Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Wild Oats, Fruitlands, Walden and Wayside: Document Prints.

Vintage silhouette of a woman and her work.

The Sew Simple Quilt Shoppe in Ozark, Missouri, is offering a class in this kaleidoscope design
made with my Old Cambridge Pike fabrics.

The Old Cambridge Pike
Here are a few more of the document prints we interpreted for that Moda reproduction collection.
The print names are reminders of the New England intellectuals who lived along the road from Concord to Cambridge and Boston.

Someone lost her silver set along the Old Cambridge Pike
a long time ago.

I named the leaf print Wild Oats from one of Louisa May Alcott's

The document print (the original antique) is the dark brown triangle.

Another post with a little more about Wild Oats

#8322 Fruitlands

Fruitlands, another leafy calico, is named for the ill-fated commune
Louisa's father Bronson founded.

It's printed in six different madder colorways from pink to chocolate brown.

The document print is the larger scrap, a scattered leaflet
in madder shades.

A detail from the Antler Patterns kit Jubilee for
Old Cambridge Pike from Moda.

Wayside is the house that Sophia and Nathaniel Hawthorne occupied 
after the Alcotts moved down the road.

Document Print for this mid-century stripe is the light gray/blue.

You can't remember the generation who called themselves Young America without Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) who went to live in simple fashion in the woods by Walden Pond.

The hut at Walden Pond

Walden is the small paisley that's printed in three colorways, tan, green and brown.

I found the original print in this circa 1840 nine patch. It's the 
stained light paisley along the outer border.

Walden paisley is the olive green border here on Jubilee.
See more about the kit here:

Over the years I've read so much about the New England literary group. It is great fun for me to have fabrics named after them and their lives.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Temperance Quilts 1: T Blocks

Does the T stand for Temperance?

I recently read a paper: 

You can find Amanda's graduate paper here for the University of Nebraska.
See particularly pages 18-39 for pattern discussion.

There are many of these T quilts from the end of the 19th century.
I have made assumptions that the T stands for temperance.

I've been intending to do some thorough research in the many 19th-century temperance publications that are now digitized looking for references to symbolism in the pattern. But I don't have to because Amanda has done it well. She doesn't discuss this pattern but looks at others such as Drunkard's Path and Temperance Tree.

And she found nothing to support the ideas of symbolic patterns, particularly in regards to the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She writes:

"Questionable Conclusions
Some late 20th century writers assumed that these patterns were used by WCTU members and supporters as a way to indicate their support for the temperance cause. Evidence for this assumption has never been documented.....Research into the origin of the pattern names failed to reveal conclusive evidence that any quilts in these patterns were related to the WCTU."

She didn't find any advice or comments about using specific patterns to support the anti-alcohol cause
in the temperance literature.

But there are other options to pursue. There is the general press---newspapers and magazines for the general reading public, which might have mentioned a link. There are diaries and letters and memoirs.

And then there are all these quilts.

Yet, with all these T quilts I realized I have never seen the kind of link that actually tells us what the T stands for.

The quilts I am posting today feature a sort of a four-patch design,
although the proportions in the four patches aren't equal.

It's BlockBase #1392: all triangles

When I indexed the names I'd found by the early 1970s I had two for this one, both from the same source. Nancy Page, a syndicated newspaper column, called it Double T or Mixed T. Those names certainly have nothing to do with temperance.

Wilene Smith has found earlier published sources and names for her Quilt History Tidbits page.

Wilene's text is in tan above, mine in green. She found the design first as T Pattern from
Farm and Fireside magazine in 1883 
and later as 
Letter T from
Farm and Home magazine in 1891.

See Wilene's web page on T's here:

But again no idea of what the T represents

Those agricultural magazines with their page for the farm woman
were probably the source of these T quilts.

I found another slight pattern variation, not in BlockBase but
similar to #1392.

It's the same proportions but different pieces. Harder to cut.

This one from Stella Rubin's online shop seems to be from the same
pattern. You can see a closeup here:

When the blocks in either pattern are set all over and shaded right
you get a tessellation. One shape covering the surface with no gaps.
Not one piece---but one shape, the T.

We make a mistake when we try to read symbolism into quilter's past intentions. Without any written links for the T's and temperance all I can say is there are a lot of T quilts out there. And it makes a great T-T-Tessellating pattern.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Happy Birthday, William Morris

Birthday Cake by Barbara Brackman and Bobbi Finley, 2009
44" x 44"

Designer, poet and political activist William Morris was born 182 years ago tomorrow.
Morris by his good friend Edward Burne-Jones

Every year the William Morris Society of Canada marks the occasion with a birthday cake.
Above the Strawberry Thief.

Chocolate Torte

Bobbi and I made a lower-calorie cake. Bobbi pieced a quilt from The Morris Garden reproduction prints I did for Moda using a Birthday Cake design I published several years ago.


She cleverly used the Morris prints to create a slice of carrot cake, red velvet, cherry cheesecake, chocolate torte, etc.

We are selling the model for the cover of the pattern, which was published by the Kansas City Star.
It's the perfect birthday gift for someone who loves Arts & Crafts design---or cake. Check out the quilt in my Etsy store here:

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Purple Period Patchwork

How come nobody makes purple quilts anymore?

All these vintage quilts are bout 1870-1900

It's not a lack of purple period prints.
Above a few leaning to purple from my Old Cambridge Pike collection for Moda.

This one's older, made by Nancy Graft Jones
who died in 1863

From Collector with a Needle

Yellow is purple's complement
so the perfect accent.

From the Packwood House collection

Or a yellowish brown if true yellow is too much.

See more about vintage purple fabrics here: