Saturday, February 26, 2022

Wool Quilts


Most of the pictures are from online auctions unless otherwise captioned.

It's still February around here---the reason people made wool quilts.

Nebraska Historical Society
Marie Tejkova Prokopek (1869-1940)

Here are some favorites from the files made of the heavy
suiting wools widely available from about 1890-1950.

Some were made from samples.

Other sources: household sewing scraps,
worn out clothing,
factory cutaways.

They can be rather austere and minimal:

Columbia Gorge Museum
Or monuments to late Victorian taste

when embroidered

Dated 1909
and/or appliqued.

Dated 1906

They're relatively easy to date: 
Wool fabrics (with cottons and some mixed fibers)
often embellished with simple embroidery or complex.
Sometimes quilted but usually tacked.

Tied wool crazy quilt dated 1890
They grew out of the wildly fashionable crazy quilt style with
wools substituting for earlier silks as silk became relatively more
expensive and hard to find with global politics.

Dated 1892

Dated 1899

I'd conservatively date these wool, tied pieces to after 1890.
In the 1880s there was plenty of silk available.

Dated 1942

People continued to make warm wool bedcovers into the 1950s.

Dated 1959
But the detail was a thing of the past.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

George Washington Anniversary Quilt & the Walker Family


It's George Washington's birthday---at least the
day Americans celebrated it for years.

February 22, 1932 was the 200th anniversary of
his birth.

It's always good to celebrate a President
who "cannot tell a lie."

To celebrate the bicentennial birthday Lydia LeBaron Walker who did a syndicated needlework column for the Bell Syndicate offered a series of patterns for a medallion quilt called The Washington Patchwork Quilt or Washington Anniversary Quilt.

Every few weeks the column pictured a part of the pattern, which had to be ordered from the newspaper's address.

Relatively few newspapers seem to have carried the Walker column, written by Lydia and Mary
Evangeline Walker. Mary did the illustrations and Lydia the copy and research. Lydia may have been Mary E.'s mother Lydia LeBaron Holmes Walker but a third family member, Mary's sister, was also named Lydia LeBaron Walker. The younger Lydia's birth name was Lydia Mabel Walker (1895-1986) but she changed it, perhaps to take advantage of her mother's reputation as a writer. Lydia Jr. was a playwright and theater director. It's quite confusing.

They're buried together in Fairhaven, Bristol County, Massachusetts.
Mother: Lydia LeBaron Holmes Walker 1869-1958
Daughters: Mary Evangeline Walker Landy 1894-1957
Lydia LeBaron Walker Jr. (!) 1895-1986. She never married.

In their quilt a second center motif was to be pieced.

We don't know which Walker designed the quilt--- Mary Evangeline was an accomplished professional artist.

Mary Evangeline Walker Landy (1894-1957) in 1934

But then again, just because you can paint portraits doesn't mean
you can design a quilt.

They recycled the hatchet design at least three times calling
it Tree & Truth

Negative/Positive Hatchets

And here it is in the center of a crib quilt from an online auction.
Not an improvement on the original.

Carrie Hall of Leavenworth, Kansas redrew the center
for her quilt, now in the collection of the Spencer Museum
of Art at the University of Kansas.

Hers is an improvement.

And these are the only two quilts I have seen made from the
Walker's 1932 design.

The inner border was a pieced Cherry Tree.

BlockBase+ #838

One problem with a pair of designers seems to have been
coordinating ideas. The trees above are not the same grid
as in some other pictures. Quibble, quibble, quibble.

Hall's Cherry Tree Border
She turned all the trees the same direction.

Lydia's needlework area was rugs rather than quilts.

1923 article by mother LLBW. 
She published a 472-page book Homecraft Rugs in 1929,
containing everything you  need to cover the floors in your Colonial Revival home.

More recycling---This might be why so few
newspapers used their columns. Same thing over and over.
But Mary Evangeline's drawings were attractive and trendy.

The outer pieced border is a traditional album block
 they called Washington Pavement.

BlockBase+ 2813a, which the Ladies' Art Company
published as Washington Sidewalk.

Hall pieced it in blue and white.

I've thought about doing a version for years---minus the hatchets.

You'd need cherries

And George.

And maybe a Washington Wreath

Mary Evangeline's obituary in the
Boston Globe, 1957

See more Washington Bicentennial quilts at this post:

And if you'd like to read more about the Walkers their papers are in the New Bedford Whaling Museum. They are from a New Bedford Quaker family.