Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Twins Separated at Birth

Oriental Poppy Quilt
by an unknown maker---
Sold at auction a few years ago.

When I saw this quilt online I thought---a quilt by Rose Kretsinger of Emporia, Kansas. She made a twin quilt that is in the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas.

Here I have layered the two quilts.
They are almost identical, with the major difference being that the Kretsinger quilt has rounded corners, the auction quilt square. The rounded corner is a minor characteristic of the Kretsinger quilts.

The question. How could two quilts be so much alike?
Possible answers:
1) Made by the same person.
2) Made from the same pattern---one designer plus the second quilt a copy by another.
3) Made from the same pattern, one designer but both copies.

Another pair of quilts almost identical, one a top, one a quilt. The major differences seem to be precisely how the striped background fabric is placed and how the stars are angled.
Because it is a contemporary quilt the answer seems obvious: It's a published pattern:
Jan Patek's Birdsong. The one on the right is the model, the one on the left the copy.

Buy the pattern here at Jan's website:

I'd guess the copy was made from a kit but I don't see that Jan has them for sale on her website.

In the case of the Oriental Poppy design we could be seeing the same situation.
The Oriental Poppy was published in the magazine Farm Journal in 1949, where you could buy a pattern for a quarter.

In her book Soft Covers for Hard Times: Quiltmaking and the Great Depression, Merikay Waldvogel published a picture of Bernice Schultz Mackeys' version.

Bernice remembered buying the pattern from Farm Journal.
She scalloped her edge.

The quilt at the top of the page may have been made from that published pattern too.
But Rose Kretsinger also sold and gave away hand-drawn patterns. Before digital, xerographic and mimeographic copying, people traced patterns onto vellum, a heavy tracing paper. I am lucky enough to own a tracing paper pattern for an Oriental Poppy quilt that is labeled on the envelope "Mrs. Kretsinger's Gift" and "Mrs. Kretsinger's Quilt."

I don't know who drew it but I guess it was Rose Kretsinger.
Her daughter told me years ago that Rose sold hand-drawn patterns. The woman who sold the pattern to me came from Emporia and told me it was a Kretsinger pattern. The hand writing is similar to Rose's.

It has just about everything you'd need to create a copy of Rose's quilt: color suggestions, swatches showing fabrics and quilting instructions.

Here's the word green from the pattern (on the left) and from a list she kept of her quilts.

So my guess is the auction quilt at top is a copy of Rose Kretsinger's quilt, made from one of her hand-drawn patterns or from the Farm Journal pattern---although Rose could have made the same quilt twice.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Prussian Blue Old & New

Blues Romance
by Jeanne Zyck and Georgann Eglinski

Jeanne and Georgann don't even know each other but they have collaborated on this quilt.
Jeanne had some strips of my Metropolitan Fair line of reproduction fabric and she added some plain browns to piece the blocks.

She said she was stuck so she gave them to me.
I gave them to Georgann who thought appliqued hearts in the center would fill the space.

Georgann added more blue from 
Metropolitan Fair for sashing, border and back
and machine quilted it.

We decided it needed some hand quilting so I quilted
around each heart with the big stitch and some pink Perle cotton.
We used every blue print in Metropolitan Fair

Reproduction from Metropolitan Fair

The blue prints are reproductions of Prussian blue fabrics that were so fashionable for dresses and quilts in mid-19th-century America and England.

Antique Quilt attributed to Susannah Heebner

The chintz border in this antique star is a clue to a mid-19th-century date.The use of blue for the background is something you often see in Pennsylvania towards the end of the century. How old is it?

The close-ups indicate the fabrics are mid-19th-century and
 Susannah was ahead of her time 
in thinking a blue print was the perfect neutral.

Bright blue prints really define the scrappy quilts of the 1840s and '50s.

Quilt dated 1853
Sold at Skinner Auctions
Found in Michigan
English or American?

Reproduction from Metropolitan Fair

Reproduction from Metropolitan Fair

The stripes and the rainbow prints catch your attention but there are many small scale dress prints in shades of blue green to sky blue to bright blue that do the color work in these quilts.

Rainbow print and a triple blue
They are often double or triple blues---
figures and grounds differing only in darkness of the same hue.

Reproduction from Metropolitan Fair

Reproduction from Metropolitan Fair

Two mid-19th-century scrap quilts

Both quilters had a nice stash of bright blues.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Civil War Jubilee: A Shadowy Sprig

The document fabric for this reproduction print in my summer collection Civil War Jubilee
is from an old sawtooth star full of madder-style reds and browns, a few stripes and paisleys,

The center square was pieced together from scraps. The quilter didn't have enough
to make the square, or perhaps she cut this piece from a worn dress and just cut across the seam.
I love the shadowy nature of the floral with a crosshatched background.

