Monday, December 31, 2018

Queen Victoria Fabric & Patterns

China plate celebrating the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840.

I used this sweet portrait (does it look like either of them?)
to make a fabric repeat for some commemorative fabric.

Print this JPG on an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of treated fabric
on your ink jet printer.

I've been working on four prints for the Stars in Her Crown Quilt Along that starts here on Saturday.

Polka dots always good.

In the old days when I worked for a fabric company they had fabulous graphic artists who took care of repeat, clarity, print size, etc. I just had to come up with one image. I'm trying to learn how to do all that other designing myself.

I'm also experimenting with Spoonflower, the online custom fabric printing service. 

Here's one of the four designs I've done, vignette portraits of Victoria, Albert
and the nine children. Spoonflower pictures a fat quarter here.

Here's my Spoonflower fabric shop, Material Culture:

You pick a design, a fabric and choose how many yards (or fat quarter yards) you want.
The quilt weight cottons range from $17.50 to $20.00 a yard.

I'm still experimenting with scale and clarity but see what's up there.

It's frustrating to realize how little reproduction fabric is available now and it's because the current market is so small (you and I). I figure the future is custom fabric printed on demand. I'll keep you posted.

And speaking of On Demand:
I've made a 16-page pattern for all the blocks and the border in the Stars in Her Crown series.
You can buy it in my Etsy shop. See the links to a paper pattern or a PDF to print yourself.

The paper pattern through the mail: $15

A PDF to print yourself: $10

Another wedding portrait in transfer ware

Friday, December 28, 2018

Stars in Her Crown Quilt Along---Next Week

Perhaps we occasionally ARE amused.

This should be fun!
Stars in Her Crown: Victoria's Royal Children

A Quilt Along with a weekly pieced pattern for 10 weeks, January-March, 2019 here at the Material Culture blog on Saturdays in the winter. The first block will be posted Saturday January 5, 2019. If you subscribe to the blog by email you'll probably get an email on Sunday.

Each block is named for one of Queen Victoria’s nine royal children. Weekly posts include short biographies of the children with suggestions for reading more about their lives, their family relationships and their influence on 20th-century Europe.

Nine blocks based on triangles

We have a FaceBook group: StarsInHerCrownQuiltAlong. Ask to join and I'll be glad to OK you. (It's not like being presented at Court---everybody gets in.) Click here:

Paper Piece the Weekly Blocks Or Cut Templates

Each pattern is a square in two sizes. Choose 8" or 12".

Example from Block 2
You'll work in triangles, 8 for each block.
You can piece the triangles over a paper foundation
or use the pattern to make templates.

Block 5
You can see that beginners will be challenged, but if you have some
skills in paper piecing or template piecing you will want to try it.

For Paper Piecing:
By the time you are finished with the 9 blocks you'll be a paper piecing paragon.
  • Print the square so you have 4 copies.
  • Cut each square into 2 right triangles with a diagonal cut on the line.
  • You need 8 triangles, 4 going one direction, 4 the other.
  • Piece the fabrics to the triangles leaving a quarter inch seam allowance around the edges.
For Template Piecing:
  • Print one copy of the pattern sheet.
  • Use the triangles for templates. Note Piece A, the edge triangle in a blue violet above is the same for all the blocks and border so you need to make that template only once for all 9 blocks.
  • Add seams when cutting fabric.
  • Cut 4 each of A, then flip the template over and cut 4 more.
  • Do the same for B & C, etc.
  • Join the pieces into triangles.
  • Then assemble triangles into 4 squares.
  • And join the four squares.

You might want to place marks on some of the rather odd shaped triangles so you know how to match seams. Pattern makers traditionally use small arrow points.

Becky Brown's fabric choices

Read more about fabric and the patterns here:

For the 12" blocks I'd buy:
Background: Neutral or statement-1-1/2 yards
10 related fat quarters if you want a lot of variety
Or 5 half yards for a less scrappy look.
For the 8" blocks---Maybe 3/4 of a yard for the background.
           6 fat quarters

1877 The Royal Mob
From Frank Leslie's Newspaper & the Library of Congress

You'll learn perhaps more than you want to about Queen Victoria---a difficult woman revealed in  her letters. She like her contemporaries was hard on her children, hypercritical, picking favorites, playing them against each other, not speaking to them (for 7 months at a time!) etc.

Her great grief at her husband's death when she was 42 caused her to become even more erratic and difficult. But she did recover, something mentioned in her kind consolation to newly-widowed eldest Victoria the Princess Royal in 1888:
"May your children be some help, some comfort, as so many of mine were. Though at that time there was bitterness....I have now been a widow four years and a half more than I was a wife....After a time the sense of being of use to others made me wish again to live on." 

I will try to remember that letter, written when she was 69, as we look at her offspring who often  suffered from imperial parenting.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

The Noah's Ark Quilt

In 1906 Jean Thompson, writing in the women's magazine The Delineator, took an easy journalistic path and hung her story about quilts on the cliche of a "lost art" with her memories of a quilting grandmother. At the end of the article featuring photos of quilt patterns, she pictured "The Noah's Art Quilt" with a photo of a block from what might have been a family quilt.

Snakes, frogs and 8-legged insects?

"The 'Noah's Ark' quilt is an extremely old one, and different animals, known and imaginary, were lavishly scattered over the entire background of the spread; truly it was enough to give one a nightmare, and to a childish imagination a thing of terror."

She sounds like she might have been glad quilting was a lost art.

Collection of Geoffrey Carr: About 1900
In the lower right.
" For Daniel
 Love Grandma"

Was a "Noah's Ark" quilt a common style? We certainly have enough surviving quilts with "different animals, known and imaginary." Some include the ark and Noah plus wife

Quilt dated 1853, Attributed to Lutheria Converse. Woodville, New York, detail
"A representation of the ark, Noah and family with a collection of the beasts, birds and insects."
I blogged about this one recently.

American Museum of Folk Art, attributed to Canada
Detail of another Noah's Ark with a crazy quilt border.

Center of a quilt once in America Hurrah's inventory

Currier & Ives print
The image of the ark with pairs of beasts and birds was
common iconography in 19th century America...

Rafia Noah's Ark
inspiration for generations of artists.

But are there Noah's Ark quilts we don't recognize as such because there is no boat?

Detail of Lucinda Ward Honstain's sampler
Collection of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum

Could Noah's Ark quilt be a generic name for a quilt full of beasts, birds and insects as in The Delineator article in 1906?

Quilt from the Blauvelt family, New York

Rosina Jobes, New York, 1849 detail

Pook & Pook Auction

Detail of a British quilt in the Victoria & Albert Museum called the Greek Slave Quilt.

A flurry of American newspaper articles about the Noah's-ark quilt copied an 1886 English feature about:
 "One of the fashionable things in fancy work: One began with "serge [wool], cloth [wool], satin sheeting or plain cream sheeting... designed and commenced by the lady who starts it. If she is a good worker, she embroiders or appliques the Noah's ark, which is near the centre of the quilt, but placed high up. The animals are all in couples, and form a long procession...marching toward the ark. Sometimes the procession is curved..."
 Broderie Perse top from the McCarl's collection
Perhaps inspired by the newspaper article.

 "The lady asks her friends and neighbors to work the pairs of animals....a lady volunteered to work two fleas, which she actually did, with wonderful care and dexterity."

A copy of a copy from the Philadelphia Record, paraphrasing the English feature and adding
a snide ending:

"Of course, much more ingenuity is required than in the crazy quilt, without which it would be a dismal failure. And then there is a question whether any of these quilts, involving such an outlay of labor, pays."
British quilt from Woodard & Greenstein's inventory

Quilt dated 1874 by Josephine Miller Adkins for John Adkins

Collection of the DAR Museum

Could these have been designed to entertain children---
well, those children who were not frightened of snakes?

Detail of a pair of giraffes, a pair of butterflies and a snake...
mixing Garden of Eden and Noah's Ark stories?

Perhaps a Noah's Ark quilt from Stella Rubin's inventory.

Detail of Harriet Powers's Bible Quilt
Collection of the Smithsonian Institution

Detail of Harriet Powers's Quilt
Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Past Perfect: Irene Blanck

Tribute to Lucy Kemper by Irene Blanck, detail

Irene with her Quiltmania book Focus on Applique

December's Past Perfect quiltmaker is Irene Blanck, another Australian interpreting our shared patchwork past.

Tribute to Lucy Kemper ,
inspired by a quilt in the DAR Museum

Irene began quilting about 1990 using published patterns but then began designing her own: "I enjoyed machine piecing for a long time until I got the taste for needle-turn appliqué."

What looks pieced is often appliqued in her quilts.

Chocolate Mint Sundae


Spring Promise inspired by an unfinished top by Rose Good
Kretsinger in the collection of the Spencer Museum of Art.

Green Acres

Irene recently did a tour of the U.S. with her trunk show and classes in applique technique. Rosemary Youngs snapped a lot of photos when she was in Illinois. See them at Rosemarys blog:

Detail of Joy

Miz Kelly

Bird's Eye View
The wheels in the border are applique.

Paradise of Birds BOM
I bet those squares are appliqued.
Irene's website: