Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Drunkard's Path c. 1900

I happened upon this quilt at a small vendor area in a parking lot in Glendale, Arizona, a few weeks ago.The blocks are only 2.5". It's hand pieced and quilted. A single indigo print is used throughout.There are 27 inked signatures on this quilt. Their significance? Unknown.

 It has been speculated that this design, worked in blue and white, may have a connection to the Women's Temperance Union, (WCTU), whose official colors are blue and white. Organized in 1874 by women who saw  the tremendous problems alcohol  was causing in both families and in society as a whole, the movement was, in part, a protest about civil rights. At that time women could not vote. A divorced woman had no control of her property or her children. Women and children had no legal protection. Rape was seldom prosecuted and the 'age of consent' was as low as seven in some areas. The WCTU still exists today; in fact it is the oldest voluntary, non-sectarian women's organization in continuous existence in the world.
According to Wilene Smith, on Quilt History Tidbits, this connection has yet to be proven. Check it out for more interesting reading and examples of the many arrangements and names for this block.

She also notes that there are more "T" quilts than any other letter. Do they have a connection toTemperance?
I'll reiterate what Wilene asks; if you have evidence that would substantiate the connection between either the Drunkard's Path or the "T" block quilts to the WCTU please come forward.

Now this one leaves no doubt!

With permission from The Quilt Complex  

By the way, I am hoping someone will come forward with about 650 blue and white quilts for an exhibit. I suggest the midwest....Minneapolis, for instance!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cozy Log Cabin

Okay. I did it again. I thought I had decided I didn't need any more quilts but apparently 'need' is not a requirement. This latest addition is thanks to my friend Lenna  ('picker' extraordinaire aka Search and Rescue Queen) who found it, thought to herself, "That's a  Jean quilt" and bought it so it wouldn't get away! She was right - it's the time period I am most drawn to - turn of the 20th century up to the 30's. It's loaded with various indigos, checks, stripes, mourning prints, clarets and other later prints. I love the casual placement of stripes, plaids and checks; cut and placed however they work. It gives the quilt a sense of movement and joy. Have you ever tried to do that on one of your quilts? I find it difficult having been so influenced by the patterns, classes and rules of today.
It is tied with blue crochet thread and a striped blanket is used for fill. It's softly worn, that's for sure, with a few repairs needed at one end. The back is brought to the front....and appears to be the plain feed sack fabric that I associate with drying dishes when I was a kid.
My aunt Agnes (1900-1981)  loved the log cabin design. She made many of them as wedding gifts for her nieces and nephews. I am lucky enough to have her original 1929 copy of Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them by Ruth Finley in which she has penciled the dimensions of "Jean's Quilt" - (the one she made of my old clothing scraps for my wedding gift) as well as the cardboard template she used to trace the shape. I wonder what she'd think of the rotary cutter!

I couldn't sleep last night so I headed for the couch and guess what, this baby put me right to sleep. It's not a REAL quilt until it passes the sleep test, you know!  I love sleeping under all quilts but the soft oldies really are the best. Toss those sleeping pills....let's honor these 'worn but worthy' treasures. They are affordable and looking for a good home.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hexagon mosaic TOP

Thought I'd show you a top I bought at an antique store in Arizona. As always, I question myself when I get in the car with yet another quilt -- but this one is so unique. The fabrics are from at least the 1950's - perhaps some 60's as well. The hexagons are 1/2" on a side. It is hand pieced but not very well....and yet.....that orange burst of rays. Has anyone seen something similar in a setting?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Still more Red and White

Eternal Chain 1999
I made the three quilts in today's post.   Miniature 4 patches create an interesting diagonal ‘chain’ with the 9 patch blocks.  The fabrics are cotton; a plain creamy muslin and a red print.  I believe it was featured in a magazine. I hand quilted it as I was recovering from my first knee replacement.

Millwheel 2004
I made this quilt for the ‘Two Color’ quilt study for AQSG in 2004. I figured out  how big the blocks in the original must have been to achieve the size listed  ( 40 x 44) , drafted the blocks, made templates of cardboard and hand pieced it. I changed the zig zag border by letting it ‘go off the ends’ rather than match nicely. I’ve always wanted to do that. I hand quilted it. You can see the original in Small Endearments by Sandy Fox.

Hawaiian Breadfruit 2007
I have long admired these quilts but it seemed wise to try a wall size. This measures 40.x 40. I loved doing it. I used a pattern by Poakalini .  The pattern stated that the Breadfruilt in red and white was the most traditional first quilt. Part of the time I was working on it I was meeting with a small Hawaiian quilt group at The Bernina Store in Phoenix. They were very knowledgeable and helpful. It was nice to do appliqué with just one color thread. The process of folding, marking, cutting and basting to the background was interesting but tedious. The appliqué and quilting were fun.

More Red and White Quilts

I got this quilt at an AQSG seminar silent auction some years ago. I had taken the Southern Quilts study center and had also seen a similar one at a Gees Bend exhibit. It is constructed in blocks with curved pieces at each corner;  when assembled gives a snowball appearance. The white background is actually a very faded red on white print.It’s in poor condition but I’m a sucker for graphics and I believe I got it for about $8. Maybe one of you donated it!

Rolling Stone TOP
(or Squirrel in a Cage)             
I found this top in an antique store in Wisconsin several years ago. There was a navy poly blend gathered ‘skirt’ about 20” deep on all sides. I was barely able to restrain myself from stopping somewhere to get a seam ripper to take it off. Both fabrics are solid. I would like to quilt this one.


 Rolling Stone 2 
   This was another AQSG Silent Auction purchase at the most recent seminar in Minneapolis. It is the same block as the TOP shown above with the colors reversed.. It is made of  two fabrics; a shirting (black on white) and a red print and it is hand quilted. It is quite worn. The binding had been added later and applied too tightly so I am in the process of removing that. Underneath is the original binding of the same white shirting- very frayed. There is too much general wear to warrant trying to make any repairs or restorations. I think I will just enjoy its graphic appeal and honor it for having served its purpose over many years.


Tree Everlasting
This is my most recent red and white purchase. I got it in Stillwater, MN. The fabrics are both solids. The quilting is a simple grid but very dense. I love strippy formats and the sawtooth points add excitement. I wouldn’t exactly call the design rare but I don’t see very many.

Next Time......Red and white quilts I've made.

Red and White - Motivation!

I've decided that it's time to get into 2011 and learn some new things. Like what is a Blog anyway - and how can I have my own?! So, here I go -
My motivation to bite the bullet and just do it comes from the Red and White 'quilt talk' circling around the quilt world because of the exhibit later this month in New York. I have long loved two color quilts - especially red and white - but.... since I can't be in New York I  have enjoyed the quilts already shared by others and am happy to participate in this virtual quilt show of Red and White quilts.
Here is what I find in my collection; some vintage and some that I have made along with a bit of information about each.

Redwork Embroidery

This c. 1910 quilt exhibits fine embroidery in many familar designs seen on Redwork quilts. The handquilting is dense in triple clamshells. I think both the use of the double nine patch setting, which lends dramatic diagonal interest, and the small squares on point border make this a special redwork example. I love how she just cut off the border instead of fussing with perfection! It adds interest, makes me smile and gives me 'permission' to do the same.

TIMEOUT - I'm exhausted from getting this far - I know it will get easier but for now I'll say - check back tomorrow!