Civil War Jubilee is a dark line and this is the darkest print in it.

The purplish prints would have been appropriate for clothing if one were in half mourning---

Queen Victoria wore half mourning
for four decades after her husband died.

Etiquette demanded a widow go into full mourning, wearing black for a year and then half-mourning in which she might wear dark colors and prints for another year.

Half mourning dresses
from Godey's in 1848

See a page about Victorian mourning dress at Michigan State University's site:

A Gibson Girl, a merry widow in half-mourning, 
by Charles Dana Gibson

And one more thing about this print: We dyed the background a dark color and then printed over it with an even darker color, so the back of the fabric can be used as a dark solid---
Two for one!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Museum Quilt Shows: Antique Quilts Summer 2013

Time to get that bike in gear
 to see the summer quilt shows.

Here's a list of museum exhibits featuring antique quilts for summer, 2013.

Folsom History Museum's 33rd annual Antique Quilt and Vintage Fashion Exhibit, Strolling Through the Garden, includes floral quilts from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with Downton-Abbey-era clothing.
Through September 2, 2013 .

Tennessee quilt
  San Jose 
San Jose Quilt Museum of Quilts and Textiles: Collecting New York Beauty Quilts: Bill Volckening’s Passion from July 31 - October 27, 2013

Sarah Elliott Dunn
About 1860
Effingham, Illinois

Illinois, Springfield
Illinois State Museum. Civil War Quilters: Loyal Hearts of Illinois. 
Through September 8, 2013
This expanded show, which was in Chicago last year, features antique quilts with Civil War stories plus weapons and household artifacts from the era.

Kentucky, Paducah
National Quilt Museum.
From the Pieces of a Nation: Civil War Period Quilts.
July 12 to October 8, 2013.
Quilts from Arlan & Pat Christ's collection
Massachusetts, Lexington
National Heritage MuseumThreads of Brotherhood: Masonic Quilts and Textiles. 
Over 25 quilts, coverlets, needlework pictures, and hooked rugs with Masonic themes. 

Massachusetts, Lowell
New England Quilt Museum:
A Slice of Cheddar. A Selection of Antique Pennsylvania Quilts. July 11-October 14, 2013.

Nebraska, Lincoln
International Quilt Study Center and Quilt Museum:
Perfecting the Past: Colonial Revival Quilts. Through September 1, 2013.
Posing With Patchwork Quilts: Quilts in Photographs 1855-1955. Through December 1, 2013.
The Engineer Who Could: Ernest Haight’s Half Century of Quiltmaking. Through March 2, 2014.

Album Quilt
Elizabeth Prickett
 Burlington County, New Jersey

New Jersey, Woodbury
Stitches Through Time: A Legacy of Quilts. Gloucester County Historical Society. More than 30 quilts dating from the 1830s-1930s. Through October, 2013.

New Mexico, Santa Fe
Museum of International Folk Art. Plain Geometry: Amish Quilts. 
34 quilts from the collection and local collectors. Through September 2, 2013.

New Mexico, Las Cruces
New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum. Stitches in Time: Quilts from the Museum’s Collection. 32 quilts from 1830 to 1970. Through March 23, 2014.

New York, Brooklyn
Brooklyn Museum."Workt by Hand”: Hidden Labor and Historical Quilts.
Approximately 35 American and European quilt masterpieces from the Museum’s collection. Curator: Catherine Morris. Through September 15, 2013.

New York, Blue Mountain Lake
Adirondack Museum. “Common Threads: 150 Years of Adirondack Quilts & Comforters”
Historic and contemporary quilts. Through October 14, 2013.

Quilt by a member of the Odawa tribe
From the Katonah Museum exhibit.

South Carolina, Charleston
The American Quilt Study Group's annual seminar will be in Charleston
September 18-23
Virginia,   Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg. Foster and Muriel McCarl Gallery. Quilts in the Baltimore Manner. 
A dozen quilts 1845 to 1855. Curated by Linda Baumgarten and Kim Ivey.
Through May 11, 2014.

DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Threads of Feeling: Poignant Stories.
This exhibit from London's Foundling Hospital features scraps of mid-18th century fabrics left as tokens with abandoned babies. Though not a quilt exhibit, the fabrics and the stories are fasincating. Through May 26, 2014.

October 20 – 22, 2013
A related symposium: Threads of Feeling Unraveled: The London Foundling Hospital’s Textile Tokens


Washington, LaConner
LaConner Quilt & Textile Museum. Antique Quilts from the Pallow Family Collection
Through October 6, 2013.http://www.laconnerquilts.com/exhibits/current-exhibits/