Sunday, January 21, 2018


I was surprised to see how many of us at the American Quilt Study Group Seminar last fall in New Hampshire brought our paper piecing. During the three days of lectures many listeners pulled out their very portable projects.
I took some snapshots at the breaks
so I don't know whose little stashes of paper pieces
and fabrics these are.

I just found this video of how to do a "flat backstitch" method of joining
paper pieced shapes. I always face the pieces together to sew and the stitches show.
But in this method you secure them side by side with tape or a clip and stitch
from the back. No visible stitches.


I tried it and it works wells.
The stitches do not show and it's
easier for me to figure out how to connect things if I don't have to
keep flipping the pieces over.

More AQSG projects

Some were small.
Some were larger.

I always have a hand work project to help me pay
attention to the speaker. 

I'm still working on this one----3/4 inch sides in William Morris repro prints.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Washington On Horseback

Boston Museum Fine Arts
1853, F. Schufeld

How many identical quilts survive featuring Washington on horseback?
The one above was sold at Skinner's Auction and is now
in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

Quilt by C.[hristina] C Shufelt, Hillsdale, 
Columbia Co. NY, 1853

This one was featured in the New York project's book
New York Beauties.

They are the same quilt, I think, based on comparing these two blocks.

The caption in the New York book says it is a "duplicate of one that was made in 1849 by Eliza Conklin of Claverack, also in Columbia County"...in Orlofsky's Quilts in America [page 232] and Peto's American Quilts & Coverlets [page 38]Both books show the same black & white detail photo.

Orlofsky caption:
" 'General Washington Saluting Miss Liberty' Appliqued
and embroidered, 1849, Eliza Conklin, Claverack, New York. (Private collection.)"

1853 quilt on left; 1849 quilt on right.
Not the same quilt. 

Here's what Peto says on page 30:
"The Conklins were early settlers in Claverack, New York, and when Eliza made her spread in 1849 the political skies were darkening with approaching threat of disunion. Four applique and embroidery units depict General Washington on horseback saluting a grim Miss Liberty who holds a staff on which is mounted the Liberty Cap; under a constellation of thirteen stars the fiercely protective Eagle spreads his wings. Applied calico tulips and roses with foliated vine, in tones of red, pink, yellow and green spill in profusion over 'field' and border. Eliza was an ambitious needlewoman and a skilled one. Date and signature in India ink are enclosed in leafy lozenge."
Peto's hindsight exaggerated the threat of disunion in 1849, seeing a grim Miss Liberty. Rather than antebellum politics, the inspiration for this image might have been two popular lithographs published by Nathan Currier.

Washington's Reception by the Ladies of Trenton,
recalling the new President's triumphal ride to his inauguration in 1789,
was published in 1845.

A similar image of Washington on Prescott, his high-stepping horse,
is attributed to 1850.

General George Washington, ca. 1850.

1833 print: Washington Crossing the Delaware
by Humphrey Phelps (Crossing the Delaware on a horse???)

These popular prints inspired many folk artists.

1841 Sampler from Amy Finkel (detail)
"Caroline Hite's Work"
after the Phelps print.

From a mid-19th century appliqued sampler made for
Maria Mowerson Pullis, probably Bergen County.
 New Jersey Project & the Quilt Index.

The Winterthur Museum has a disassembled quilt date-inscribed 1853 
with this image of "General Washington". The maker
used the same silhouette to portray other presidents.

"T. Jefferson"

The Philadelphia Museum of Art owns this 1853
pictorial sampler made for Samuel Mosher of Stanford, New York.

Four blocks contain equestrians. The horseman in the 
green wreath may have been drawn from the Currier lithograph.
Stanford is in Dutchess County, south of Columbia County, NY

Two more leads to follow:
Three of the four quilts in this post were dated 1853, the year when Franklin Pierce was inaugurated as President after defeating Winfield Scott. What else was going on politically in 1853?

This Washington quilt is not the only surviving quilt signed by Eliza Conklin of Claverack.

"Eliza Conklin Claverac[k] June the 14 1841"

Read more about her appliqued oak leaf with a border of squirrels and peacocks here:

Inspired by the Winterthur fragments Karla Menaugh and I made a wool version of George Washington and Prescott for a pattern for our Sunflower Pattern Co-op.

The wool applique panel is 12-1/2" x 37-1/2"

See our Etsy store for a paper copy of the Daughter of the Revolution pattern:
Or a digital copy of the General Washington panel pattern that you can print yourself:

Monday, January 15, 2018

Past Perfect: Jan Patek

Liberty Garden by Jan Patek

This month's Past Perfect star is Jan Patek. 


Jan lives way out west in western Missouri near Kansas City on a small farm where the major livestock is a bulldog or two. She and husband Pep recently celebrated their 48th anniversary.

Eagles & Roses

It would be hard to overstate Jan's influence on a certain style combining muted color, geometric prints, plaids, flannels, innovative sets, stylized florals and stars, stars, stars.

Jan does many things. She interprets traditional design (above, one of my favorites) and she creates new takes that owe something to tradition but are distinctively hers.

The earliest book (1989) I could find with Jan's designs.
Country Days published by Gerry's Red Wagon Quilts but
Jan says she was working with Red Wagon in the early 1980s

She's always been a collaborator, working over the past 35 years with designers like Gerry Kimmel-Carr and Sue Spargo and particularly her design partner in fabric and quilts Linda Brannock.

Jan & Jenny's Garden 
a recent collaboration  with Jenny Doan
 and her long-time machine quilter Lori Kukuk

Linda Brannock (1938-2015)

Linda is sorely missed. Jan recalled working with her in a recent blog post: 
"We both loved the way antique quilts look but you can't really use them so we started overdyeing new fabric to make it look old."
 (I remember doing this too---the new prints in the 1980s were so alarmingly white in figure and ground.)

Coming Home Again, 1985
"I bought that red striped fabric at one of Linda's garage sales, removed the color and then overdyed it - the blue plaid in the border came from one of Brians' - my son's - madras shorts."---Jan

(Rit sold a lot of Color Remover in Kansas City in the 1980s and '90s.)

It wasn't only Jan's muted colors that were distinctive it was the use of woven and printed stripes and plaids, something quite novel in an era of calico quilts.

Standard style about 1980.

The new look came to be known as Primitive. Kansas City was the center. 

United Notions, seeking new directions for their fabric line Moda, found just what they were looking for in Jan and Linda. Jan has been designing fabric for Moda---about 2 collections a year---for over 20 years. 

Jan's collections are now classic Moda style,
classic Primitive coloring. One emphasis
is reproductions of large-scale cretonnes from the
end of the 19th century.

Above the large scale print from Sycamore;
Below from Coral Bells

Coxcombs & Pomegranates by Jan

It's not just fabric that makes a Jan Patek quilt. She is a great draftsperson. She can draw anything and she often stylizes traditional images to make them her own. Like stars...

Design for Harvest Home

And Birds
Garden Kisses & Hugs

And Flags

And trees

Hawthorn Ridge

She often sets her samplers off the grid, another hallmark
of Primitive style.

And even when she keeps close to tradition
her own design sense shows.

Tulips & Leaves & Stars & Bees
A rather recent design

Is that white!?!
She keeps up with the times.

Many thanks to an amazingly productive, innovative designer for lots of inspiration.
Here's her blog: