Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Evans Quilt Collection at MESDA

Simple basket block in a purple zig-zag or fence rail set.
Beverley Evans Collection

Beverley & Jeff Evans showed some of their own collection of Shenandoah Valley quilts last
weekend at the Museum of Southern Decorative Arts in Winston-Salem, North Carolian.

Merikay Waldvogel, Lorie Stubbs and Beverley Evans.
Look at the scale on that doll quilt.

The whole event, the MESDA spring seminar Stitching a Southern Identity: Defining Female Culture in the Early South, was entertaining and educational. We saw samplers, needlework pictures and period rooms but for some of us the quilts were the high point.

Beverley has quite a collection.
A few details

I learned the importance of the Pennsylvania German history of the Shenandoah
Valley with early migration down the Great Wagon Road. This quilt certainly
speaks of that relationship, but it isn't as early as it looks at first glance.

The dark paisley squares inside the bright chrome yellow are
that style of black ground novelty print that you see about 1900. 

Interesting variation on the lily block

A Shenandoah Valley sampler.
Maryland isn't too far away.

Cats peeking into the border corners

Matt Monk, Sheldon, Merikay and Barb Garrett. Matt gave a paper
on a Baltimore Album style sampler in Bev's collection.

Above, one of these bold coxcombs
bordered by an eagle in platform shoes.

I recognized this bird. See a post here:

The quilt on top is dated in the quilting

Surprisingly, it's 1842.

We'd have never guessed the date from the prints.

The Evanses sell a lot of quilts on their auction site.

Click on this link to see some of the quilts auctioned over the years.


Monday, March 19, 2018

Oh, Scrap! Blog Hop Continues

March 19. Hop over to Alison Dale's blog for today's Oh, Scrap! Giveaway of an eBook.

Surrounded by Lissa Alexander

I'll announce the winner of yesterday's giveaway here on March 26th.

1859 State Fair record from Pennsylvania
Mrs. E. M. Killough won a diploma for a Scrap Quilt.
Note at the bottom an "Assortment of Fancy Quilts"
from the Pennsylvania Asylum.

Meanwhile here's a little history of scrap quilts from the book's preface.

"Scrap Quilt" seems like such a contemporary term but I found many 19th-century references to the style. An 1858 grammar book defined it: " A scrap quilt has all kinds of pieces."

Scrap Quilt dated 1842. Property of Elizabeth Neffs,
Shenandoah, Virginia
Collection of the Shenandoah Historical Society Museum

For several years in the 1860s Pennsylvania's Greene County fair awarded $2 prizes in four categories:

Best White Quilt
Best Fancy Quilt
Best Scrap Quilt
Best Patch (Applique) Quilt

Scrap quilt dated 1845 from the Pat Nickols collection
at the Mingei Museum

Were scrap quilts considered less valuable than Fancy quilts or Applique? There seems to have been argument---some of it rather heated.

Quilt dated 1874 by Abbie C. ??

 An 1883 farm magazine divided the world into opposite camps.
On one side: those that "dote on bed quilts, spend all their spare time cutting and putting together pieces, beg quantities of calico scraps from the neighbors..." 

Abbie C. S.......

 The other group " denounce pieced quilts and declare that....star and angles make a hideous bed-covering" 

Quilt dated 1881

 The editor advocated a middle ground. Don't bother the neighbors and keep busy but not obsessed.

(Warning for the obsessed: See 1859 fair entry by Pennsylvania Asylum residents above.)

In 1852 Mrs. S. Rankin entered a Rag Bag Quilt in a Maryland fair.
I like the name Scrap Quilt better.

Stair Steps by Lissa Alexander

Here's the rest of the Blog Hop Schedule

March 20 Mellissa Corey

March 21 Carrie Nelson

March 22 Sherri McConnell

March 23 Fat Quarter Shop

March 24 Teresa Silva

March 25 Jane Davidson

March 26 Martingale Publishing & Winners Announced

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Antique Quilt Exhibits: Spring & Summer 2018

Road Trip!
Quilt Shows featuring antique quilts.

California, Folsom
Folsom Historical Society. The Art of Piecemaking, Quilts from Carole Gebel's collection.
Through April 22, 2018.

California, Pasadena
Huntington Library. Becoming America: Highlights from the Jonathan and Karin Fielding Collection. The Fieldings' new wing exhibits objects from their folk-arts collection including several quilts. Through October, 2019.

California, San Diego

Mingei Museum of Folk Art. Kantha, 40 Indian pieces made from recycled sari decoratively stitched. Through March 25, 2018.

Indiana, Marion.
Quilters Hall of Fame. Arnold Savage: My Family's Life in Textiles. One family, five generations, ten quilters, and twenty quilts.Through May 12, 2018.
Enrolled Upon the Bed: 200 years of American Name-inscribed Quilts from the collection of Xenia Cord. July 31 - October 6 2018.

Illinois, Chicago
Art Institute of Chicago. Making Memories: Quilts as Souvenirs. 27 visually captivating and technically masterful quilts from the permanent collection, ranging from 1840 to 2001. Through April 1, 2018.

Iowa, Winterset
Iowa Quilt Museum. Feed Sack Quilts. Through April 15, 2018

Montezuma, Kansas. 
Stauth Memorial Museum. To Honor and Comfort: Native Quilting Traditons,
July 7 - September 30, 2018 

Kentucky, Bowling Green
Western Kentucky University Museum. Kaleidoscope. Thirty quilts from the collection including a new acquisition, the cover quilt for the Kentucky project book. Through December, 2018.

Kentucky, Paducah
Quilt Week in Paducah's 2018 Rotary Show is Southern Splendor curated by Mary Kerr. April 17-21, 2018.
National Quilt Museum. New Quilts from an Old Favorite: Bow Tie. March 16 – June 12, 2018

Nebraska, Lincoln
International Quilt Study Center & Museum/Quilt House.
Made by Hand: American Quilts in the Industrial Age II. Quilts prior to 1870 from the collection.
Through April 29, 2018

Binding Threads: The James Family Collection
Through April 15, 2018 

Uncovered: The Ken Burns Collection. Through May 13, 2018.

War and Pieced: The Annette Gero Collection of Quilts from Military Fabrics. May 25 -September 16, 2018

Covered in Blue. A two-day immersion in the Museum's collection of blue & indigo quilts. June 14-16, 2018.

Ohio, Columbus
Columbus Museum of Art. Botanical Wonders: Flower Figure Quilts 1850-1950 From The Donna And Rodney Wasserstrom Collection. Showcasing a recent donation. Through July 1, 2018.

Pennsylvania, Doylestown
Mercer Museum. Unpacking Collections: The Legacy of Cuesta Benberry, An African American Quilt Scholar. Plus African American Quilts: From Traditional to Contemporary Through April 15, 2018.

Pennsylvania, Pennsburg
Schwenkfelder Library and Heritage Center. Penn Dry Goods Market includes Textile History Lectures and Classes  May 18-19, 2018

South, Carolina, Charleston
Charleston Museum. Piece by Piece: Geometric Quilts, featuring pieced quilts from their estimable collection. Through May 31, 2018.

Texas, LaGrange
Texas Quilt Museum. Antique Indigo Quilts from the Poos Collection. 25 examples of 19th-century treasures. Through April 1, 2018

Utah, Brigham City
Brigham City Museum. Vintage Quilt Exhibition from the community. Through April 13, 2018.

United Kingdom, Bath England
American Museum. The Quilters Guild tells us their 1718 Coverlet will be shown from April 10-29, 2018.

Vermont, Essex
Vermont Quilt Festival. This year's show of 50 antique quilts is Stars, Stars, Stars! curated by Sharon Waddell. June 22-24, 2018

Vermont, Marshfield
Marshfield School of Weaving. The Textile History Forum July 27-29, 2018.

Virginia, Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum.

Printed Fashions: Textiles for Clothing and the Home, 1700-1820 includes a few quilts (one with a John Hewson panel) and a lot of early fabric. Through 2018. 

 A Century of African-American Quilts features twelve quilts from the collection dating from 1875. Through May, 2018.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

EPP Conventional Wisdom---Wrong?

Here's how WE stitch paper-pieced hexagons.

You baste or glue the fabric edges over paper.
Put the hexagons good sides together and stitch on the sides by
barely catching the fabric.

But  I've been thinking about it and I'm beginning to 
believe that we are doing it all wrong.

I read some 19th century how-to's and they do not mention placing the hexagons face sides together.
In particular, American Jane Cunningham Croly's 1886 book Ladies' Fancy Work.

She gives instructions for a mosaic patchwork window shade.

After turning over and basting the silk on the wrong side of the hexagons...
"The two are then exactly fitted and sewn together, according to the design."

Well, that's a little vague but the illustration is excellent, showing the whip stitching or over-and-over stitch in progress.

The stitching is about 60% done and it is done from the back with the pieces placed side by side.

Englishwoman Matilda Marian Pullan, who published in England and the United States, was not fond of hexagonal patchwork but she gave instructions more than once.
In The Lady's Manual of Needlework, 1859.
"If you are going to do a large piece of work, it is well worth procuring a die for stamping out a pattern of each of the sections, as you thus attain an accuracy hardly otherwise procurable. With this you stamp out a number of pieces of stout writing paper; and then cover one side of each with the material, turning over the edges, and tacking them round. They are sewed together, on the wrong side, in their proper places, and the papers are generally, but not always, afterwards withdrawn."
No how-to illustration.

She also co-authored Treasures in Needlework with Eliza Warren in 1855 showing this well-copied illustration of mosaic patchwork ideas.

Instructions were more austere: 
"The pattern should be placed before the person...several pieces arranged so as to form the design and the edges then neatly sewing under."
Most references I found do not tell the reader exactly how to stitch these.
Englishwomen's Sophia Caulfeild and Blanche Saward's 1882 Dictionary of Needlework:

"Take a dark coloured patch and sew round it six light patches."

Eliza Leslie's 1857 "American Girl's Book"
explains more about shading than technique.

"Sew together neatly over the edge, six of these patches, so as to form a ring."

I guess everybody knew how to do it.
 Their grandmothers showed them.

Instructions were not worth the type.

 Little Wide Awake Magazine in 1881 told you to lay the diamonds out "before you with the point towards you and then sew on to the right hand...another of darker color." 
Are we supposed to join them on the front? Illustrations would help.

So why do we do it this way?

I'm going to credit Averil Colby

She wrote the book on English Patchwork in 1958

And was quite a devotee of hexagon patchwork herself.
These scraps by her are from the Quilt Museum in the U.K.

And this is how she told you to do it.

Well, you can do it any way you want but I have been doing it the way Jane Croly showed it

Placing the pieces side by side and stitching from the back.

Stitches don't show and it goes faster.

I learned this method from Karen Tripp in her video on the "flat backstitch" method of joining
paper pieced shapes. 

And a P.S.
Here's one of the patterns Matilda Pullan thought you might prefer to hexagons.


And this Mrs. Pullan pattern has always puzzled me.
Just how would you sew this with the good sides together?

Complex designs would work much better if you laid out the pieces adjacent to each other in pairs and flipped the pair over to sew.