QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Nine Blocks---Another Nine Block Pattern

Many years ago a family loaned me quilts for photography
including this applique sampler they thought made in Jacksonville, Illinois.

I recognized the pattern as one pictured in Carrie Hall
& Rose Kretsinger's book Romance of the Patchwork Quilt in 1935.
Hall indicated it belonged to Amy Ellen Hall and was made
by Emma Ann Covert of Lebanon, Ohio about 1842.

The similarities were striking. Same 9 blocks (3 patterns)
arranged in the same fashion.
Same vase and vine border.

Here's an almost identical Ohio quilt made in Belmont,
in the collection of the Ohio Historical Society. Note the
extra sprigs around the central wreath.

From an online auction. The corner blocks are oriented the other way.

These 5 red and green applique samplers all look to be about 1840-1870.

A beauty by Hannah Johnson Haines, Jay County, Indiana & Moline, Illinois.
Collection of the Rock Island County Historical Society, Illinois.
Recorded in the Illinois project and pictured in their book.


The Arizona project found one brought from 
Columbia, Missouri. The applique is simpler, cruder and
the border is different. It's tough to say from the photo when this
was made.

Mary or Marjorie Galbreath, Uhrichsville, Ohio

These two look to be after 1930 by the pastel colors
Perhaps they saw Emma Covert's in Carrie Hall's book
or they might have ....

Lela L Duckwall Vore, Eaton County, Indiana, found in the Indiana Project

Well, how did they share the pattern???

A few months ago I discussed another 9 block designed in the format of a central block with two other appliques in the north/south axis and the diagonal corner blocks.

Like this. It's a great composition.

See that post here:

I am not the only person to notice what balanced design this is.

The central block in the group we're looking at today is a wreath with
 6 to 11 rotating leaves...

Not a very common pattern.
Here's another from a Double Irish Chain quilt

The corner blocks point the eye towards the center block with
a bouquet on an entwined stem and, in most of them, a circle or two of 7 dots.

Applique block from a quilt about 1900

The entwined stem is seen elsewhere but that combination of 
7 dots and the layout seems unique to this pattern.

The flower pots look like they have a dish to catch the drips underneath.
The paired florals also feature a group of 7 dots.

This sampler has been on my wanna make it list for years---I digitized some of the blocks for a start on a pattern. These should print at 8 inches and if you double that you'd have applique to fit a 16" or 18" block. 3 x 3 at 18" would equal 54" without any border.




Sandy Sutton did this remarkable small version for 
American Quilt Study Group's 2016 quilt
study focused on baskets. Repro quilt perfection!

Frances Shaw, attributed to Hagerstown, Maryland.
Found in the West Virginia project.

The border on these nine block quilts is a whole 'nother question. It's quite distinctive but not unique to this particular sampler. The West Virginia project saw many examples. Documenter Fawn Valentine nicknamed it the I-70 Border because the locations follow today's highway that was once the National Road---the major east/west travel path now and in the past. Xenia Cord is going to give a paper on the border at AQSG this fall.

Here's an 1850s map of the U.S. with an orange star
for every place mentioned in the sampler quilt histories above.
A national road of pattern sharing.
But what form of pattern?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Hollyhocks & Cut-out Chintz


The Georgia Quilt Project documented this tree-of-life chintz quilt dated 1824 as one
of the earliest Georgia quilts they saw. It's by Mary Elizabeth Clayton Miller Taylor and in the collection of Savannah's Telfair Museum.

"William Taylor. From his Grandmother. 1824"

Read more about it in Georgia Quilts. See a book preview here:

https://books.google.com/books?id=ZSfI2Nf_uPkC&pg=PA49&lpg=PA49&dq=mary+taylor+quilt+telfair&source=bl&ots=VwcZgPkFjY&sig=j_z37jb3rGQvUO6af9IxAfEtdMU&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjCg6708_TUAhUi_4MKHYvWBVIQ6AEIRTAF#v=onepage&q=mary%20taylor%20quilt%20telfair&f=false

The leafy fabric at the base of the tree caught my eye. Geranium leaves?
Or Hollyhocks?

Hollyhock and leaves.

Looks like hollyhocks.


Mary Taylor was not the only woman to see potential in that hollyhock chintz. Another Miller, Sarah Miller of Charleston, South Carolina made a similar quilt.


Sarah's quilt was pictured in Florence Peto's 1949 book Quilts & Coverlets.
Peto, a quilt collector and dealer, sold Sarah's quilt to the Shelburne Museum.

"Sarah F.C.H. Miller
1830"
Some read this signature as Sarah T.C. Miller,
but I think Peto's guess of F.C.H. is correct.

Here is the hollyhock leaf base for another cut-out chintz quilt---a tree of roses in
 the collection of Drake House Museum in Plainfield, New Jersey.
Plainfield is about 30 miles from New York City.

The  rose tree is said to have been made by a daughter of John Hart, a New Jersey signer of the Declaration of Independence.

I don't see any hollyhock blooms or buds in this quilt but the
leaves resting on a dark ground are similar.

