Saturday, October 31, 2020

Political Quilt from 1932


Political commentary in an earlier election

The Johnson County Kansas Museum is showing this marvelous quilt from the early 1930s in an exhibit opening next week.

The 1932 election was between Herbert Hoover & Franklin D. Roosevelt,
quite recognizable here. Roosevelt won 42 states; Hoover 6.

Estella Bell Graves-Smith (1871-1963) lived in Olathe, Kansas, near Kansas City, where she read the local newspaper the Kansas City Star. According to the family story: "She saved the cartoons from The Star, traced them with pencil, and then hand-stitched the cartoons into a quilt top! "

She embroidered about 36 cartoons, alternating with blocks of plain fabric featuring a quilted wreath.

Democrat's donkey and Republican's elephant on Hoover's Washington farm.

A post-election sentiment.

Copied from a November 10, 1932 cartoon by the Star's
resident cartoonist Silvey J. Ray.

S.J. Ray (1891-1970) was Estella's collaborator.

Many quiltmakers looked to the Kansas City Star for inspiration but no one else checked the editorial page.
A similar political comment from the early 1930s:
Texan Fanny B. Shaw's Prosperity is Just Around the Corner

In the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art

The Johnson County Museum will be showing two dozen of their quilts in Common Threads opening November 7, up through January 23, 2021.
I'll get over there in November and see if I can get more pictures.


And I am doing a virtual program for the museum in their History on Tap series:  "Quilts on the Kansas Frontier" on November 12 at 6:00 Central Time. I think you have to bring your own beer this year.

Check their Facebook page for registration information.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Colleen's Grandmothers Choice

Colleen Yarnell of North Carolina brought her Grandmother's Choice sampler with her four years ago when she voted. It was so cold she was glad to have it to keep her warm in more ways than one. She followed the 2012 Block of the Week we did to recall women's fight to vote.

She plans to have a new version of the blocks celebrating the women's suffrage battle to take with her this year when she goes to vote.

She asked quilters from around the world to send her blocks finishing to 6".

As Michelle Obama told us: Pack a lunch (and a quilt to keep you warm) on November 3rd.

For the Centennial of Women's Suffrage in the U.S. we are re-posting the blocks for the Grandmother's Choice quilt. We're up to Block 42 of 49 this year. Check out Facebook page here: Ask to join:

For this year's quilt Julie Willis is doing a Wild Women version.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Colonial Rose: A Really Good Idea

An early 20th-century quilt

From Cindy's Antiques

It's not easy to come up with anything new in American applique design
but here is a pattern you do not see in the 19th century.

What makes this different from traditional, older roses
is the shape of the central flower....

...based on heart shapes rather than a single simple floral.

But more than that the floral has a distinctive border.

Swags with a deep loop in the corners.

From the Wyoming project & the Quilt Index

Common names are Rose of Sharon and Ohio Rose.

Colonial Rose is the name
given to it by the woman who designed the basic pattern.

Ladder back chairs and crazy quilts....

(No colonial needleworker ever made one but you know
how important the colonial image was in the early 20th century.)
Martha Washington, etc.

The pattern was probably invented by women at the St. Louis
Fancywork Company who worked to combine colonial and modern---
a historical mishmash---but this design really appealed to quiltmakers.

One often sees the design in cotton sateen (a satin weave with
extra yarns floating on the top to reflect light.) I wonder if the sateen versions
were not sold as kits.

Mountain Mist has a variation they call Ohio Rose with a different border.

Not nearly so dramatic though.

From Cindy's Antiques, the Mountain Mist Ohio Rose

There were many variations of block and border

Helen F. Spencer Museum of Art at the
University of Kansas

Carrie Hall called this version with longer stems Topeka Rose.

From my Encyclopedia of Applique

You may be able to identify the pattern source by the border details.

The St. Louis Fancywork Company had two good ideas, the
block and the border. Their pattern seems to date to the 1910 decade.

When this third idea, pastel colors for applique, was also innovative.

Celia Pardue Hyde knew a good idea when she saw it and
entered her cotton sateen Louisiana Rose in the 1933 Sears quilt contest
at the World's Fair where she won a prize.

Monday, October 19, 2020

Seattle Quilt Show: 1927

Detail of an album sampler quilt with a scalloped edge

You missed a good quilt show in Seattle. The Post-Intelligencer
decided to hold a contest for antique quilts in 1926 and 1,600 old quilts were entered
They hung 100 in January, 1927

They published a small catalog with black and white pictures. You can view it online at this link:


Old-time quilts;: A collection of old-time quilt patterns chosen from entries in the Post-intelligencer quilt show January, 1927 [Redington, Bernice Orpha] 

Prizes of silver cups were awarded 
(I have to say the judges' taste was mysteriously dull.)

This neat but mundane pieced design won the sweepstakes.
Perhaps the green and pink color scheme seemed innovative.

Sophie Johns's silk quilt won her a silver cup.

Perhaps Mrs. Seabury was married to the lawyer Howard Seabury of Skagit County. His mother Eliza Wakesham Seabury (1852- 1909) immigrated from England to Nebraska with her family in 1855, which may be a clue into this unusual pictorial. 

A few more, with names recorded in 1926.

A Moss Rose

Julie Silber showed this one at a 1981 Oakland Museum exhibit

Similar quilts with different names, showing the persistence
of the names Rocky Mountain and Crown of Thorns for the
design we call New York Beauty.
A Baltimore album, loaned by Mrs. Johnson,
making it hard to find as I believe Johnson is the
most common surname in the US.

Another Baltimore quilt; this one has been traced to the present day.

When Nancy Ann Twelker and friends did a Washington state project
they came across it again.

From Women and Their Quilts: A Washington State Centennial Tribute 
Nancyann Johanson Twelker 1988

The family believed it to have been made as a gift for Mary Jane Pierre Robertson (about 1817-1875) by members of her Rebekah Lodge in Baltimore when she and her family left for the west coast. Although they intended to settle in California they found a farm on Whidbey Island where William Robertson became the light house keeper.

The center wreath includes a picture of the first Baltimore lodge built by the fraternal organization The  Oddfellows at the corner of North Gay & Orange Streets.

The first building was expanded in 1852 with the Tower Building added
but one can see the original facade with its triple bay of windows
before the Gothic overlay was added.

Collection of the International Quilt Museum.
Quilt with the same building before the addition signed
Mrs. E. E. Cooke.

The Robertson quilt with its alternating applique blocks
is now in the collection of the Thomas Wildey Museum,
a small Odd Fellow's museum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Back to the catalog:

The first prize for applique went to a "Poinsettia"
in blue and white. It may have been the sheer number
of dots that influenced the choice. The eagle border is