Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Few Feathered Stars: Variations with Sunbursts

This quilt from the Kansas quilt project and the Quilt Index
looks to be about 1880-1910,
made by Sarah States in Illinois.

I have pictures of several similar quilts from the end of the 19th century with faded khaki colors.

This one's from Sharon Yenter's collection
but it isn't quite the same pattern.

From the Kirk Collection
 probably late-19th century

Here's an older one from dealer John Saul with fancier border and fancier quilting, natural green rather than synthetically dyed khaki, both indicating an earlier date of 1840-1880 . Apparently the feathered star with a circular center and a sunburst goes back to the mid-19th-century.
Very similar design, same time, same colors, less fancy.

From Shelly Zegart's collection.
Twelve spokes on the wheel, two circles framing the center.

This one from Laura Syler's Pinterest page.
It's about impossible to find two the same.

 probably mid-19th century

The despair of a quilt pattern indexer.

Kentucky Quilt Project, probably late 19th century

Rosetta Cox Singleton
Iowa Quilt Project
 probably mid-19th century

Margaret Webster
Iowa Quilt Project
Hard to date since indigo and white was so popular over so many decades.

In BlockBase and my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns I drew up two versions.

BlockBase #2270
This may be the earliest published pattern. In 1934 Mrs. Danner's Quilts sold a pattern and gave it two names: Golden Splendor in golds and Star Spangled Banner in red, white and blue.

The surviving quilts show many more variations than have been published as patterns. It seems like the more complex the pattern the more variations you see. 

 probably mid-19th century

 probably mid-19th century

Michigan Quilt Project
 probably mid-19th century

Connecticut Quilt Project
 probably mid-19th century

Iowa Quilt Project
Sarah Penina Young

Did these two women know each other?

Quilts Inc. Collection
Turkey red star with red work embroidery
After 1880

For the ambitious among you, BlockBase will print out templates for the two listed. 
Here are the first 2 pages of an 18" version of  #2271---10 pages in all.

You'll find one made from #2270 for the recent Quilt Alliance Twenty Auction at the blog
She drafted her own pattern I think.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Modernism: Free quilt pattern from Moda

66½" x 72½"
 Free quilt project from Moda

Susan Stiff, Moda's graphic artist, and I came up
with a modern neighborhood for the project for
the Modernism collection.

See the project sheet with the free pattern here:

Each of the houses features an assortment of modern prints.

Susan's patterned it with a bundle of fat eighths for the houses...

and 2 Charm Packs for the border...
plus some other fabrics:
such as 1-1/2 yards for the outer border
and 2 yards of Bella Solid plain for the backgrounds.

Here's an alternate background and border.

For this outer border 1-1/2 yards of Vienna 8270-13

And for the background, 2 yards of 
a lighter Bella Solid like 9900-67
Fig Tree Cream
or a pale gray like 9900-127 Feather

Friday, January 24, 2014

Quilters Newsletter Article on Modernism & Quilts

I've been writing for Quilters Newsletter magazine since
1977 I think. I have an article in the February/March 2014 issue.

Somebody there reads my Historically Modern blog and asked me to summarize the blog's theme:  how quilts affected modernism and how modernism affected quilts.

Threads of Modernism
 I included a few antique quilts that are good examples of modernism's principles of abstraction, simple shapes and basic color.

Like this Mennonite Log Cabin from Laura Fisher
at Fisher Heritage quilts.

And a few contemporary quilts by my friends that might exemplify

Here's one of my favorites:
This is a Quilt, Not Art by Joe Cunningham, 1996

Read more about the issue here:

Click on the links to posts on the Historically Modern Blog in which I talk about modernism's principles and how they relate to quilts.

Principle: Abstraction:

Principle: Unmodulated Color

Principle: Minimalism

Principle: Scale

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

World War I Remembrance:Quilt Block of the Month

Father's Choice
Sunday morning I opened my Kansas City Star newspaper to find this lovely quilt block as the first in a new series: “Where Poppies Grow … Remembering Almo,” a block-of-the-month honoring those who served in World War I.

A surprise to find such a graceful combination of piecing and applique and the best surprise that it was designed by my friend Denniele Bohannon.

Where Poppies Grow
by Denniele O'Kell Bohannon
and Janice Britz.
Quilted by Angela Walters

Now, she has been telling me she has some family letters from her great-grandfather and that she has been working on a quilt linked to them---but she didn't tell me much more.

Here's what the Star says:
"This year’s quilt was designed by Denniele O’Kell Bohannon of Louanna Mary Quilt Design, Harrisonville, and Janice Britz of Bee Merry Farms, Peculiar, as a tribute to Bohannon’s great-grandfather Almo Ebenezer O’Kell. Angela Walters of Quilting Is My Therapy in Kearney did the free-motion quilting.

Almo O’Kell, 30, died Jan. 12, 1919, while serving his country in Koblenz, Germany.O’Kell’s correspondence and photos have been preserved by his family and provide a rich history of Almo’s duty as a medic with Field Hospital No. 3 and the First Division under Gen. John J. Pershing, a Missouri native.
Each month, along with a new quilt block, we’ll share a piece of Almo’s story."

