QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT


Friday, April 21, 2017

Tree of Liberty


Detail from Shenandoah Valley Botanical Album Quilt, 1859, 
Esther Matthews (1776-1866), Virginia Quilt Museum. 

The tree is labeled "Tree of Liberty & United States." Thirty-five circles may represent the 33 states in the Union in 1859.



I know several readers are sewing along with the Shenandoah Valley Botanical Quilt.
Buy the pattern here:

Wendy's using her favorite color---chrome orange.

I love the Liberty Tree block (dots!) so another example 
caught my eye in this old ad from The Clarion.

In the 1980s dealer Susan Parrish had a sampler for sale, dated
1851, attributed to Lincoln County, Missouri.

At the bottom center:
a tree with 18 fruits.

I have a small picture file of tree designs with round fruits.

Block from one documented by the Arizona project.
Made by Olivia Tennessee Boaz in Kentucky,

Here's another tree on the diagonal from a Baltimore Album Quilt in 
the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Detail of a quilt from the Bohannon family.
Tennessee project & the Quilt Index

15 Apples
http://www.quiltindex.org/fulldisplay.php?kid=4C-83-65E


This one was pictured in Anita Schorsch's Plain & Fancy.

I'm not counting those apples.

Nineteenth-century quiltmakers would have been familiar with the image of a tree with round fruit symbolizing virtues 

Particularly the Temperance Tree,
here in a lithograph.

The apples are labeled with attributes.
Prints above and below from the Library of Congress.

The Tree of Liberty by British cartoonist James Gillray.
Those in favor of the monarchy might view a Liberty Tree as
a devilish temptation.

The image was also used with genealogical charts:
a Medici family tree.

Linda Ardnt's Liberty Tree.

See some of the blocks quilters are making at the Shenandoah Valley quilt blog:


A few years ago Edyta Sitar at Laundry Basket Quilts produced pre-cut applique shapes for the Shenandoah Valley quilt. See more about them at the museum's shop.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Past Perfect: Di Ford Hall

Giggleswick Mill by Di Ford Hall

Each month in 2017 I am featuring a quiltmaker who specializes in reproduction quilts, drawing inspiration from quilts of the past.

Center of the Ann Dagg Quilt by Di Ford

Di Ford Hall

Di Ford Hall is one of the most influential quilt artists of the early 21st century. She's helped make Australia a capitol for accurate historical patterns.

Road 66 by Di Ford 
Past Perfect!

Primarily Quilts

You can find her patterns in her two books from QuiltMania Publishing in France.
Primarily Quilts...2 will be shipped to the U.S. next month.

The books' names echo her history in the quilt business. In 1980 she began working at the Primarily Patchwork store in Canterbury, Melbourne, and two years later bought the shop. What ashopping experience that must have been. After closing the store in 2006, she's devoted her time to patterns, books and teaching.

Center of the Phebe Quilt 

Di is particularly attracted to medallions and has patterned several
 classic early-19th century quilts made in England and the United States.

The Phebe Quilt was inspired by the Phebe Warner quilt
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Read more about the original Warner quilts here:

Above the Rain

But it's not all medallions.

From Primarily Quilts 2

Di's new book is subtitled: It's All About the Fabric.


Details of her repro quilts reveal a wisely chosen, monumental 
stash of early reproduction prints.


I occasionally recognize some of the prints I've done (in that bird's body on the right). She must
still have fabric she stocked in the store.

Cloverdale Hall

Di is contributing to our current stashes with her repro lines 
for Andover.

The latest is Giggleswick Mills.

Few early 19th-c. repros ever make it past fabric companies'  marketing departments who tell us that these quirky early prints don't sell well [compared to more profitable graphic prints]. Di's fabulous fabrics are an exception.

Collaborating with Petra Prins

Mount Mellick by Miriam

Di's patterns inspire many other quiltmakers to make historical quilts. Above:
an all-hand stitched version of  a mystery quilt series from QuiltMania in 2014.