Hart and wife Deborah Scudder had at least 7 daughters among their 13 children: Sara, Jesse, Martha, Susannah, Mary, Abigail, Debra.
http://www.drakehouseplainfieldnj.org/collection.html

#1991.0358
We know even less about another example in the collection
of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian.

But we have a great online view of the leafy base of the "tree"
and get a glimpse of what the original chintz must have looked like.

The quilt was donated in 1991 by Mrs. Robert B. Stephens. Somewhere I've seen that it was found in Massachusetts. 

Trolling for hollyhock fabrics I came across this 1833
tree chintz quilt from the Charleston Museum.

Margaret Seyle Burges (1804-1877)
#2010.37.1 Charleston Museum
She used a different base but the hollyhocks are on the branches.
The quilt is inscribed "Burges/Dec 1833" on the reverse.


Quilt by Mary Eldred Mumford  (?-1874)
Newport, Rhode Island
Detroit Historical Museum


This one is hard to see in the Quilt Index photo. There's a better photo in Phyllis Haders's Warner Collector's Guide to American Quilts showing a few hollyhocks growing out of a base of leaves.
Here we have six cut-out chintz quilts related by the hollyhock fabric and general tree-of-life style with three dated examples: 1824, 1830 and 1833.

That information would help us date the hollyhock fabric if I knew what it looked like. For all the quilts with the fabric I cannot find a picture of the yardage or a whole cloth quilt.

The fabric is undoubtedly imported and quite likely to have been English. The quilts' locations reflect access to imported prints in port cities from Newport and Plainfield to Charleston and Savannah, but how did Mary Mumford in Rhode Island and Mary Taylor in Georgia come to use the fabric in such similar fashion? 

Could they have known each other?  If the women were of the same age I'd guess they attended a boarding school together, but Mary Taylor was a generation or two older than Mary Mumford and Margaret Burges.

Many mysteries, but I am keeping my eye out for the hollyhock chintz.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Past Perfect: Kathy Doughty


Gypsy Kisses by Kathy Doughty

February's Past Perfect star is Kathy Doughty of Sydney, Australia. Here's what she says about the above quilt, her favorite of those she's made.
"It looks old and authentic which is something that I love. Although I generally work with bright colors, I love reproduction fabrics and old style color combinations. I believe if the quilting sisters of the past had our fabrics they would have loved using them in what are now the antique quilts we love!"
Each month I feature a quiltmaker who has drawn inspiration from the past and influenced the market on how to use reproduction prints. When you look at Kathy's quilts the words "reproduction fabrics" are not what comes to mind. But she is inspired by quilts from the past---the recent past.


Kathy is one reason we have to re-orient our compasses with South at the top of the map. Australia is the center of the quilt world today
.
Who's in the antipodes now?

Kathy is originally from the U.S. She spent a decade in New York City in fashion and marketing. She met her Australian husband while working for Swatch Watch at a snowboarding event and moved to Australia in 1990. She and Sarah Fielke opened the shop called Material Obsession in Sydney in 2002. Kathy became sole owner five years later.
Material Obsession is an international travel destination.

Shop books and an innovative internet presence have been quite influential on the quilts of the 21st century

Teachers and students are as creative as Kathy

Teachers like Marg Sampson George have developed techniques and styles
 (This is Kelly's work from a Marg class)

Liberty Fields

Nineteenth-century patterns updated.

Fairlawn

Fractured

Kathy talked about her design process in an interview with Jen Kingwell :
"I love antique quilt books for layout and structure ideas. In truth though, most of my designs actually happen on the design wall in my studio. I start a quilt with a stack of inspiring fabrics and a shape, and then I lay out the pieces on the way until I like how they work together."
Vintage top from about 1960---online auction

Kathy's eye is drawn to the quilts from 1940 to 1980, a fairly neglected area until she began exploring them.

Vintage Spin by Kathy Doughty

Characteristics of the era: vivid colors with a busy neutral (think dots) and the idea of pattern on pattern. 

In her book Adding Layers she talks about Vintage Spin 
"Over the years I have enjoyed collecting vintage fabrics. Some are a bit worn, some wrapped in plastic, some thrift shop clothes....Vintage Spin is a quilt made from those specially collected fabrics that were old or just looked old."

She's great at finding fabrics that "just look old" and combining
them in novel ways that echo that crazy 1960s quilt aesthetic.

This deconstructed Dresden Plate is quilted with Perle cotton twist with the knots on
tops (a strange but common characteristic of 20th-century quilts)


She's now designing fabric for Free Spirit.

Horizons should be in shops this month.


See her shop Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/Material-Obsession-227097140676247


And Instagram page:
https://www.instagram.com/matobsgirl/


Read an interview with Jen Kingwell here:
https://redthreadstudio.com/blogs/featured-designer/105816198-featured-designer-kathy-doughty-of-material-obsession

And see a trunk show at the Eugene Modern Guild site here:
http://eugenemodernquiltguild.blogspot.com/2011/07/kathy-doughty-material-obsession.html