You can participate in this Block of the Month from Star Quilts. The pattern will be published on the third Sunday of each month in 2014 in the newspaper. It's also available online.

The Star says each block will be available as a free download for one week at the online home of Kansas City Star Quilts (PickleDish.com). After that, the pattern will be available as a download for $3.95 at Kansas City Star Quilts Store (PickleDishstore.com).

Here's the temporary free link to Block 1:

You'll have to remember to access the site in the week after the third Sunday each month if you want to download it for free.

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/01/17/4751625/the-stars-2014-quilt-project-block.html#storylink=cpy
Read more here:

Congratulations to Denniele and Janice!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Paris in the Twenties

Zelda Fitzgerald
I recall Nancy Milford's Zelda: A Biography,
published in 1970, was the initial inspiration
for my imaginary Parisian life.

 There have been requests (TWO and that's enough, thank you) for a list of the books I've been reading  about Paris in the 1920s, the inspiration for the Modernism collection for Moda.

Zelda's story, a tragedy, raised
many questions about how women are to live their lives.
But oh the glamour!

I can read a book in a couple of days so I go through quite a few--mostly nonfiction and mostly biographies. I am lucky enough to live near a university library where I can check out 20 books at a time for six weeks. Every month or two I check out my limit and I never feel richer than when I have 20 unread books on the shelf.

Dorothy Parker
You Might as Well Live: The Life and Times of 
Dorothy Parker by John Keats
1986, raised the same kinds of questions about
women's roles, mood and alcoholism.
Few answers and the down side of glamour.

 I have an electronic reader and I do read out-of-copyright books on my laptop too but I like hardback paper books.  My method in choosing books on a topic is just as old-fashioned. I use the cataloging system at a library catalog website, which in itself is a web of inter-related publications.

You can browse by the subject category and type in a word or three like Paris Social Life. I identify interesting titles that way and check out my local library holdings, the used book market and the ebooks.

As long as you are going to use a library catalog to identify interesting books it might as well be a good library catalog.
Harvard's is nice.

You can also browse by standard subject headings, defined by the Library of Congress.
For the books on Paris in the 1920s I found many biographies by looking at these subject headings:

Paris (France) Intellectual life-20th century

Paris (France) ---Social Life and Customs

Read more about Library of Congress subject headings here:

Gertrude Stein
 I just re-read Charmed circle: Gertrude Stein & company by James R. Mellow.

Once you find an interesting life you meet more interesting characters. To me the whole thing becomes a soap-opera-style network where characters show up and disappear in one biography and then I find they have spin-off biographies of their own...

Sara and Gerald Murphy with Cole Porter and friend

 Like the fascinating Murphys in Everybody Was So Young  by Amanda Vaill.

If you are talking about Paris in the 1920s there are some heavyweight male characters like Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway...but I'd rather read about the women--- like Pauline Pfeiffer in Unbelievable happiness and final sorrow: the Hemingway-Pfeiffer marriage by Ruth A. Hawkins.

Solita Solano and Djuna Barnes

 I enjoy sitting in the library stacks to see what books are shelved next to the one I found by call number in the catalog: The impulse purchase, so to speak, which rarely disappoints.

Elsa Schiaparelli 

 A friend just recommended Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me by Patricia Volk.

If you don't have a great library nearby you can identify the books and buy them online or ask your book store to find them.

Josephine Baker
I also hear there is a new biography of Josephine Baker.

Below is a rather random list of books that came to mind.
Some I liked, some I didn't. Some of the people are charming---others despicable.
But I love to visit the times and even a shallow character in a bumpily written book keeps me entertained.

Robert McAlmon Being geniuses together, 1920-1930. with supplementary chapters by Kay Boyle.
Exiles return; a literary odyssey of the 1920s  by Malcom Cowley
Four lives in Paris by Hugh Ford ;
Genêt, a biography of Janet Flanner by Brenda Wineapple.
Everybody who was anybody : a biography of Gertrude Stein by Janet Hobhouse.
Sylvia Beach and the lost generation : a history of literary Paris in the twenties and thirties  by Noel Riley Fitch.
Djuna : the life and work of Djuna Barnes / Phillip Herring
That summer in Paris; memories of tangled friendships with Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and some others by Morley Callaghan
Man Ray: the rigour of imagination by Arturo Schwarz.

Here are three overviews
Expatriate Paris : a cultural and literary guide to Paris of the 1920s by Arlen J. Hansen.
Paris between the wars, 1919-1939 : art, life & culture by Vincent Bouvet & Gérard Durozoi
Americans in Paris, 1900-1930 : a selected, annotated bibliography / compiled by William G. Bailey

 This book is an overview of several decades, very readable as all McCullough's books are.
The greater journey: Americans in Paris / David McCullough.
Once I read that I started going back in time to reading about Paris in the 19th century: Bonapartes, 
Communes, the Franco Prussian War....

Wait a minute! The Franco Prussian War was no fun at all.

Back to glamour!

Lee Miller
Lee Miller: A Life by Carolyn Burke