Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkeys Advised to 'Make Tracks' !

At least one turkey I know of did NOT get away - but we're talkin' quilts here and this seems like a good time to take a look at a particularly graphic classic quilt pattern called Turkey Tracks.

There are many variations as is true for most patterns!

Made by  Agusta Schelling, Nebraska c. 1920

From the collection of the International  Quilt Study Center
Indiana c. 1850

In memory of Jan 

One of my very favorite more contemporary versions was made by my friend, Jan.

She had a great sense of humor and since it took her so long to finish it she named it "The Slowest Turkey in Town.

I have much to be thankful for this year; a special note of gratitude to Sharon.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Time to Quilt

(Shown on the bird print backing I've chosen)
It's finally time to start quilting my L O N G term project....medallion quilt.  (See full view here)

Over the years I have tried a variety of things....wooden hoops - both circles and ovals; both large and small.

I've tried the PVC type standing rectangular frame.

I guess I thought that hand quilting with a frame was the way it should be done but after trying all these methods what I really preferred was pin basting and then working in my lap without a hoop. I've done that for years now.

Then I heard someone raving about the standing hoop and mentioned to a friend that maybe I should give it a try.

I'm always open to new ideas and to rethinking how I do things. Maybe the even tension provided by a hoop would result in nicer stitches.

Well, she just happened to have one in her attic that she said I could borrow!

I had  my medallion quilt basted by a friend who does long-arm quilting. She did a straight grid about 5" apart in both directions.

I am so thrilled to have escaped the huge job of pin basting such a large quilt and dealing with the pins when using a hoop is a major hassle.

So, I'm going to give it a try. I'll keep you posted!

Hand quilters....what is your favorite method?
How did you arrive at that choice?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Quilts of the Early 20th Century - AQSG Study Center

Virginia Gunn, acknowledged expert of fabrics and trends of the time period between 1900 -1929, led the study center at the AQSG seminar in Lincoln, NE, in early October.
I have  loved, collected and studied quilts from this period without really realizing what I was doing (that's my story and I'm sticking to it!)
I was, and still am, drawn to them.

We focused on pieced quilts and the fabrics most often seen in them.We are reminded that styles always overlap but subtle changes occur between the quilts made closer to 1900 and those in the latter part of the period as the 30's are ushered in. It's a brief bridge from Victorian/dark/fussy to the clear light pastels of the Depression era.

General trends in fabrics (and thus the quilts) in no particular order:

  • Lighter in overall tone 
  • Stripes, plaids, checks and chambrays.
  • Dots, cotton sateen
  • Indigo and cadet blue, claret (burgundy), shirtings - a 'red/white/blue' feel
  • Mourning prints, neons (brights on black ground)
  • Fewer prints  - those that were available were quite simple - often just white with one color.
  • Simple designs in keeping with the Arts and Crafts movement which stressed function and simplicity. 
  • The Art Deco influence can be seen in prints and quilt designs starting in the 1920's. These 'modern' designs reflected the machine age. (Read more about the Art Deco aesthetic here.)

The fabrics used for garments naturally made their way into many quilts of the time. By the 1920's bright, fast (called tubfast) colors are available.

Mail order catalogs are a good way to see what fabric was available to the home sewer across the period.
This is a scan of a page from my 1929-1930 Montgomery Wards catalog.You see chambray, gingham and romper cloth.
I always thought gingham meant checks but there is 'plain' gingham and plaid gingham! It turns out that gingham actually means 'yarn died'. That is, the fiber was dyed BEFORE being woven as opposed to being woven and then vat dyed or printed.

I also thought that chambray was always a solid looking cloth woven with a color in the warp and white in the weft....often blue, tan, grey, green. But this ad shows striped chambray as well as solid.

This catalog being from the end of the period, we see prints beginning to make a comeback and taking us into the 1930's where prints once again take over.

Romper cloth was a sturdy woven cloth designed for wash and wear garments for children.

I found this item at an estate sale years ago. I was interested in the fabric - a woven gingham check. I thought I could cut it up and use to make quilts. (Checks today seem to be mostly printed or cotton poly blends) But I discovered I had a home-sewn romper. The loose construction allowed freedom of movement while at play. Thought to be the first casual clothes for children, they were quite a contrast from the restrictive clothing of the Victorian era.

Annual photos of school children often include a sign in front of the children with the name of the teacher and the year. Studying the clothing worn by the children shows a preponderance of the same fabrics available from Sears or Montgomery Wards.

A few examples from my collection:

Red/White/Blue combinations - the patriotic feel

Simple piecework
Lots of squares and rectangles, nine patches,

Woven plaids, checks, stripes

Wool suiting samples - 'Bricks'

and my most recent addition - purchased last Saturday from a member of our study group.

For more details about the fabrics of this time period, read Virginia Gunn's full research paper in Uncoverings 2007,  "The Gingham Dog or the Calico Cat; Grassroots Quilts of the Early 20th Century".

Do you have quilts from this period in your collection?