Ellen Borg's Phebe quilt, quilting by Katrina Quilting

Miss Porter's Quilt

Read more about this quilt and its inspiration. It's one of my favorites.

See what Di is up to at Facebook:
And Instagram

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Western Sun

Here's one of the great American quilts. It's from Julie Silber's & Linda Reuther's collection
at Mary Strickler's Quilt Shop 
long ago---a mid-19th-century crib quilt.

Karen at the Log  Cabin Quilter blog did a great job of interpreting it.

Using our pattern from the Sunflower Pattern Co-operative
book Butternut & Blue: Threads of the Civil War.

It's somehow just a perfect combination of block and sashing.
The block is a simple wheel variation, 8 points around a large circle. You'd think there would be many quilts in this basic wheel design, however, I haven't seen but a few.

It's a variation of BlockBase #3417 which was published
in the early 20th century by Hearth & Home magazine as Charity Wheel,
perhaps a reference to using wheel designs for fundraising quilts.

Here's Karla's model for Butternut & Blue.
We called it Western Sun.
She used shades of butternut brown.

Sue Troyen and her beautiful version.

Or is it Marcie's at Patchalot, which is where I found this version.

Western Sun from Alaska Quilt Zone

She made a rectangle of it.

We still have copies of the book with the Western Sun pattern in it.


See it in our Sunflower Pattern Co-operative Etsy shop:


Here it is colored Union blue.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Cheater Cloth - Geometrical Chintz

Printed patchwork, about 1880.
Probably from the Cacheco Mills.

Wholecloth quilt. Note the diagonal seam.
This was a very successful print at a time
when "patchwork prints" were the fashion.

A business paragraph reprinted in many newspapers
in 1878
"Dry Goods...business continues quiet....Prints are moving slowly, except specialties, such as Turkey reds and patchwork prints, which are in fair request."

The hexagonal print, which textile historian Deborah Kraak found numbered #8896 in
some Cacheco records, was used rather creatively by quiltmakers.

Here it's the focus in a charm quilt from an
online auction.
It's fussy-cut here too in a sampler from the Pat Nickols collection at the Mingei Museum
(Is it a quilt as you go/potholder style construction?)

Most of you know the term potholder style, and might describe the fabric as cheater cloth or faux patchwork. How historically correct those terms are is disputable, but they do communicate.

Other quiltmakers thought the Cacheco patchwork print quite appropriate for a setting fabric.

Going along with the whole Victorian idea of more is better.

Another colorway

Less contrast, but still a bit much.

Here it is as a border.


The best idea may have been as a whole cloth quilt
or a backing.

From the Athol (Massachusetts) 
 Historical Society collection.

And if you didn't have enough---
Faux Patchwork is faux patchwork, I guess. Combine
two of them.


When I wrote Clues in the Calico in 1979 I noted several names for the style. Printed Patchwork seems to be the period name from the late 19th century.

I was wrong 28 years ago about the dates on the style but that's another post another time. They seem to go back to the 18th century in Europe and earlier in the East.

Geometrical Chintz and Faux Patchwork were terms Ruth Finley used in her 1929 book. I haven't found any period references to the name Geometrical Chintz. Finley's Old Patchwork Quilts and the Women Who Made Them is the first publication in which I've been able to find of the term Faux Patchwork.

For Cheater Cloth I was surprised to find a 1910 citation in the industry periodical America's Textile Reporter.

Cheater cloth, 24-27 inches wide 9 cents a yard under ginghams.

Gingham at the time was not narrowed to a woven check. It meant a plain woven, cotton fabric.
That word might actually be Chester cloth but I haven't found any other references to Chester cloth. Or any other period references to cheater cloth for that matter.

See Deborah E. Kraak's "Patchwork Prints in America" in  Uncoverings 2011. The abstract describing the paper is here:
https://americanquiltstudygroup.org/uncoverings-2011-patchwork-prints-in-america/

And if you must have some of the hexagon cheater cloth you probably can.
Riley Blake and Penny Rose did a reproduction last year.