Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Big Bad Wolf Revisited

Hey Dude, give me five. Where's the happen'n?

The clipping above is from the newspaper series that Ruby McKim wrote and syndicated in the 1930s.  Ruby's granddaughter's are re-issuing all of Ruby's patterns. Why not take a minute to visit the McKim's Studio (which they have resurrected as a website in the digital age) and read what they have added to our knowledge and understanding of Ruby's business and artistic history.

New designers keep appearing in every decade---or less! It's what keeps our quilt world exciting visually!

Read more about the illustrator Steven Guarnaccia here and in other links below.

I just discovered a new illustrated version of The Three Little Pigs storybook to go along with my previous post on the McKim Big Bad Wolf quilts. This newly illustrated version  especially appeals to me because the house The Three Little Pigs "grew up in" looks rather like the Gamble House in Pasadena, California!

The Three Little Pigs grew up in an Arts & Crafts designed home!

The "new" home of The Three Little Pigs is designed by Steven Guarnaccia. You can see one of his illustrations from the book by clicking here.

Take a quick peek at the Gamble House by clicking on this YouTube link. Also visit the Gamble House website here to see details of the interior of this gorgeous house. If you ever get to Pasadena, you must visit this house and the near-by neighborhood.

The Gamble House was built by the Greene & Greene Brothers in 1908 and just happened to be right around the corner from where our first two children were born. In fact, since my children were born at home, they themselves were born in a Greene & Greene house! Yes, we were renting an above-ground basement apartment 1968-1972 in the house the two brothers built for their sister. It was as a result of this experience that I fell in love with the Arts & Crafts Movement.

The story of the struggle to preserve these homes...and even the smaller "bungalow" Arts & Crafts homes in Pasadena.....took a huge effort on many people's part. And, as always when it comes to restricting what one can do on privately owned property, the regulations that were eventually passed were not welcomed by all. But what a joy to know the beauty of the bungalows as well as the mansions have been preserved.

Here is an interview of Randall L. Makinson, a USC architecture alumnus, who bought the Greene & Greene home next to the one we were living in at the time. The owner of our house introduced me to him and thus I was able to tour his house before and after he did his restoration. I was a very young 27 year old at the time.

What a joy it was to be exposed to the beauty of those old Greene & Greene homes at such an early age and to be able to visit in person so many of these early 20th century Craftsman homes.....just because I became an "adopted daughter" to our landlady, the wonderful Marie Duffy, teacher for many years in the Special Education program of the Pasadena School system. Marie had three sons but no daughter of her own and loved sharing her passion for these homes with me. I had grown up with parents who had taught us to love and respect well crafted arts of any form so it was a perfect fit.

It was sheer luck that we heard about Marie's above-ground basement apartment from friends of our. The rent was a mere $75 a month (we had been paying $125 elsewhere) and it was within two blocks of the corner of South Orange Boulevard and Colorado Boulevard, where the annual Tournament of Roses Parade struts its stuff each year!

Check out Steven Guarnaccia's book Goldilocks and the Three Bears as well. The classic Modern furniture and designs and the clothing the characters are wearing are fabulous!  Beats any version of these classic children's books I have ever seen. Why not expose children to great design from the get-go!

Wouldn't this make a cool child's quilt?!!

A Guarnaccia designed quilt would be a far cry from 
this 1930s version in my collection! But every 
design age has its pluses and minuses.

Do you have favorite children's illustrators whose books you are tempted by today?

Love to hear from my readers, so take a moment to leave a note!


PS: See more Big Bad Wolf quilts by clicking here.


  1. I haven't done this but my friend Sherrye is making a quilt for her grown daughter with favorite characters from children's books - - characters I never heard of but great stories!

    1. Thank you, Cheryl, for stopping by and leaving a note. And thanks for the heads up about Sherrye's quilt-in-progress from favorite characters from children's books. What a terrific idea. I really enjoyed reading her posts about the series of blocks she is making.
      Do you have a blog?

  2. Wow, love this site! Thank you Karen for sharing, and I am now stalking, er, following you! Warm regards, trish

  3. Welcome, Trish! Glad you stopped by to take a peek!! You will probably see a couple of the quilts I bought from you eventually. I try not to make the blog a "should". i.e., I don't write every day although I am now trying to write at least once a week. But I am not good at writing "short" posts.
    Cheers! Karen

  4. I haven't checked your blog in quite a long time. I was pleasantly surprised to see your posts regarding Ruby McKim. Back in the mid 70s i think it was one of the first quilting books I purchased was Ruby McKim's quilts. Thank you for the heads up on her daughter's work.

    1. Hello Louise, thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment. Yes, Ruby’s self-published 1931 book, "101 Patchwork Patterns", one of the earliest quilt pattern anthologies that had detailed instructions, was a natural next step in the progression of her career. It is still considered a classic and revised reprints are readily available, but it’s great fun to track down a copy of the original hard back shown in my April 23, 2012 post here