Thursday, October 10, 2013

Doll Quilts at Historic Deepwood

Just back from doing a talk for Historic Deepwood in Salem, Oregon, where I also have an exhibit of doll quilts on display. I like using doll and crib quilts to teach an overview of quilt history. They are so much easier to transport!

"The Magic of Small Quilts" 
Exhibit Dates: Oct 4 to Nov 5, 2013

There are two rooms in this lovely restored house with a period theme to each room.  One currently is 20th century and the other 19th century. 

I decided to hang several period doll quilts on panels that could be hung on the wall in each room, in addition to any doll quilts that would be on a doll bed.

The late-19th century panel (above)

And now the quilts individually...

#1 (above) is a Four Patch on Point (16.5 x 13 inches) - blues, browns, white w/ red alternating squares,  ca 1870s-1880s.  It was well a used little and hopefully brought some little  girl a lot of joy in its use. The binding is shattered in one corner & worn on another side.

#2 (above) is a Four Block Redwork Nursery Tales Doll Quilt (16x16 inches) - ca 1890-1910. It contains no batting (inner layer) but nevertheless does contain cross-hatch quilting. It is in excellent condition with the slightest "foxing" around edges on the left side.

#3 is a Log Cabin Doll Quilt (18 x 17.5 inches) in dark blues, burgandy, black, a touch of lavender or pink in each block; some shirtings plus plaid binding. It has a dark seaweed-like patterned fabric backing  but can't find the photo at the moment. There is some damage to the center of the middle block, bottom row. Very nicely made.

The 20th century panel (below)

And now the 20th century quilts individually...

#4 - Butterfly quilts of all sizes were extremely popular in the first half of the 20 century. A nine block (ca late 40s-50s) appliqued butterfly pillow cover / doll quilt. Lots of red fabrics with colorful embroidery around each butterfly as well as blue embroidery used as sashing between each block. 10.5 x 10.5. There is no batting and no quilting. It is open on one side so may have been a doll's pillow cover at one time?

#5 - A favorite theme in my collecting is quilts associated with clowns or the circus in general. I have very fond memories of attending the circus as a child when the choices for public entertainment were far more limited than today. Here is a very small (13 x 8.5 inches) green embroidered Clown on yellow background with green binding (ca 1930-1950). This tiny little gem has lovely quilting.

#6 - The ubiquitous Sunbonnet Sue. I was so thrilled to find such a tiny one! This is backed with chenille. I knew "shabby chic" chenille items had once again become popular in the last decade. This little quilt doesn't look that recently made but it does have many elements of doll and crib quilts made out of repurposed materials in the past decade, such as the use of chenille, rick-rack and buttons. But the appliqued blocks themselves and the sashing are older. It's possible that the rick-rack and buttons were simply added recently to jazz it up a bit.

#7 - Sharon Fulton Pinka wrote in her synopsis of the paper she presented at the 2009 American Quilt Study Group Quilt Seminar, "Quilt block designer William Pinch is virtually unknown outside the Midwest, yet his patterns are found in quilts all over America. This study presents the background of William Bray Pinch and his Rainbow Quilt Block Company of Cleveland, Ohio, with an assessment of his influence in the quilt world. Through analysis of existing quilts, quilt block designs, advertising ephemera, and photographs, and aided by interviews, memorabilia, and correspondence from family members, William Pinch, the self-described “Maker of Pretty Quilt Blocks,” emerges as one of the most influential quilt block designers of the twentieth century."

You can read Sharon's paper in the 2009 edition of Uncoverings, the annual AQSG journal of papers presented at Seminar. Check with your local library or order a copy from AQSG.

Here is another source for Dolly Dimple and the Rainbow Quilt Block Co.

#8 - Teddy Bears.  Click here to read about what I wrote about Teddy Bears in an earlier blog post.

More photos to come of the rest of the exhibit!

Also, if you are on Facebook, check out the Crib & Doll Quilts-Vintage and Antique  page I started some time ago. Meanwhile.....   Keep those needles flying and spread the word about how quilts enrich your life and the life of our communities!

and remember,

~You honor the life that has been given you by remembering and telling your stories.       

(A quote from Robin Moore's "Awakening the Hidden Storyteller")


  1. These are fabulous. You have a wonderful collection. It is very generous of you to share them. I would love to see the exhibit, your pictures are the next best thing!

    1. Thank you, Dawn, for taking the time to stop by and visit and for leaving a comment! What do you collect?