Tuesday, October 16, 2012

World War II Quilts - AQSG Study Center

Though it is true that many women were busy working outside the home and taking part in other war effort activities, the impression that no one was quilting during WWII was refuted by Sue Reich's many examples and her thorough research of newspaper references to quilt activities during those years.
Women have a long history of expressing themselves through their quilts.This study center in Lincoln, NE, last week focused on  the time period of 1941-1945.
Not all quilts related to war are done in red, white and blue.  Here we see a couple of military figures included in the pre-tinted motifs which could be embellished with embroidery and used for pillows or other decoration.

Factories ran 24 hours a day which meant there were many night shift workers trying to sleep during the day. This unusual quilt features the silky banners to be displayed at the homes of those workers. They remind visitors that someone is sleeping. They are set alternately with parachute fabric.

  "Quiet Please. Night Shift War Worker Sleeping."

These silk 'sweetheart' pillow covers were popular gift items often sent back home to loved ones.
Someone made a quilt out of the tops.

V for Victory - a popular motif in many formats.

 Here's Sue with her helpers at the opening night event at the IQSC

Be on the look-out for fabric that may also help date quilts from that era in quilts that do not have an obvious connection.

and for labels like this one indicating a specific group of women with a mission.

Not all quilts made during this time were so graphically obvious about the subject of the war and patriotism. Here's one block of an embroidered quilt honoring the memory of lost loved ones. Perhaps this was a fundraising quilt where people paid a certain amount of money to have their name included. 
In the center of the circle is "In Memory of Clifford Snyder" with the four outer inscriptions also in memory of a specific soldier.

This quilt, at a distance, just looks like a graphic motif - maybe an asterisk - but look closer. The pattern is formed with four 'V's" and is  called "V" block.

The pattern is in this book by Ruby McKim or you can download a PDF for the pattern here.  This book was first published in 1931 but it is common for blocks to be reissued and renamed over the years.

I have shared here just a few images from the study center and the additional quilts shown at the IQSC with permission from Sue. She offers a wide variety of talks. For more information, or to book a presentation in your area, click here.

 Next: Early Twentieth Century Quilts

Friday, October 12, 2012

What I learned.....or Confessions of a Quilt Collector

I was planning to share some things I learned at the AQSG seminar in this post but I was overwhelmed...there is just so MUCH!
I will still do that and hopefully soon while the event is fresh in my mind - but for now I decided to tell you what I learned on the way TO the seminar.

I learned that I have to stop saying I'm not collecting quilts anymore.

I ended up with three new (old) pieces before we even arrived. Well, what do you expect on a road trip with two quilt loving friends - about 450 miles to cover- and numerous stops (at antique stores) since one must stretch once in awhile to maintain good circulation?

This top is from what I have for some time referred to as  "MY time period" - the first quarter of the 1900's. I love the look and have a growing number of examples of both quilts and tops.
For that reason I had signed up for Virginia Gunn's study center, "Exploring Early 20th Century Quilts", so I brought it to the class and she held it up as a great example; fabrics include chambrays, indigo and cadet blues, claret (burgundy), plaids, dots, stripes etc. Each individual square is about 4" to give you the idea of scale. I'll share more about that study center later.

24" X 32"

But the funniest shopping experience happened when we made a quick stop at the Brass Armadillo in Des Moines, Iowa, to ask directions to the restaurant which I knew was nearby. We were hungry and decided we'd eat first and then come back and shop. I ran in and as the nice lady gave me directions my eyes wandered....I spotted a quilt...I couldn't resist going just a few more feet into the store.... and as I looked down a long aisle to my right this caught my eye!

I snapped it up and quickly asked if she could 'hold' it for me. I was laughing so hard by the time I got back to the car my friends didn't know what was going on. I said, "I found a quilt!" I had not been gone 5 minutes!

We did go back, of course - we HAD to now!

The tag said it was made by the daughter of the maker of a red and white Irish Chain displayed with it. It could be the work of a young person as it is crudely pieced and quilted but all such quilts are not made by children. Either way, I love red and white quilts. The close up shows a small pink and white check used with the red for the triangle units and a shirting for the 'white' block. I like the little check - would you think to do that? Was she out of the white shirting or did she just like the check?

Somewhere near Omaha  I bought this embroidered bird quilt - a  Ruby McKim design. Ruby designed a total of 22 'series quilts' between 1916 and 1937, according to Quiltkitid.com. Designs were published in newspapers; a different design each week. This quilt is from her Audubon or Bird Life series. There are 24 blocks in this quilt but some are repeated.

It's nicely hand quilted and the pieced diamonds border with angled corners really adds a nice touch, doesn't it? I'll post a full photo when I get my stand set up. My friend found this one first but she decided not to get it.... so what could I do?

So there you have it - I'm a Quilt Collector and I am having fun!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Alzheimer's Art Quilt Update

#11, 748
Donation #2
I just learned that the 2nd little bird quilt that I donated to the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative will be flying to Houston this month!

It will  be one of the quilts offered for sale at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, Texas, from November 1-4, 2012.
If you are lucky enough to be attending this major event, I hope you will stop by the AAQI booth in the exhibit area (on your right as you enter the hall)

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative recently received its 12,000th donated quilt! Since the program began in 2006 it has raised more than $760,000 for research.  You can visit Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative for more information if you, too, would like to be part of finding a way to prevent/cure this disease.

Now I've made four little bird quilts - all measuring about 9" square; hand appliqued, embroidered and hand quilted. Here are the other three:

Donation #1
Gift to my sister
One for me!
 Here's a look at the original quilt which inspired these blocks - dated 1941

Coming Soon: 
What I learned at the recent AQSG Seminar in Lincoln, Nebraska