Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Next Layer - Chester County Historical Society

See the tiger?
The first day of my May trip was spent at the Chester County Historical Society (CCHS). Their current exhibit is, "Quilts - The Next Layer Rotation #2".  In advance, I enrolled in a special Saturday program that included several textiles from storage just for us!

The group was kept small for optimal viewing.
Quilt historian Barbara Garrett and museum curator Ellen Endslow facilitated two groups through countless pre civil war textiles behind the scenes.

Through July 12 - YOU can still visit the museum and see the public exhibit. (HERE).

The Pennock Album Quilt is on exhibit. Some of you might recall the reproduction fabric line and pattern that was out years ago. That project helped support funding for the museum through licensing.

Our museum collections need financial support!

The museum exhibit includes pieced and appliqué quilts.

It covers several decades of quilting.

Many pieces have local provenance to the CCHS area.

The galleries are arranged with seating so you can soak in the beauty of each quilt.

Good signs and labels tell about the exhibit and the quilts.

I love everything about the quilt.
The fabrics, setting and sewn edge finish.

After viewing the exhibit we went to the storage area where another grouping of pre-civil war textiles was ready for viewing and discussion.

We were greeted with a table of doll beds, a silk bonnet and childs kerchief used as part of a quilt back.

The box at the end of the table is acid free with acid free tissue. The textile treasures are now packed safely away in storage.

Larger tables were used for the quilts.

There was seating here - but who could sit when we had treasures to study!

This wool intarsia quilt is very rare.
Documentation for this quilt has been provided to Annette Gero who collects, studies and writes about this style of textile. She will be exhibiting this quilt style at the American Folk Art Museum in NYC September 6 2017 to January 7, 2018 then in Lincoln Nebraska sometime in 2018.

After a delicious catered lunch, the groups switched again and we were treated to more wonderful quilts. I can only share a fraction of what we saw here. If you have the opportunity to attend an event like this, be sure to grab it!

We saw so many inked blocks in quilts I lost count. Techniques included stamps, stencils, hand script, scriveners - many with drawings and dates.

Once again we were treated to large tables and could walk around the quilts to catch every detail.
Interesting "feathers" on the lower border.
Fascinating array of red prints in the appliqué. The block shapes were probably cut from folded paper.
The center of each block is inked with a name.
Given the large size of the "font" in the lettering there was discussion as to whether it was hand or stamped.

This quilt is all silk. The two colors of silk in the warp and weft gave it a wonderful color change as you moved around the table.

It is embroidered 1857 with the initials A.M.B.

In one corner the hand quilting motif includes an adult size hand with a heart in the center. There were several different motifs in the larger squares of the quilt.  The diamond sashing was outline quilted.

We saw a few mosaic patchwork pieces.
This one was so vibrant, stunning assortment of prints.

Note the hand quilting follows the share of the hexagons.

Wouldn't you love these prints today?
This quilt had a wonderful brown chintz border  (mitered corners) that was quilted in chevrons.

We saw some piecing with lots of prints too!

Oh...the fabrics we saw!

This quilt included prints over a few decades.

The green was rather dark in this 1846 quilt.
We saw many shades of green in quilts dated pre-1860.

This quilt was also quite large, draping the edges of the tables.

Excellent condition, beautiful stitching it was one of many that got a 'gasp' when revealed.

They have 100's of quilts in their collection.

This is the detail of the green print in the 1846 album.

The appliqué was done in all one piece.

You can see part of the light inking on the block.

Look at the tiny hand quilting stitches - very, very thin batting.

When we finished the program we hand show and share. One family heirloom brought to show included all of the paper and templates for the full mid 19th century album quilt. The appliqué paper patterns, hand quilting templates and notes. It was a treasure to see.

We were then free to explore the museum until it closed. I always enjoy opening the samplers drawers. This 1774 sampler is stunning. Thank you to the sampler guilds who help fund this type   of open storage.

Remember you have until July 12, 2017 to see the public exhibit at the Chester County Historical Society.
I hope you enjoyed the photos!

Layers: Unfolding the Stories of Chester County Quilts
    Available used on Amazon and from the CCHS Gift Shop

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Mary Schafer Collection

The month of May has been filled with wonderful quilt adventures.
I am posting out of order - so you have an opportunity to go see the exhibits still open
The Mercer Museum has "The Mary Schafer Collection: A Legacy of Quilt History"
(The official details and links are at the bottom of this post)

It is a wonderful exhibit with antique quilts Mary collected, time span quilts she finished
and quilts Mary made or collaborated on.
I appreciated the gallery seating! 
I was able to study and enjoy each quilt at my leisure and comfort.

Mary documented the name of the piecer of the quilt on the front in ink.
Matilda Godfrey Vary - Piecer, Mary Schafer - Finisher, Ida Pullman - Quilter
1876 top - finished in 1980

 About two centuries of fabrics are represented
across her collection of quilts.

There is something for everyone - I saw adults and children of all 
ages enjoying the exhibit.

Seating and copies of the books about Mary are in the gallery
and for sale in the gift shop.
Surrounded by the quilts, you can enjoy the books.

There are several special activities planned throughout the exhibit.
The day I was there, one of the sponsors, Barbara Fighera Harrison was
demonstrating hand quilting for the public. 
She had demos and 'quilt sandwiches' for the public to try hand quilting.
Check the museum website for other special events: Appraisal Day, Quilt Themed Lectures and special activities for children.

What are quilts without the supplies to make them?
This wonderful case included blocks, scissors, inking tools and 
quilt frame clamps - from the Mercer collection.

It is a wonderful exhibit and I hope you have a chance to see it.  
Thanks to the generous support of donors it was able to travel to Doylestown.  I do not know where it travels next, or if it returns to Michigan State University Museum for storage.

Happy Stitching,

Mary Schafer, American Quilt Maker by Gwen Marston
Mary Schafer and Her Quilts by Gwen Marston and Joe Cunningham

Official Press Release:
Exhibit showcases an important early collector, designer and popularizer of quilts

DOYLESTOWN, PA: (April 28, 2017) – The Mercer Museum will host The Mary Schafer Collection: A Legacy of Quilt History, an exhibition that explores the life and work of an important early collector, designer, maker, and popularizer of quilts and quilting traditions. The show will be on view at the Mercer from May 13 – August 13, and will feature 25 quilts that reflect the varying aspects of Schafer’s interests and work, from the nineteenth-century quilts she collected and documented, to her own exquisite work, sometimes created in collaboration with other needleworkers.

Born in Austria-Hungary in 1910 and later immigrating to the United States, Mary Schafer would become one of an important group of women who kept quilt studies alive between World War II and the 1970s revival of interest in quilts. A resident of Michigan for most of her life, Schafer has long been recognized as one of the forerunners of quilt studies as well as the developer of one of the most important quilt history collections in the country.

The intricate and colorful quilts on display in The Mary Schafer Collection: A Legacy of Quilt History, are supplemented with biographical information that draws from Schafer’s collection of her own letters and other ephemera, acquired by the Michigan State University Museum. The result is an often very personal expression of her work, friendships and her lifelong efforts "to raise in popular esteem" the appreciation of quilts and their history.

Complementing the exhibition will be a variety of quilt-related programs. On May 13, Gwen Marston, author of Mary Schafer American Quilt Maker, will offer a lecture at 1 p.m. and gallery walk through the exhibit at 2:30 p.m.  An Antique and Vintage Quilt Appraisal Day with quilt experts Dana Balsamo and Dawn Heefner will be held on Saturday, June 3 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The cost is $30 (1 quilt per visitor).  Attendees can pre-register by calling 215-348-9461.  Author and quilter, Meg Cox offers an entertaining look at the history of quilting in the program What is a Quilt and Why You Should Make One on Thursday, June 15. The program is $12 per person.  For the complete schedule of quilt programs, visit the Mercer Museum’s online calendar of events at www.mercermuseum.org.

On display adjoining the quilt exhibition will be The Sharon Holloway Dollhouse and Miniatures Collection featuring five elaborate structures including a Mansard-roofed Victorian home, a Colonial Revival home (including a detached garage and gazebo), a country store and quilt shop, a Georgian Revival townhouse and garden setting, and a country vernacular structure complete with carpenter gothic trim.  Three of the buildings are electrified and all are fully furnished.  Each either opens, or is cutaway to reveal its highly-detailed interior.

The Mary Schafer Collection: A Legacy of Quilt History is included with museum admission. Mercer Museum admission is $15 for adults, $13 for seniors (65+) and $8 for youth (6-17). Under age 6 and members are free.

The Mary Schafer Collection: A Legacy of Quilt History is locally sponsored by:  Pine Run Retirement Community, Mary Jane Clemens, Jim and Kathy Morrison and Barbara Fighera Harrison.

About the Mary Schafer Collection
This traveling exhibition is a Michigan State University Museum/Great Lakes Quilt Center, Michigan Traditional Arts Program activity supported in part by funds from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. Additional support provided by Kitty Clark Cole and Country Stitches.  You can find more about Mary Schafer on these web pages: http://museum.msu.edu/glqc/collections_special_schafer.html

About the Mercer Museum
The Mercer Museum, one of Bucks County’s premier tourist attractions, offers visitors a unique window into pre-Industrial America as seen through the implements used in everyday life.  The Museum’s collection includes more than 40,000 objects exhibiting the tools of more than 60 different crafts and trades, providing one of the world’s most comprehensive portraits of material culture in America.  The museum celebrated its Centennial in 2016. The Mercer Museum is located at Pine Street & Scout Way in Doylestown and is open for self-guided exploration 7 days a week. For more information, call 215-345-0210 or visit www.mercermuseum.org.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

You Are Invited

Please join me at any of my upcoming HEXAGON events!

August 15-16: Village Quilters of Lake Bluff/Lake Forest Illinois
       Click HERE to read about the guild         https://www.villagequilters.org
               (More on this event on a separate post)

August 26: Quit it & Dotty Shop Overloon, Netherlands
               Trunk Show, Lecture and Workshop
               Contact the shop to enroll HERE
               UPDATE:  Second Session Added
               Exclusively for Dotty I have workshop kits

The workshop kit includes 200+ fabric charms - meaning NONE of the fabric squares repeat. I chose a special color set in her favorite reproduction pallet of soft blues, pinks, greens, conversationals etc. All very special. The kit also includes 200+ hexagon papers, a  special template and case, layout pattern and design sheet. The little clip rounds out the kit.  Participants can change the layout of their project.  Dotty will have border options at the shop.  

The lecture includes MANY early 19th century hexagon quilts and counterpanes. Very special and many rare. Give your opinion as we examine 1000's of the fabric hexagons- - are some of the prints 18th century??
 This has been a very popular trunk show and lecture  that is informative fun and inspiring!

I bought these for my clothes so I can bring so many more quilts!
I am not sure they would be good for the quilts - my clothes - who cares!

I'll let you know how packing goes!

Hope to see you there!
Happy Stitching,

I will also have our Appliqué patterns available. 
See applique details HERE.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Hattem Hexagon

I finished another quilt from the book, Promenade in a Dutch Garden by Petra Prins and An Moonen.

The original quilt is dated c. 1840 and is still in the family.
The family is from the village of Hattem.  The quilt has passed through the female lines of the family. Sadly the original makers name is unknown.

The reproduction in the book used a neutral beige hexagon for the setting of the florets. I opted for the light blue setting hexagons to look more like the original.

The book has many photos of the original and reproduction.

For the border, I finally cut into some of my favorite fabrics, "Lately Arrived" a Barbara Brackman line by Moda.

I enjoyed digging in my fabric stash for the floret prints. I didn't try to match the exact prints in the
The use of stripes in the original was very effective.  I used several stripes.
The book authors called the quilt Circle of Witches - I don't know why. Perhaps because the selective cut prints are so bewitching?
Hexagons can be addictive?  What do you think?
UPDATED: The name circle of witches (heksenkring) is also the name of a circle of mushrooms found in the forest, maybe that is where the name comes from.  Kleine Vingers

I did make some personal modifications.
The side edges I used half florets.
Unlike the original I finished the top and bottom edges with full florets.

I hand pieced the hexagon panel to the border.

I used 1/2" hexagon papers.
There are 839 hexagons in my quilt - including the partials.

The florets are sometimes selectively cut.
Others I made more scrappy. The setting blue is consistent throughout.

This was such a nice filler project - portable for travel and fun.

I have more hexagon projects in the works.
How about you?

It is hand quilted with a sewn edge finish.  I have a c.1830 hexagon quilt in my collection finished with this technique.  That makes this quilt another one  I have done 100% by hand.

I was very pleased to find this cotton that has the look of a hand loomed cotton/linen.

I'm adding a label and a sleeve this morning and it will be ready to travel!

Happy Stitching,

See more of my Dutch Reproduction Quilts HERE.
Private Message me for available trunk shows, lectures and workshops.
Etsy Shop is HERE.