Wednesday, November 27, 2019

New Editions: BlockBase & Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns

The old BlockBase program

A page from Electric Quilt:

"We are working on re-releasing the stand-alone BlockBase software in a new format (for Windows and Mac users) in 2020. Along with the re-release of the software, we are also re-publishing Barbara Brackman’s Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns!! We are so excited to work with Barbara on both of these projects." (And Vice Versa say I.)

Waylon and the old Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns

Instead of being just black and white sketches we are thinking
of a layout like this with colored blocks

But maybe we can include actual fabric blocks too.

I have plenty of vintage blocks

But what about new blocks....???
So here's what they say at EQ:

Be a Part of Our New Products!

We are looking for talented quilters to submit sewn blocks to be featured in the new software and throughout the new book. These blocks may also be used to promote the products in emails, print advertisements, and social media. We’d love for you to be a part of these products!
What we need:

It’s easy! Just find your favorite block (in BlockBase or in the original book) and sew it in your favorite fabrics! Once completed, print and fill out the form below and ship it with your block to our office.

Either edition of the book.

Block must be from the BlockBase software or the original Encyclopedia of Quilt Patterns book.
The block must have a Brackman number otherwise we will not use it. You can find this number in the Notecard of the software or next to the block image in the book.
The sewn block should be between 9″ to 12″ in size. Raw edges are fine and will add additional dimension, which is okay.
The sewn block does not need to be quilted, just pieced together.
The sewn block cannot be a variation of the original. The construction must match the block in the software/book.
Use any fabrics you want! Make it modern, make it fun, make it classy, make it patriotic — it’s completely up to you!
Print and fill out the form below.
Ship the block and the completed form to Electric Quilt using the address information included on the form
We will collect all the submissions and use what we can in the book (space is limited) and in the software as inspiration for other users of the new software. We will not return these blocks to you. We will keep them to use for continued promotion of both products.

Wait a minute!
Did that say you are keeping the blocks?
Yes, we are keeping the blocks.

On their page they have a place where you can 
Open and print submission form >
A PDF downloads that you can print out and mail with the block.
See the link here:   

Now, you may not want to give up your block. 

Think about making one anyway because we are going to continue to ask stitchers to submit blocks after the new editions are published. We already have a Facebook page and you can post pictures of your BlockBase/Encyclopedia blocks. Either the ones you are going to mail or ones you want to keep.

Here's the Facebook Page---BlockBaseBlox---ask to join. 
Find a block you've always wanted to make. Post it.
Or send it!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Past Perfect: Cynthia Collier

One of the hits at Houston Quilt Market's 40th Birthday Bash a few weeks ago was Cynthia Collier's exhibit of reproduction style quilts: Applique: The Timeless Beauty of Broderie Perse

She included several of her own.

The Caswell Quilt, appliqued by Cynthia Collier,
Quilter: Cindy Gravely
Pattern: Corliss Searcey

Cynthia lives near Houston, Texas
"I have always been in love with chintz quilts...inspired by reproduction fabrics and home furnishing material that allow me to create my version...."

Cynthia's Album appliqued by Cynthia Collier,
Quilter: Cindy Gravely

Her inspiration was the Fish Family quilt in the collection of the International Quilt Museum.
"I love them all, especially the appliqué ones. But, it was (and is) the chintz quilts of the early 1800s that always make my heart sing. I think when I look at them, 'I want to do that, too.' "
Cynthia from Windham---now that's an honor!
Name the line for your best customer.
"[When] Mary Koval designed a line of reproduction fabric a few years ago she did me the honor of naming it 'Cynthia' because she knows how much I love the large scale chintz fabrics."
Cynthia designs her own patterns and uses those by other reproduction fans.

Civil War Bride, collaboration between Corliss Searcey (pattern), Cynthia and quilter Denise Green.

It's always Cynthia's eye for fabric that sets her quilts apart.

Mary Stites Medallion from my America's Printed Fabrics book.

Old Voices, by Cynthia, Peggy Morton & Jonnie Nottingham
Quilter: Cindy Gravely

Adapted from patterns in Jeana Kimball's Old Voices, New Impressions. She and Peggy quilted "on shares," as it used to be called. Peggy made all the pieced blocks, Cynthia the appliqued. Each made two sets.

