than a Garden.

Odd Fellows Applique Album quilt, c.1850 by Mary Ann McCue,
 Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA
The Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg 
The Bridgeman Art Library     

Similar to the one above collected by the immortal Ima Hogg.

Ilyse Moore, Paradise in Kansas
I don't think we have ever found what Finley was describing. But the hunt has certainly been fun.

To read more about our book The Garden Quilt: Interpreting a Masterpiece, click on the book in the left hand column. It's 24 pages with pull-out sheet for the pattern. $16.95