Friday, October 24, 2014

Virtual Sample Spree: Free Union Blues Fabric

Union Blues:
My newest collection for Moda

Jelly Roll of strips cut to 2-1/2"

Sample Spree is one of the craziest events at
quilt market.

The fabric companies bring sample bundles of the
new lines they are showing and sell them
to market attendees for a short period of time.

The Moda sample booth is always nuts!

The reason it's so crazy---besides the Moda people---
is that the samples are 6 months ahead of the shipping date,
You get things NOBODY else has.

We still recall when someone stepped on
Karla's head to get at a Jelly Roll bundle.

I'm having a virtual sample spree today for all you
virtual market goers.

I have some pre-cut bundles so I will send you free fabric.

I'll give away a Jelly Roll and a Layer Cake of
Union Blues---Six months ahead of the March, 2015 shipping date.

1) Comment before midnight October 24. Tell us if you've ever been to Sample Spree.
2) One comment per person
3) Be sure I can find your email address so I can contact you.
4) I will do some arithmetical thing to choose the winners.
5) I'll announce winners tomorrow.

Now, be polite and do not step on anyone's head.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Houston Quilt Market 2014

My virtual Quilt Market booth for October, 2014

Quilt shop buyers and other quilt world professionals are in Houston this week for the annual Quilt Market in which designers show off their new stuff for spring.

To market, to market....

Moda will be revealing my newest reproduction prints---Union Blues--- scheduled to be shipped to shops in March, 2015.

I'm not going to Houston but I like to plan a virtual booth and invite you all to come by on the internet.

I've invited this Civil-War-era seamstress who works for a sewing machine company to welcome visitors. Her usual job is to demonstrate a machine from about 1865, but I've asked her to show how to chain-piece triangles, a skill that will be useful in making the Union Blues kit quilt.

No! She will not tell you how many
triangles you will need to piece to make this
spectacular quilt. This
project is one where you focus on the
pleasure of the process.

We're giving you a nice range of 19th-century blues
in this new collection.

Click here to see more about Union Blues:

 More tomorrow.

Monday, October 20, 2014

New Museum Catalogs: Antique Quilts & Fabric

Four Centuries of Quilts: The Colonial Williamsburg Collection

by Linda Baumgarten and Kimberly Smith Ivey

Colonial Williamsburg's impressive quilt collection has finally been documented in a catalog. Not only that, the curators in charge are two of the most knowledgeable working today. It's a must-have. (In case anyone is thinking about holiday gifts....)

Star quilt made by members of the Jones or the Terry families
mid-19th century.
Collection of Colonial Williamsburg.

Published by Yale University Press, it's 368 pages with 320 color pictures in hard-cover format. $75.00

Read more at the Colonial Williamsburg site:

...which says:

"Fascinating essays by two noted scholars trace the evolution of quilting styles and trends as they relate to the social, political, and economic issues of their time."
This catalog is available on line from the bookstore and other retail sites.

Medallion Quilt 
Made by Ludwell Harrison Goosley (1754-1813)
 and her daughters.
Early-19th century.
Collection of the D.A.R. Museum

And just as important is a catalog from the D.A.R. Museum:

Eye on Elegance: Early Quilts of Maryland and Virginia by Alden O'Brien

This catalog of the exhibit currently on display at the Museum in Washington D.C. is over 150 pages with pictures of every quilt in the show. It is scheduled to arrive December, 2014. Price $35. You can pre-order by calling the museum shop.

Read more here:

Here's what the webpage says:

"The item is not available for online purchase. Please call (202) 879-3208 to order."

So you'd better call NOW.

And you have to have this one too.... 
Linda Eaton's new edition of the Winterthur Museum's
Printed Textiles: British and American Cottons & Linens 1700-1850.

Florence Montgomery's catalog of Winterthur textiles
has been the authoritative book on early furnishing prints for 45 years.

Peter Floud  & Florence Montgomery

The original was by Textile Curator Florence Montgomery, who received a good deal of assistance from Peter Floud, curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The original was fabulous but it was black and white for the most part.

This new catalog in full color and with new findings is a necessity. Price: $85

Here's what the Winterthur gift shop says:
"Take the 'bones' of a classic volume, rewrite with updated and newly researched material, add 450 glorious color images, and you have the makings of a new standard in the field: Printed Textiles: British and American Cottons and Linens, 1700-1850. Author Linda Eaton, the John L. & Marjorie P. McGraw Director of Collections and Senior Curator of Textiles at Winterthur, has produced the worthy sequel to Florence Montgomery?s 1970 publication, Printed Textiles."

Here's a link to the Winterthur Museum shop:

See a preview at Amazon:

A smaller catalog has been published by the Denver Art Museum, featuring quilts in their current exhibit. First Glance - Second Look: Quilts from the Collection is available on line. Price: $10.95.

"A fully illustrated exhibition companion catalog contains close ups and details of the quilts on view as well as additional information, comparative examples, and a brief history of the Denver Art Museum quilt collection."

Competition Quilt, late 19th century.
Collection of the Denver Art Museum

Friday, October 17, 2014

Richmond Reds: Bloomington

Document print for the Bloomington
fabric in my Richmond Reds collection
for Moda

The original print here was a shirting print done in two shades of red on white, a very common
19th-century style found in clothing and quilts.

If you compare the original to the reproduction
you will notice several differences. We toned
down the shades so this small print would
fit in with the larger prints in the line. We call this
colorway "Aged."

We also changed the figure's set. The original was
a directional print. The leaves all went one way.

This directionality is not often desirable in patchwork
or clothing construction. For a garment one has to 
"buy extra fabric," as the patterns always warn. 

Fabric has to be wasted if the prints have to go one way as in the stripe above. In a quilt one has to plan for the directionality. Non-directional prints are generally more useful.

Why Bloomington?
Another pretty name. Here's Bloomington, Indiana
in the mid-19th-century.

Denniele Bohannon has used the Rebel Red
colorway for the background of this experiment
in 3-dimensionality. She's also used the other two
colorways as mediums and lights.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DAR Museum: Eye on Elegance Quilt Exhibit

Detail of Applique Flower Basket Quilt 
by Anna Catharine Hummel Markey Garnhart, 
date-inscribed 1849

For those who are fascinated by early quilts, the show of the year is now open at the Museum of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington D.C.

Eye on Elegance: Early Quilts of Maryland and Virginia opened October 3rd and will be on view through September 5, 2015.

Mathematical Star by Amelia Heiskell Lauck 
and/or Eliza Jane Sowers Lauck 

Alden O’Brien, Curator of Costume and Textiles, looks at quilts from Maryland and Virginia with a focus on quilts from 1790 to 1860. She found room in the gallery for 36 spectacular examples. 

Over the past few years Alden and a team of volunteers have done a good deal of research on these elegant quilts, building on the work of past curators such as Gloria Seaman Allen and Nancy Gibson.

Because it is the D.A.R., the museum emphasizes genealogy research, so the information about the makers goes far beyond the typical museum label.

Go to the online exhibition to get a glimpse of how great this exhibit is.

You'll start planning your trip to the nation's capital right away. 

The DAR Museum is across the street from the White House, quite an impressive neighborhood.

Read a guest post by Alden on her research on this blog last year:

Alden and I have been interested in an important detail of the attribution of the quilt...The "and/or" part of the label. 

Applique Flower Basket Quilt 
by Anna Catharine Hummel Markey Garnhart, 
date-inscribed 1849

Read some of my thoughts about the work of A.C.H.M. Garnhart at this post:

And see videos in the online exhibit:

Here's a link to a list of YouTube videos from the DAR

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Fan Fad Evolves

I was looking to make a case for a date on a fan quilt so
I went through my file of date-inscribed quilts to help make
that point that fancy fans were earlier than more utilitarian quilts.

Collection of the San Jose Quilt Museum dated
The earliest fan blocks I found were several in early crazy
quilts dated 1882 and 1883. Some of these early crazy
quilts had one fan, but this one has four in the corners.

Signed 1884 Emily Sprague, Mattwan NY

In the early 1880s the fan showed up as a repeat block, usually of silks and wools with the same kind of elaborate embroidery stitches and pictures seen on crazy quilts in the 1880s.

The fancy embroidery continued into the 1890s.

1893 Mount Carmel 
Collection of the Smithsonian Institution


1894 Ima Frank Richie, Virginia

1896 Quilt Index North Carolina project
Many of the late 19th-century examples in the file
show variety and skill in the embroidery. The fabrics were elegant
silk and wool scraps in show quilt style.

1896 Duglas Acres
 Here's a signature quilt with many names, and little decorative embroidery

The look is more austere but that
ruffle indicates it is more for show than for warmth.

In the late 1890s changes occur.
One change is that the fans are often combined into
circles or wheels. 

Another is that the silks begin to vanish from the scrap bag,
replaced by more everyday wools. This is probably explained
by the changes in international trade in silk, making the scraps
 less available.


R.B. 1903

While embroidery continues, the trend is towards less variety...
More of this feather stitch or briar stitch.
Fewer unusual or complex stitches. 
Pictorial embroidery becomes scarcer.

1903 Columbia County Pennsylvania

1905 or 1906

Four fan blocks
equal what we call a Dresden Plate or Wheel

1905 Grandma

1909 William

1912 Lizzie Miller
There is less skill in the embroidery as the new century passes.

1912 Mother

Here's the last one in the dated quilt file that looks to be show quilt style,
nicely embroidered, although without much variety.

And dated 1918

Another big change in the 1890s was
the switch from wool and silk to cotton.
Red and white fans are often seen. Embroidery was rarely added to cotton.

This sampler, dated 1893, is a style affected by the coming of the commercial pattern purchased
through the mail.

I had no fan or wheel quilts dated in the 1920s, which could mean that people were less likely to sign and date their quilts in the 1920s or that the fan fad had played out.

In the 1930s  we see a new style.

Each of these three in the pastel cotton scrap look is
dated 1930

New look, new fad.
Style changes that are useful in dating fan quilts
Here we have one with the numerals "81" in a corner.

Someone thought this meant 1881 but the quilt looks nothing like
the other fans or wheels from the 19th century.

It's probably 1930-1950, when the new-fashioned fans were so popular. That 81 embroidered in white could be the maker's age,or she might have kept count of the quilts she made.
It does not mean 1881 or 1981. The style just doesn't fit those dates.