Cynthia also taught a class at Houston. Must have been fun. All that chintz.

Using a panel repro as a frame

Show and Tell

Anita M. Smith interviewed Cynthia for the Applique Society newsletter.

See many more pictures at Cynthia's Facebook page back in November.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Southern Spin: Kentucky Stars

19th-century quilt
Believed to be made by Lura Eyestone's mother. Donated to ISU Museum.

While looking through the Illinois Quilt Museum's collection on the Quilt Index I came across this silk star quilt.

It's seen better days; silk is so prone to deterioration. Jan Wass, former curator, noted it's predominantly green (although it looks brownish here) and bound with a pink silk ribbon.

Lura Eyestone is famous in Normal, Illinois where a one-room school museum is named for her. She was a teacher at Illinois State University in the first half of the 20th century.

The Lura Eyestone School is on the college campus.
Lucky for us Lura's mother blessed her with an odd name so she is easy to find in the digital world. I had a hunch as to where Lura was from based on the quilt's style.

But I was wrong. Lura was born in 1872 in Bloomington, Illinois, which is where she is buried. It doesn't look like an Illinois quilt. The quilt is probably older than Lura so what about her mother?

Her mother Martha M. Johnson Eyestone is
buried near her. Martha, born in 1853, could have made the quilt.
But the date is not so important to me as where it was made.

Find-a-Grave tells us:
BIRTH 2 Jan 1853 Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky

I KNEW IT! That is one Kentucky quilt. I bet Martha or someone in her family made that quilt in Kentucky.

Bardstown is in Nelson County southeast of Louisville and way southeast of 
Bloomington/Normal, Illinois.

Mountain Mist Pattern

A star with points of four diamonds always catches my eye as I am ever on the lookout for the missing Kentucky quilt that won the 1933 contest at the Chicago World's Fair, published as Star of the Bluegrass by Mountain Mist after the fair. Their pattern included a leaf pattern to stuff.

Quilt dated 1938 with stuffed work quilting
Made from the pattern published after the Fair.

Stars pieced of silk and quilted closely have a Kentucky connection.

The older Eyestone family quilt is in the same pattern as the 1933 World's Fair winner.

Jan noted that the blocks are unpieced and the stars are created out of the sashing between them,
the same as the winning quilt. The Eyestone star is quilted simply but densely with double or triple diagonal lines. No stuffed work, however.

Why do I think Kentucky? Here are two quilts that have formed my thinking:

Silk star of 4 diamonds per points made at the 
Morton home near Russellville, Kentucky.
Collection of the National Museum of American History-Smithsonian

Silk Star of 9 points with stuffed work in the plain squares, 1837-1850.
Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Attributed to
Ellen Morton Littlejohn & Margaret Morton Bibb.
Made at the Morton's Knob Plantation near Russellville, Kentucky

These quilts from Russellville are so much alike it is hard to keep them straight.

Not only are they elaborately stuffed
they feature similar stuffing patterns...
For example: the feathery leaf in the border area of the Smithsonian's quilt...

...also in the lower border rectangle visible here on the left side in the Met's quilt...

is similar to the stuffed work in the cotton 1933 World's Fair winner.
Here's a kit ready to piece into the stars.


One way I keep the two stuffed-work silk stars straight is by the star pattern: The Smithsonian's has 
four diamonds in the points

The Met's has nine.

I'm focusing here on the silk stars. The quilting deserves about six posts. It was done by two enslaved seamstresses, Ellen Morton Littlejohn (1826–1899) & Margaret Morton Bibb (ca. 1832–ca. 1910). Read more about them at the Met & NMAH links.

Merikay Waldvogel and I wrote a book on the winner in the 1933 World's Fair contest about 25 years ago. We still think about that quilt. When we saw the Littlejohn Quilt in the Met we were astonished at the similarities between it and the winner. The woman who entered the quilt in the 1933 fair (she commissioned it) must have seen the Littlejohn quilt.

See a post about the star pattern:

And see a post about more stuffed work quilts from Russellville, Kentucky.

Marti Phelps of Prince Frederick, Maryland made this small silk quilt inspired by 
the Smithsonian's quilts for an AQSG Quilt Study on stars.

 Kentucky had its own regional style within the general region of "South."

See our Facebook page: QuiltHistorySouth