Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Tile" Pattern Doll Quilt

In the last two photos of my last post, I showed you two very different "Tile" quilts.

Below is a close-up of one of the blocks in one of those quilts so that you can see the tiny bits of fabric the quilt maker used. Amazing, isn't it! She laid them out in a design and then button-hole stitched them down to the background, if I rememebr correctly. Tiny, tiny pieces in some cases!

(Click on the photo to enlarge.)

In the process of going through more inherited stuff this past week in my sewing room, I came across a small box which contained scraps of an experimental project.  Because I had just written about the Tile quilt pattern, I got the bright idea of turning these scraps into a Tile Doll Quilt.

Quite frankly, I am not sure if these are remnants from one of my MIL's projects or of someone else's projects that I was given since moving to Lopez. The handwriting on the papers in the box does not look like my MIL's.

I plan to have the finished size be about 17x15.

My AQSG quilt restoration friend Anne Dawson, who also lives here on Lopez, showed me how to adhere the tiny scraps to the background fabric using a tacky material that you press on.  Now I am ready to hand embroider around all the edges.

The two 20-patch squares are about 2 1/4 inches square! This is my "keep my hands busy" project when I am away from my computer or don't have a book in my hands.

The strips of tiny patches are 1 x 2 1/4 inches.

Each 4-Patch is about an inch square.

I am also taking along another doll quilt that I won at a fund raising auction in 2005. It needs quilting and a binding.  It will be interesting to see how much I actually get done on the cruise!  But I know I will need something to keep my hands busy while listening to the music.

These tiny little Nine-Patches are 1 3/8 inch square! 

Below is another even smaller embroidered quilt from the Rainbow Quilt Block Company.  Found this little jewel in May 2006. 

 Dolly Dingle was a favorite from the 1930s.  Just do a search on eBay and you will find all kinds of Dolly Dingle paper dolls. They have even reproduced her in fabric in the past couple of years. I believe these were also from the Rainbow Quilt Designs Company as were the Teddy Bears below.

You can still find all of these patterns today.

Here is another little treat for you from my collection. It is 13x18 inches.

My guess is that the patterns are from the Rainbow Company but I have yet to confirm this by finding them in a catalogue or an ad.  I love the strippy format!

Ah, the search is such fun!

Keep those needles flying!


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Crib & Doll Quilts

I am always grateful for an opportunity to share my quilts and our wonderful island library has given me my 2nd opportunity in two years to do so!

Lopez Island Library is a community run library and is the most enchanting library I have ever visited.  A lot of it has to do with the volunteers! The fact that it was once a one-room schoolhouse also adds to the charm. You can read its story here.

Photo courtesy of Lopez Island Library

Besides books, this amazing community library also makes musical instruments available for check out!

Crib and Doll Quilts - Full of History!

Click on photos to enlarge.

“Quaddie Quiltie” detail

1) “Quaddie Quiltie”
Pattern series by Ruby Short McKim
Design first available in 1916. 

This quilt bears a label on the back that reads: Carol Burr Baby quilt made for Richard born 1918.

Ruby Short McKim (1891-1976) studied art under the renowned Frank Alvah Parsons at the New York School of Fine and Applied Arts in New York City. Although the reason is not known for certain, finances probably had a lot to do with returning home.

Once home, Ruby began to teach in the public schools and in 1912 became the Supervisor of Drawing for the Independence School system, overseeing all grades elementary through high school.

“Bedtime Quilt”, or the “Quaddie Quiltie” series as it soon became known, launched McKim’s “official” career on May 7, 1916 in the Kansas City Star. It was her first published series. Quilt historians also believe it to be the first syndicated quilt pattern series.

Although the red sashing is badly worn in places, especially across the top border, I was thrilled to stumble upon such an early quilt of Ruby’s first series.

This first series was a joint copyright venture with well known author Thornton Burgess. Burgess, who died in 1965 at the age of 91, wrote over 170 books and 15,000 stories throughout his life.  His characters, such as: Peter Rabbit, Joe Otter, Hooty the Owl, Jerry Muskrat, and Bobby Raccoon are famous worldwide. It was an auspicious beginning to McKim’s career to land this joint venture.

Visit the resurrected the pattern business Ruby created! Her granddaughters are re-issuing all the patterns, each accompanied by a very special history booklet.

You can read my lengthily article on Ruby McKim here.

Colonial History - Another McKim Pattern

2) Colonial History
Pattern series by Ruby Short McKim. 
First appeared in newspaper syndication in 1930.

This quilt was probably made in the 1930s. What a great way to make history come alive to a child. What a great prompt for story telling at bedtime. When showing it to children, I always ask "How many of these scenes can you indentify?  Can you find George Washington?  What about Daniel Boone?"

One of America's Cultural Icons - the Cowboy!

3) Cross-stitched Cowboy Crib Quilt
Made ca. 1955-1965
Source of pattern still unknown at this time.

By studying quilt designs you can learn some great history along the way.

The word "cowboy" appeared in the English language by 1725. It appears to be a direct English translation of vaquero, a Spanish word for the man who managed cattle while mounted on horseback. It was derived from vaca, meaning "cow," which came from the Latin word vacca.

Another English word for a cowboy, buckaroo, is an Anglicization of vaquero. At least one linguist has speculated that the word "buckaroo" derives from the Arabic word bakara or bakhara, also meaning "heifer" or "young cow", and may have entered Spanish during the centuries of Islamic rule. Originally, the term may have been intended literally—"a boy who tends cows."

However, by 1849 it had developed its modern sense as an adult cattle handler of the American West. "Cowhand" appeared in 1852, and "cowpoke" in 1881, originally restricted to the individuals who prodded cattle with long poles to load them onto railroad cars for shipping. Read more of Wikipedia's great article on cowboys and cowgirls here.

The following is from Texas Quilts, Texas Women by Suzanne Yabsley.

Part of a cowboy’s gear was the bedroll… During a trail drive the men often worked a 16-20 hour day…Bedding had to be portable and uncomplicated. The Texas cowboy’s bedroll was often a heavy quilt, which he called a suggan.  Suggans were made from old wool pants, tailors squares. Or the legs of khakis or blue jeans….Some old timers relate that the cowboys themselves sometimes helped “tack” their suggans. One former ranch hand recalls the general use of this type of quilt and remembers hearing cowboys say, after a hard day’s work, “I can’t wait to get into them suggans!”

Mostly Doll Quilts

This space in the library is perfect for doll quilts.

4) Rectangles
Doll Quilt circ 1920s
Made on a sewing machine

Modernism — the Art Deco designs in the lightweight fabrics in this little quilt are wonderful. I have never seen a doll quilt with such a marvelous array of them.

5) Windmill
Doll Quilt circ 1920s
Made on a sewing machine

The actual name for this pattern depends upon the light and dark fabric choices and their placement.  I simply call it Windmill. Someone else might see a flower or star in it and give it a different name. If you turned the setting one tick to the right, it could possible be called a Maltese Cross variation.

(6) Rainbow - One Patch Square
circa 1930 Doll Quilt
Machine sewn

The arrangement of this cascading sherbet color scheme had a popular variety of arrangements in the ‘30s. This little jewel needs some TLC as the lightest colored fabric has split.

7) Purple Square
Doll Quilt circ 1940s-50s
Made on a sewing machine

This is a simple Nine Patch pattern with three nine-patch blocks across and three down with sashing added at top only. The final effect or design comes from the choices you make in the placement of your lights and darks.  It is an easy pattern to play with if you like to experiment with color!

8) Log Cabin
Doll Quilt circa 1900-1930
Made on a sewing machine

It is interesting to study the color changes that occurred in fabrics between 1890 and 1920.  The lighter plaids and stripes had begun to show up just before the turn of the century but it really wasn’t until after 1905 that they became the rage for use in every day dresses and children’s clothing. Virginia Gunn presented an excellent paper at the 2007 American Quilt Study Group Seminar on early 20th century quilts — "The Gingham Dog or the Calico Cat: Grassroots Quilts of the Early Twentieth Century." The fabrics in this little quilt are a perfect example of the quilts she wrote about. 

This is a variation of the Log Cabin pattern that became quite popular just after the Civil War and remained so for a very long time. This variation is quite simple to make and a good one to start a beginner on.

(9) Red Pillars
circa 1890-1910
Machine sewn

This charmer is a combination of some very traditional patterns. Again these two patterns have had a number of different names. The purple could be a Square-in-a-Square. The cadet blue corner blocks could be Flower Basket. What makes this quilt “zing” are the two red strips. I personally like the lack of “striving for perfection” in the matching of seams in the older quilts. It imbues them with a greater feel of warmth in my humble opinion.

10) Sunbonnet Sue and Scottie
Crib quilt early 1950s

Scotties (and West Highland Whites) were very popular in the USA from the 1920s through the 1950s. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s famous Scottie (Fala) brought the breed to the public’s attention once more but did not create the Scottie sensation in the USA to begin with.

Girls in bonnets were first popularized in 1878 by the publication of Kate Greenway first illustrated book. In 1884 the first knock-off Kate Greenway illustrations were published for needlework. Bertha Corbett self-published her first illustrated storybook The Sunbonnet Babies in 1900.  Her book caught the attention of Eulalie Osgood Grover, a writer of children's school primers.  Bertha was hired as the illustrator of Ms. Grover's primers series which became The Sunbonnet Babies Primer series. 

Bernhardt Wall, another early 20th century artist, also got into the act and created his own distinctive bonneted little girls. Over the last century both Corbett’s and Wall’s simplified designs have been adapted for Redwork embroidery.

Sunbonnet Sue as an appliquéd figure became popular beginning in the early 1930s and remains so today. In the 1930s outline black embroidery was often added around appliquéd figures

This particular crib quilt is not as finely made as most you will see from the 1930s. It is rather awkwardly embroidered in a blanket stitch around the appliqué. It is a very thick quilt, yet hand quilted. It is the first Sunbonnet Sue quilt I have personally seen with the Scottie dog added.

Click on the photo twice to see the stitching up close. You can see how she first outlined each dog and child in a black running stitch. Then she stitched a blanket stitch around each figure, crude though it may be compared to most examples of outlined applique of this period.

One of the members of the Quilt History List told me that she is reasonably certain the pattern came from one of the Colonial Pattern series booklets from the 1950s. She further added that Betty Hagerman cited this pattern in her book, A Meeting of the Sunbonnet  Children. The children are featured in various poses including with butterfly, watering can and balloon, etc.  One of the poses includes a girl in similar garb bending over a Scotty dog.  Another pattern to track down and add to my documentation!

The last quilt in the exhibit — Donald's 1944 Tile Quilt (50x33)

I'll go back to the library and take clearer photos tomorrow. This is what I grabbed off eBay when I bought it.

This delightful find has the date 1944 embroidered on it plus the name Donald.

I first enountered a Tile Quilt at the International Quilt Festival in Houston in an antique quilt dealers booth. It caught my eye as I was cruising by and it was such an odd-duck I put on my brakes and took a photo.

I looked and looked at this quilt for the longest time until I finally realized....all those little pieces are just "left-over scraps" randomly placed in the maker's own "made-up" pattern. In some instance she was almost able to make it look like a snowflake-type pattern!

My 1944 Tile crib quilt really has no pattern to it but it was born of the same idea....left-over scraps randomly placed on a background fabric, no scrap too small or too oddly shaped to NOT use! AQSG friends Bobbi Finley and Carol Gilham published a book under C&T's banner in 2010 about this unusual pattern style — "The Tile Quilt Revival".

Until next time, keep those needles flying! We don't want to run out of quilts to research and document!


PS:  Want to see still more doll quilts?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Patchwork Man

Remember my telling you about Patchwork Man in my first Red & Green post, December 12th?  I just found another photo of him!

Here is the 1994 photo I showed you in December.  Patchwork Man was made by our youngest daughter as one of her art projects her senior year of highschool in 1990. I took him with us through three moves within Virginia after she left for college.

Poor thing, he had only one arm by design. Here he sits in an old family rocker which itself sits on an old cheese barrel from The Valley wrapped in red fabric.

I had more fun belting him in the passenger seat of my van and driving him to his new home each time we moved within the D.C. area, always draped in the loving arms of my handmade dolls.  Alas, he had to be left behind when we moved from Virginia.  I hope someone is enjoying him today!

I knew this photo below had to be somewhere! I just found it today as I searched for photos of one of the family's Shenandoah Valley quilts that is going to hang in a crazy quilt exhibit at LaConner Quilt Museum here in Washington for the next three months.

Isn't it great fun to find "lost" photos and beloved family items!  Of course, they are never really lost. They're just temporarily hiding from us.  (They do have a life of their own to live after all. They can't be on-call all the time.)

Patchwork Man did so enjoy these rides as we moved from one home to another!!  It was the only time he got to have females draped all over him.

May your New Year be full of creativity and thoughtful giving and sharing!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Shenandoah Valley Red and Green

A Shenandoah Valley Red and Green Quilt

The above quilt purchased at the Lawrence Huffman estate, October 1994, in the Stony Man area just south of Luray, Page Co, the Shenandoah Valleyof Virginia.

This is a view of the south side of the house. A front view is shown below in B&W. 

I did not grow up in the Shenandoah Valley, but my childhood memories of it are very pronounced. It's not an over-statment to say I fell in love with it while visiting my great aunts several times during my childhood.

When my husband and I moved to Virginia the first time, I took up quilting. I soon began  attending estate auctions, too. If I bought something at a Valley auction, I also tried to capture photos of the house as well as interview any family members I discovered at the auction.

It was very difficult to get a photo that day of this lovely old Valley home because the trees around it were so overgown. Like so many of these homes, additions  and changes continued to be made over the years. Here is a photo I found in the now long out of print 1962 book, Old Homes of Page County by Jennie Ann Kerkhoff

An item at the auction. Is this the quiltmaker?
There's no one left who can tell us.

The original owner of the house is said to have been "Elder Samuel Spitler". He started the house just as the Civil War began.  There are said to be two dates on this house stamped in two different bricks: the start date of 1862 and the finishing date of 1866. 

According to Kerkoff, Mr. Spitler's sister, a Mrs. Cline, resided in this house for a short time after the Spitlers moved. Then the home was sold to the Frank Hershberger family. According to someone at the auction, Mrs. Hershberger's maiden name was Spitler and her mother's maiden name was Varner.  Since I have both Hershbergers and Varners among my many Swiss-German ancestors in the Valley (and distant Spitler cousins by marriage), I decided I might as well adopt this place, too, as one of our ancestral family homes!

As I learned bits and pieces of the house's history that day, it just wet my appetite for  more information. The Luray Library in Page County has a wonderful genealogical research area, as does the Harrisonburg Library in Rockingham County.

The building below is the earliest on the property still standing, I was told, for it has the oldest date on it. So I went looking for the date.

As I rounded the corner of the steep hill below this small building, I came upon this scene. (Hope there are some future Valley farmers in this bunch. They are a dying breed!)

There above their heads top, right hand corner, is the dated brick. I pointed it out to them. Then I asked if they could help me figure out how old the building was given that we now had the date - 1856.

Fortunately for Page County and Page Valley history lovers, several people started doing research in the early part of the 20th century and each generation thereafter has added something major. Jennie Ann Kerkhoff's 1962 book of Old Homes of Page County is a treasure trove of leads. Several of my own direct ancestral homes are in this book.

This link leads you to several Valley farms. Though not the estate at which I found my quilts, it nevertheless gives you a great sense of what many of the early Valley farms were like in their hey-day.  (Take the time to visit a few of the other Valley farms. It's well worth your time if you like the history of early Valley living.)

Here is the view looking East from the Huffman Estate Auction
to one of several Varner Farms in that area of Page County.

Meanwhile, back to the Red and Green Pine Burr Quilt

Another look at my lovely thin-batted Pine Burr. You can see some fading in a couple of the blocks on the left side of the photo.

(75" x 89") Variation on a Feathered Star or Pine Burr?

In Barbara Brackman’s “Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns” this pattern is most similar to #3302 (pg. 363) — “Pine Burr”. The earliest published source is attributed to Clara Stone whose designs appeared in “Practical Needlework: Quilt Patterns” by C. W. Calkins & Co., Boston, MA, 1906.

However, the pattern in my quilt seems slightly different.

I tried creating it on graph paper but didn't make the muslin pieces fall in the correct places so the drawing is not true to the pattern but you get the idea.

The following items were also purchased at the same auction from the Lawrence Huffman estate, October 1994, in the Stony Man area just south of Luray, Page Co, the Shenandoah Valleyof Virginia.

This is one of those incidents where even though I attended the estate auction in person, I could not confirm who actually made the quilt in spite of all my interviewing of family members.

Mrs. Huffman preceeded her husband in death and Mr. Huffman had Alzheimer's when he died, I was told by his sister. She told me his wife was from Texas but that she didn't quilt. The sister suggested the Red and Green Pine Burr quilt may have come from the wife's Texas family. However, the blocks and small tops I bought that day probably came from the Huffman mother's side of the family, she added.

 When I asked her what her mother's maiden name was, she said Varner. Well, lo and behold, I am a Varner twice over. My Great Grandmother on my father's father's side was a Varner as was my Great Grandfather's mother. (Yes, those two "greats" were 2nd cousins when they married.) Turns out my Great Grandmother and Lawrence Huffman's Grandmother were first cousins.

Having roots in the Shenandoah Valley from 1740 thru the 1940s, I was always  running into kin once I began attending estate auctions in the Valley in the 1990s after moving to Virginia.

You never know what you're going to find if you dig deep enough into your "filed" stuff. Today I found the auction stubb (below) for the Red and Green Pine Burr quilt I bought at this auction!

In 2004 Better Homes and Gardens/Meredith Corporation published a wonderful book celebrating their coverage of quilting in the 20th century.  I highly recommend this book as an overview of one magazine's impact on the quilt world. (Ordering details are here.) On page 52 you can see a photo of a Pine Burr quilt. It's believed to have been made about 1900.

Here is another Pine Burr. This one comes from the book Oklahoma Quilt Heritage Project (page 45). It was made by Nancy Ellen “Mollie” Ward Shellenberger (1855-1937) in Love County, Oklahoma, circa 1910. 

Although the book is out of print and very hard to find, the Oklahoma Quilter's Guild, Inc is offering the complete manuscript of the book on a compact disk, along with the complete database compiled by the OK Heritage Quilt Project Team in preparation for publishing the book.  The cost of the CD is $20 plus $4 for shipping and handling and can be ordered here.

You can see another variation of this pattern on page 197 of A People and Their Quilts by John Rice Irwin (1984 by Schiffer Books). It's on their website at a lower price than!

You can see an Indigo and white variation of this pattern by Jane Roberts Vernam on page 85 of Wisconsin Quilts: History in the Stitches. It is said to have been made in 1886 as a wedding gift for Jane's daughter. Like mine, the large white spaces in this one are large diamonds, not piced like a Log Cabin Pineapple variation. 

There are several variations of this pattern on The Quilt Index as well.  I couldn't find any at IQSC though. Again, here are several like the Indigo from the Wisconsin book and my quilt with the large white diamond piece. The first is red and white circa 1890. This 2nd one circa1900 looks to be done in golden brown and ash tan. This 3rd one circa 1890 appears to be cranberry and white. The 4th appears to be navy and maroon and is from TN circa 1885.

It's interesting that all the quilts I have seen in the books have fallen between 1885 and 1910 so far. I think the Red and Green are still my favorite in this pattern!

More New Years shopping for red and green quilts at the Quilt Complex
owned by friend Julie Silber!

Shalom! ~ Karen

PS: It is quite fascinating to study how we came by the Christmas and Holiday customs that we see about us today! Do you record your family's traditions or take photos of your special holiday decorations and keep an album of them?