Saturday, July 31, 2021

Paper Needlebooks

 I used to collect these post-World-War-II needlebooks when I spent my spare time in thrift stores, paying a quarter or even more. The graphics were weird and entertaining.

Often depicting sewing as a social event:
A mid-20-century Japanese view of the American customer.

They are a lot more expensive now but I still collect the pictures from online auctions.

And still weird.

There are also German versions

Sewing as Fun, fun, fun!

The strangest graphics connect sewing with the atomic age.

Space travel

And supersonic aircraft

Hah! If technology is so great how come needles don't have eyes
big enough that I can thread them?

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Sunny Yellow Dyes in QuiltMania


Quilt with Mineral Yellow Dye (Chrome Orange)
from my collection.

I have an article in the current QuiltMania (#144-July & August)

It's always a pleasure to work for editor and publisher Carol Veillon who has revamped the
look with plenty of large photos of quilts old and new. (Speaking of new---isn't that a great
background choice for the appliqued cover quilt by Barbie Mitchell?)

Carol looking very summery as does issue #144

where I wrote about the chrome colors orange and yellow.

Most of the photos are Carol's  with some from my files.

Like a detail from this late 19th /early 20th century quilt
 Sarah Schmidt's family in Alabama.

Here are more detail photos that didn't make the cut.
They illustrate some of the points in the article.

"The true yellow shade was sometimes called canary but the mills that relied upon it called the dye chrome yellow."

Chrome orange (we call it cheddar) loses color from
"acids which can draw out the orange leaving a pale yellow-green or white area."

"Mills did create a fashion for yellow-orange printed in fine lines on a white ground, which the eye reads as a pastel, like a butterscotch candy if we are going to continue to compare shades to food. ... The butterscotch yellow print is a good clue to the 1840-1890 era."

"Yellow-oranges also might turn brown, a chemical reaction to air pollution perhaps. Cabins heated with burning coal fires and city smogs seem to have had their effect."

See more about subscribing to QuiltMania or ordering this issue here:

Friday, July 23, 2021

Flora Delanica Posts 2020-21 Free Patterns


Heidi Kapszukiewicz's blocks
Flora Delanica block of the month

In October, 2021 we began a 12-block applique series inspired by the paper collages of 18th-century artist Mary Granville Delany. Free patterns are posted on the 15th of each month.

Link to the introduction with set and fabric suggestions:
#2 Rock Rose
Tong is setting hers on point

#3 Christmas Rose
Denniele Bohannon is using one large rectangle of
striped cotton for her background.

#4 Spanish Iris
Ilyse Moore is appliqueing wool to
a linen stripe.

#5 Sunflower
Christine Romero is using batik print cottons to great advantage.

#6 Purple Raspberry
Becky Brown is using hand dyed fabrics with accents of fussy-cut prints

#7 Summer Lily
Nancy Phillips, raw edge wools

#8 Calendula
Barbara Brackman---rather free form

#9 Corn Poppy
Deanna Street

#10 Cornflower by Becky Brown

#11 Damask Rose by Christine Romero

#12 by Becky Brown with Border in Progress
No pattern for the borders.

And here's a label you can print:

Our Facebook Group: MaryDelanyQuilt
Post your blocks and finished quilts there.

You can buy a PDF to download at my Etsy shop with all the patterns for $12.

We have our own Instagram page

And do post your pictures on the general Mrs D Instagram page #MaryDelany. They hardly post ANY needlework.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Remembering Barb Adams of Blackbird Designs

Barb Adams (1951-2021) 
by a Kansas City Star artist

Very sad to see that old friend Barb Adams left us in a blaze of fireworks on
this past Fourth of July---as long-time design partner Alma Allen noted.

From Celebration of American Life

Barb was one of the cleverest quilt designers of the past quarter century. She and Alma met in a quilt class Alma taught. 

Barb and Alma

Besides both wearing size 11 shoes they had much in common and formed a seamless partnership, establishing Blackbird Designs in the year 2000.

It's hard to tell who drew what. Barb's florals and colors seemed to me to have a more gothic garden ambience but....

They had much in common---including a rare way of combining
tradition and creativity.

They ALWAYS won "Best Booth" at Quilt Market

Barb's obituary tell us she and Alma designed 32 lines of fabric for Moda.
The Blackbird fabrics and books were extremely successful, creating a style. 

Both enjoyed cross stitch and were as successful in that area as in quilt design offering both traditional patterns...

And updates.

She's a woman who will be sorely missed.

See her obituary with a clever theme of her favorite Beatles songs:

I did a post about her a few years ago:

Alma now lives in Colorado. Read her tribute here: