Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Traveling Quilt, Can you Help?

My Quilt Hanging at Seminar
My 2014 American Quilt Study Group Civil War Era Study quilt was chosen to travel for exhibit the next four years.  

What's an AQSG study quilt?  Click HERE to read to the guidelines.

With permission, I am adopting an idea from Racheldaisy, of Blue Mountain Daisy's blog.

Here's where you can help!

If you visit a venue where my quilt is on display, will you take some pictures and email them to me?  I am making a journal to go with my quilt.  It can be whatever inspires you!  You with the quilt, my quilt next to other quilts, the building etc...feel free to be creative.
From the first stitch of the quilt, to the time it arrives back home it will be a six year journey!

Exhibit Travel Schedule:
Quilt on my wall before Milwaukee

  • February to June of 2015 
    Monroe County History Center, Bloomington IN
  • July 1 to October 2015
    New England Quilt Museum
  • November 2015 to March 1, 2016
    Virginia Quilt Museum
  • March 11-13, 2016 
    The Dallas Quilt Show
  • April 1 to July 30, 2016
    Quilter's Hall of Fame, Marion, Indiana
  • September 15 to December 15, 2016
    Northern Michigan University, DeVos Art Museum
  • December 20 to February 20, 2017
    Baldwin Reynolds House Museum, Meadville, PA
  • March 1 to May 31, 2017
    Gilbert Historical Museum, Gilbert AZ
  • June 2017 to October 20, 2017
    Rocky Mountain  Quilt Museum, Boulder, CO
  • November 1 to February 28, 2018
    Sheerer Museum of Stillwater, Stillwater, OK
  • June 1 to August, 2018
    La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum, LaConner, WA

Antique Inspiration Quilt

My inspiration quilt was chosen because it had a patriotic theme for the 1850-1865 time period.  By current judged quilt show standards it also has an unusual layout.   The unique setting with the central flag appealed to me. 
I was fortunate the owner of the quilt, Jeananne Wright, generously allowed me to borrow the treasured original.  I took close up photographs of the quilt including each star, the flag, binding and backing.  On the photos I added observational notes on thread, fabric and stitching.

In designing my reproduction I reduced the size to fit within the study guidelines and to have a wall size quilt.  It was important to me that I used the same layout as the original and incorporated what we might consider mistakes using today’s aesthetic quilt standards.  The layout includes omitted sashing, partial stars and cut off star points.  In executing the design I stitched the entire quilt by hand as the original maker did.   I used 100% cotton fabric, batting, light and dark thread to replicate the materials of the time.
My quilt in process - completely hand stitched
The quilts central flag design inspired me to research the use of flags in American history.  The American flag was changing during the study period (1850-1865) with the split between the north and south as well as the admission of new states to the union.  Patriotism ran high during the Civil War.  Numerous military flags were used in the civil war in both the north and the south.  There were numerous flags for infantry, cavalry, and artillery regiments and battalions. The navy also used multiple national flag styles.  Brigades, divisions and corps also carried designation flags.  In some cases flags were homemade and presented to the military companies.  Flags were protected by a color guard of a regiment’s most experienced noncommissioned officers.  A flag was also a rallying point in the confusion of battle.

Stars on the original quilt 
Flags are enormously important in the history of our nation.  Seeing the stars and stripes in any form evokes strong emotion and sentiment.  The maker of the inspiration quilt identified with a particular flag design that was important to capture and preserve in a quilt.  Imagine the anonymous makers surprise if he/she could see it now."

It is a stunning exhibit and I didn't have nearly enough time to see it in Milwaukee.  I am hoping to catch it at least once as it travels, I hope you can too. 
Thank you!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Zieber Quilts

I am pleased to introduce my Quilt Study friend Leah Zieber.

Leah has launched a new website including:

  • Blog
  • Pattern Line
  • Historical Fiction Book
  • You can follow her writing on bloglovin'

I first met Leah when I belonged to Repiecers Quilt Study Group in southern California.  Her writing is well researched and her passion for antique quilts is evident.

Please take some time and visit Leah's website, and leave her a comment on her blog.
Click HERE.

Happy Reading!


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

New England Comforter

Detail of fabric and ties from my NE Comforter
In September I attended the American Quilt Study Group's annual seminar.  This year the annual seminar was held in Milwaukee.  I filled my schedule with three full days of quilt study.

Besides the special exhibits, bed turnings and study quilts there are tours and study centers.  One of the study centers I thoroughly enjoyed was, "New England Comforters:  From the Homely to the Elegant" by Lorie Chase.

 I thought I had one in my collection, as I inspected it after returning home - I was right!

Scrappy, planned arrangement
AQSG Study Center Description:

"Comforters showed up in New England estate inventories in the late 18th century and increased in popularity in the 19th century.  They graced milady's boudoir in the 20th century and became dreaded wedding gift from aunties by mid-century.  Based on a survey of early estate inventories, focused discussion, and analysis of a collection of comforters participants will place comforters in the bedding context and explore their materials, workmanship, use, aesthetics, ownership and value.  Together we will better understand their place in quilt history"

This is a picture of a portion of my New England comforter.
Most obvious at first is the planned color arrangement.  A scrappy, yet thoughtfully arranged and creative comforter.

Fabric and tie detail 

On closer examination, once you get past the wonderful early fabrics, note the color of ties change - in a secondary design element.  It is tied with knots to the front with blue and white wool yarn.
My comforter is in like new condition.  Perhaps in cold New England winters it was sandwiched between layers of bedding - protecting it from wear?
After sharing photos of my comfort with Lorie, she has this exact fabric in one of her comforters.

Shadowy picture - the comforter is really pristine, filled with great fabrics

My example is made to accomodate a four poster bed.  In this photo, the comforter is folded in half.

The nothches allow for the coverlet to drape around the bottom bed posts, rather than bunch up at the corners.

It has deep drop (approx. 24") to still cover the sides of the bed once the sleepers are in bed.  The solids still retain their original glaze.  The maker used many scraps and creatively made it all work.

I have several four poster style quilts in my collection.

I also have a four poster bed in one of the guest rooms - so nice to dress the bed in an antique quilt or comforter.  Years ago I bought a hand tied canopy for the bed.  It had finials to use without the canopy frame.

Rows of ties by color

In the study center, after the presentation,  we broke into small groups and spent time with numerous comforters and examined them up close, hand on.

Using what we learned - we made informal presentations to the group with our assigned example.  The small group I was in had an early example with glazed chintz.  Even the back had been pieced with early chintz examples.

As other groups presented their examples we saw; cottons, velvets, wools and silks.  All tied, numerous edge finishes, creative layouts and piecing, backs that could be fronts - or was the front the back?

Great discussion ensued and much was learned.
I was so engrossed I didn't take any pictures.
I am happy I had an example to share with you.

Have a great week!
If you have a tied comforter please leave a comment and tell us all about it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Month 10 Matilda's Pineapple

Mix of prints and solids
This isn't the setting or layout for the blocks, I just wanted you to see all the blocks together through month 10.
Thank you for joining this journey, if you are stitching or reading along.

Month ten is ready.  Plenty of surprise blocks left.  We tried to bundle the monthly sets with at least one surprise block.

This evening I was speculating how Matilda felt when she saw the quilt completed.
Applique bands on the pineapple block

The three Noah and Matilda blocks for month ten include a potted cactus, a Mexican rose and a pineapple.

In Matilda's colonial America, pineapples were both symbolic (hospitality), as well as a food delicacy.  Having a pineapple on her quilt and home may have been a rarity.  But then, the cactus isn't a common 1850's applique pattern either.

My pineapple applique bands

In the 1850's most entertaining was done in homes.   Creative food displays were popular for formal dinners.  Pineapples are visually attractive in a centerpiece, they were rare and expensive - if available at all in 1850.  The pineapples imported from the Caribbean Islands were candied chunk, glazed and packed in sugar.  An actual whole fruit was even harder to obtain.  They did show up in markets (delivered on the fastest ships) in larges cities like Boston, Philadelphia and Williamsburg.

Perhaps botanical prints were the inspiration for the cactus blocks.  

This print has many similarities to Matilda's blocks.

Matilda's Cactus Flower

This is one of Matilda's yellow flowers - the quilting adds beautiful texture next to the yellow wave print.

You can see the hand piecing of the block seams.

I love her green dot print, but was unable to find one I liked.

My Cactus Flower

This is one of  my yellow flowers.
I got as close as I could to a stripe/wavy print.

I think any medium yellow would work, even a solid.  I chose fabrics in the colors the quilt would have been, not the way it is today - faded.

You can read more about the quilt and the block sets HERE.

I hope you have a great weekend, we are enjoying some fall color here, as well as cooler temperatures - great stitching weather!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Thread Cabinet

I recently added to my collection of thread cabinets.  This one varies from my others.  It is a two drawer, shelf with eight thread guides.  It also has bone finials.  Even though the original pin cushion is missing, it is still a great piece.

I always wonder who originally owned it?  How did she use it?

Now I have some answers with this piece.

I have some family history!

Ann gifted the box to her daughter

It was owned By Constance (keeping the last name private).  

She was born in 1896 in Boston MA.  

Throughout her life everyone called her Christine, except her grandchildren - who called her Mimi.  

The box was a gift from her mother, Ann.  Ann is pictured on the right.

Ann had six children: Aida, Arthur, Gerard, Marjorie Roger and Christine.

Christine is the youngest - with the white bow on her head. Roger is next to her in a sailor style outfit.

Constance (Christine) and Roger

Christine and Roger were close.  

What fun, giggling together on the lawn.

They shared many laughs as children.  

Little did they know a war would someday separate them.

At some point in her childhood Christine stitched a sampler, still owned by the family.

Ann's son Roger was called Uncle Buzzy - he was a WWI Flying Ace.

Roger spent time in a German POW Camp in Landau Germany.

Here, he is pictured second from the left (white collar, part in the center of his hair).

Imagine their joy when he came home!

Christine Married Edmond and had three children.  

Only one, Patricia survived to adulthood.

This is Christine and her daughter Patricia in 1926.

Wonderful isn't it?

I don't have the year the thread cabinet was given by Ann to Christine. Perhaps it was a wedding gift?

The box was gifted by Ann to Christine. Christine later passed it to Patricia.  Patricia passed it to one of her daughters. It has since come to me (not family) and I will keep the family history with the box.  

The family permitted me to share this story with you.

These are a few of Christine's (Mimi's) grandchildren having fun at her summer home in Connecticut.

What a party! 

With those big smiles I can imagine that summers with Mimi were filled with fun parties.

drawers and shelf out

How was the box used?

Ann and Christine (Mimi) were ladies, with the means enabling them to not HAVE to sew.  

They stored basics in the box. Their maids did the majority of the sewing and mending for the household.

The cabinet is in very good condition. However, the pin cushion was worn out and removed before it came to me.

Top level of cabinet

Patricia, Christine's daughter made needlepoint pillows. The wools were to bulky for the dainty drawers of this thread cabinet. It was displayed in their home with empty drawers.

Here, with the lid off you can see a small spool of thread, the end of the thread extends through the bone eyelet.

With the lid replaced, the thread can be used, yet remain hidden.

Closeup of the bone finial - there are 12 total on this cabinet.

They about 3/4" tall. The grooves were painted with thin black lines.

I hope you enjoyed the story that came with the cabinet. Maybe one day we can see a picture of the sampler Mimi stitched.

I treasure this cabinet!