QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT By Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman Above: Moda's Baltimore Blues

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Baltimore Blues: Patterson Park

Baltimore Blues is my latest Moda reproduction print collection.

The largest print in the line is a floral ---the sort
of splashy floral someone like Mary Todd Lincoln might
appreciate (although Mary's dress here is silk and this is cotton.)

I named the prints after Baltimore landmarks. The floral is Patterson Park,

named for the family who donated the land
200 years ago.

The document print (the original antique) was used as the setting squares
in a late-19th-century quilt top, now a kind of a faded pink/violet
We tightened up the repeat a little. That very airy background
with lots of space was a fashion about 1900 and I think
less background/more figure spans a wider range of taste.

We printed #8342 in five colorways.

Read the gossip about the Patterson family 200 years ago at this post:

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Morris Hexathon 25: Sussex Cottage

Morris Hexathon 25: Sussex Cottage by Becky Brown

I named this week's hexie Sussex Cottage for another building on Upper Mall in the west London
area of Hammersmith where the Morris family lived.

William Morris was a man of serial enthusiasms. In the last years of his life he set out on a "little typographical adventure" as he called it, developing a press to print beautiful books. Kelmscott Press,
named for the Manor he loved so much, began in 1891 in Sussex Cottage near his Hammersmith house on the Thames.

Sussex Cottage was reached through the door on the left (14 Upper Mall.)
The main building, Sussex House was home to another artisan printer, Emery Walker,
who had inspired Morris to take up hand printing.

Walker's last home at 7 Hammersmith Terrace
is open to the public, but closed in 2016 for renovation.
The Walker house is kept in Morris-firm style.
I believe it is closed this year but will re-open in 2017

The Kelmscott Press printed over fifty books during its short life from 1891 to 1898. The Story of the Glittering Plain, the first, is typical in style. Morris's old friend from Oxford days, Edward Burne-Jones, did the woodcut illustrations.

Morris made the most of his own skills at flat patterning
by designing the borders and the large initials.

Assistant Sidney Cockerell described the early days of the Press:
"The house a little old fashioned one and the single hand press at the top of a winding corner stair. ...Printed sheets, one on vellum, lying about---all most beautiful, especially the first page with its elaborately designed border."

Morris cut his own type faces,offering
three original fonts.

Kelmscott Press was Morris's last love. He died at the age of sixty-two in 1896 shortly after completing the Press masterpiece: The Kelmscott Chaucer.

Morris Hexathon 25: Sussex Cottage by Ilyse Moore

Sussex Cottage requires a hexagon and three different tumbler shapes.
Or string piece it.

The borders in BlockBase #247 can remind us of the graceful Kelmscott book borders.

The pattern was first published in 1896---one of the oldest published hexie blocks---by a magazine named the Orange Judd Farmer (Orange Judd was the publisher's name.) That agricultural newspaper called it A Cobweb Quilt. In 1930 the Kansas City Star called it Spider Web.

Pattern for an 8" Hexagon
(4" sides)
To Print:
  • Create a word file or a new empty JPG file that is 8-1/2" x 11". 
  • Click on the image above. 
  • Right click on it and save it to your file. 
  • Print that file out 8-1/2" x 11". The hexagon should measure 4" on the sides.
  • Adjust the printed page size if necessary.
  • Add seams when you cut the fabric.
Carrie Hall made a block and included it in
her 1935 book The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt in America.
She showed triangular setting pieces too.

In wools as a tied comforter

With three borders it was a popular design in the mid-20th-century,
usually as a scrap quilt

but here's a controlled color scheme (possibly inspired by Carrie Hall's.)

Four concentric borders for a central hexagon---blue triangles.

You don't need to measure---it can be a string quilt too. Just triangles,
no central hexagon.

One More Inspiration
Pattern from Quiltmaker in 2013.
Strip-piece triangles and rotate them

Mary Huey is making progress but she may have hit the wall with all the curved piecing.
One More Week. You can make it!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Antique Quilt Exhibits: Fall 2016 Through Winter 2017

Weather will be too cool to put the top down soon. Head out today!

Antique Quilt Exhibits: Through Fall 2016 &Winter 2017

Alabama, Montgomery
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Sewn Together: Two Centuries of Alabama Quilts.
January 28 through April 16, 2017.

Quilt by the Shealy Family, South Carolina

Colorado, Golden
Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum. Rocky Mountain Road: New York Beauty quilts from the collection of Bill Volckening.
Through October 25, 2016.

Mame and Kathryn Armstrong; Crazy Quilt, 1885 

Georgia, Savannah

Telfair Academy. Historic Cottons to Modern Polyesters: Quilts from Telfair’s Collection.
Through November 6, 2016

Poppy Quilt by Marie Webster, 1909
Indianapolis Museum of Art

Indiana, Indianapolis

Indianapolis Museum of Art. A Joy Forever: Marie Webster Quilts.
Through January 8, 2017.

Indiana, Marion
Quilters Hall of Fame. Ruby Short McKim.
Through December 3, 2016.

Illinois, Chicago
DuSable Museum of African American History. Unpacking Collections: The Legacy of Cuesta Benberry, An African American Quilt Scholar. 
November 15, 2016 - September 28, 2017.
In 2018 the show will be at the Mercer Museum, Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Iowa, LaPorte
FFA & Ag Museum on Main Street. A small show of antique quilts from a local collection.
Through November.

Iowa, Winterset
Iowa Quilt Museum. Stargazing: American Star Quilts. Antique and contemporary pieces.
Through January, 2017.

Fundraising Quilt dated 1899, Newton, Kansas
Kansas, Newton
Harvey County Historical Society. Purposeful Stitches: Community Quilts. Fundraising and signature/memorial quilts.
Through December 2, 2017.

Bird of Paradise
From the Christ Collection

Massachusetts, Lowell
New England Quilt Museum. America's Applique Quilts: The Christ Collection. October 20 - December 31, 2016.

Massachusetts, Pittsfield
Hancock Shaker Village. Highlights from Fitzpatrick Quilt Collection. Personal collection of the proprietor of the Red Lion Inn and Country Curtains. Through October 30, 2016.

Minnesota, Minneapolis
Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. Cut from the Same Cloth: American Quilts at Mia.14 American quilts from the collection, dating from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s.
Through March 19, 2017.

Nebraska, Lincoln
International Quilt Study Center & Museum/Quilt House.
Amish Quilts & The Crafting of Diverse Traditions, curated by Janneken Smucker. Opens October 7, 2016.

New Hampshire. Peterborough.
Monadnock Center for History and Culture. Pieced and Patterned: Connie Bastille’s Quilt Collection (22 quilts) plus Schoolgirl Samplers.
Through January 21, 2017

Ladies Ramble Quilt

New Jersey, River Edge
Bergen County Historical Society. Ladies' Ramble. Opens January 29th, 2017
Selections from BCHS quilt collection on exhibit.

New York, Auburn
Schweinfurth Art Center. American Quilts: History and Art. Quilts from the collection of the International Quilt Studies Center & Museum, curated by Jonathan Holstein.
October 29 through January 8, 2017.

New York, Canton
TAUNY (Traditional Arts in Upstate New York). Warmth, Remembrance, and Art: 200 Years of Quilts and Comforters in New York's North Country.Sixty quilts documented by the Northern New York Quilt Project. Through October, 2016.

New York, Long Island City
American Folk Art Museum's Collections and Education Center,  Painted, Pieced, and Padded: Masterwork Quilts from the American Folk Art Museum. Ten quilts by appointment only.
Through November 6, 2016.

Pennsylvania. Westchester
Chester County Historical Society. Quilts: The Next Layer. Over a dozen recently donated quilts
Through January 31, 2017.

Texas, LaGrange
Texas Quilt Museum. New York Beauties: Volckening Collection.
Through December 18, 2016.

Virginia, Harrisonburg
Virginia Quilt Museum. Presidential Connections: Quilts, Virginians and the Whig Party. Guest Curator, Wayne Harrison. Quilts plus items demonstrating connections between Presidents with Virginia family connections and the Whig Party. See the Gallery Guide here:

Midnight in the Garden of Quilts: Quilts from the Polly Mello Collection. Through December 17, 2016.
Treasures from the Vault: Crazy Quilts. Curated by Gloria Comstock. Through December 17, 2016.

Virginia, Lynchburg

Lynchburg Museum. A Feast for the Eyes: Quilts and Textiles from Central Virginia. Through December 31, 2016.

Virginia, Williamsburg
Colonial Williamsburg, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. A Century of African-American Quilts features twelve quilts from the collection dating from 1875. Through January, 2018.

Washington, Walla Walla

Fort Walla Walla Museum. Sewn Into History: A Century of Quilts. Over 20 quilts from the Museum's collection will be on display, ranging in dates from the mid-19th century through the 1930s. Through the end of 2016.

Detail of Hampton family quilt

Australia, Melbourne
National Gallery of Victoria: Making the Australian Quilt: 1800–1950, Curators Annette Gero and Katie Somerville.
Through November 6, 2016. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Quilt #3 for Henry Clay

Appliqued quilt by Elizabeth Schultz, 1847
Collection of Ashland: The Henry Clay Estate

In 1847 Pennsylvanian Elizabeth Schultz sent this quilt to her hero Henry Clay who was campaigning to become the Whig party nominee for President in the 1848 election. Kentuckian Clay had unsuccessfully run for the office in 1824, 1832, 1840 and 1844.

Clay's major issues, particularly during his early career, centered on free trade and taxes on imported items. His position as "Protector of Home Industries" encouraged support among Northern manufacturers large and small, while alienating Southern producers of raw goods who looked to Europe for manufactured goods and did not want to pay the 20% taxes on imports.

Displayed on a bed at Ashland in the 1970s.

The appliqued piece was forwarded to Clay with a letter from Thomas B. Stevenson, a Whig newspaper editor who described it:
"cloth, thread and every thing of home production, and every stitch of it wrought by Mrs. Schultz of Pennsylvania, a venerable lady of seventy-six years of age....a spontaneous offering of the heart's homage."
I mentioned this quilt on a blog post a few years ago in a discussion of tariffs, trade and fabric after the War of 1812:
"One might understand that Schultz produced the fabrics by home spinning and weaving but what was meant was that these were factory cottons produced in the United States."
87" x 101"

Ashland loaned the quilt for the American Textile History Museum's recent exhibit Home Front and Battle Field and you can see a good photo of it in their catalog on page 14.

Schultz appliqued roses cut from chintz with green and red leaves in
conventional applique of domestically-produced cottons.

In 1988 family of descendant Robert Pepper Clay donated the quilt to Ashland.

Henry Clay (1777-1852)
Photo of Clay taken in 1850, two years before he died
of tuberculosis. Born during the Revolutionary War, he
was 70 years old when Schultz sent him the quilt.

A Clay flag from the collection of the New York Historical Society. Various candidates and parties were represented by American animals--- Whigs by raccoons. Clay was known as That Same Old Coon (some kind of a compliment to his reliability if not his age).

Clay wrote Stevenson a letter asking him to thank Schultz in July, 1847.

I am not the only observer to notice a plethora of quilts for Clay. A few years earlier a joke about quilts and Henry Clay was republished in numerous newspapers.

"One of our contemporaries gives the following as an appropriate inscription for the next counterpane presented to Henry Clay.
Beneath this quilt lies Henry Clay,
Whom locos put to bed one day,
Be quiet, Hal---to rise is vain,
Press'd down by many a counter pain.You're well tucked up---cease then to scoff---
You cannot kick the kiver off!"
Locos were a faction of the Democrats---the Whig implication was they were crazy, but the Locofocos took the name as a rallying cry.

Read more about Henry Clay and quilts: