Sunday, March 13, 2011

Threads of Feeling Exhibit Ends in London

What a powerful exhibit!

By John Styles

Accompanies an exhibition at the Foundling Museum, London 14 October 2010–6 March 2011

When mothers left babies at London’s Foundling Hospital in the mid-eighteenth century, the Hospital often retained a small token as a means of identification, usually a piece of fabric. These swatches of fabric now form Britain’s largest collection of everyday textiles from the eighteenth century. They include the whole range of fabrics worn by ordinary women, along with ribbons, embroidery and even some baby clothes. Beautiful and poignant, each scrap of material reflects the life of an infant child and that of its absent parent. The enthralling stories the fabrics tell about textiles, fashion, women’s skills, infant clothing and maternal emotion are the material of Threads of Feeling.  Read more here.

The above link will also give you an opportunity to order the exhibit catalogue.  Click here to read a review and responses to the exhibit. 

Karen in the Islands

What is an Ulster-inspired Quilt

My Most Intriguing 
Red and White Quilt


Purchased on eBay in Nov 2007. Came from an estate in central Illinois. 

The design of this crib quilt reminds me of some Ulster quilts I have seen photos of.  I'll add a little more to this post when I get back from my guild meeting.

July 2011 Update:  Here is a quilt very similar to my quit above in The Quilt Index.

Bowman, Grandmother. Applique Hearts. 7-30-1988. From State Historical Society of Iowa, IQRP . Published in The Quilt Index, Accessed: 07/16/2011

Wanting to give this post its own search title and also wanting to continue the Red and White theme, I've moved the 2nd half of the last post into this spot.

March 2011 Update:

Okay, now to add some more information that may or may not relate to the above crib quilt in my collection.

A research paper by Valerie Wilson, "Quiltmaking in Counties Antrim and Down: Some Preliminary Findings from the Ulster Quilt Survey", appears in the 1991 Uncoverings, the journal of the American Quilt Study Group.  According to the article, at the time of the paper's publishing, Wilson was a Textile Assistant for the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.  You can find a few quilts on their website but nothing like the quilts mentioned in Wilson's research paper. Too bad.

However, I have added two photos from the article below  PLUS photos of more quilts that I have found on eBay and other places that for one reason or another made me think of my crib quilt.

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Now for additional photos I have found and saved for study purposes.

eBay dealer gbest had the above quilt in 2007. It reminds me of the Ulster quilt above it shown in black & white.

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Found in state of Vermont (above) - source....AQSG member Sharon Waddell

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above - seen at Case Auction Lot 58_2008

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Size: 84 inches x75 inches
2011 eBay item: 390175677617        
Item location: Lancaster, PA


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Offered eBay dealer Mark French in 2011.

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Dealer Cindy Rennels had this quilt in 2010.

Also from quilt dealer Cindy Rennels but in 2011.

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eBay find

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above-source - eBay Jan 2010

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Above is a quilt Julie Silber and Jean Demeter of The Quilt Complex 
had for sale a couple of years ago. Check out more of their fabulous quilts here!

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Source "In Praise of Quilts" weekend at the 
Genesee Country Village Museum
by Lorie Stubbs

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Source for the above - this is just one block from the quilt. I found the quilt on 
Betsy Talford's Rocky Mountain Quilts website in January 2010.

I have no conclusions. Just lots of questions!  

Please feel free to to contact me if you have photos of quilts resembling any of the above or know anything more about on-going research on Ulster quilts!

KarenQuilt in the Islands

PS: Update June 2011

This quilt was labeled "Hawaiian" by the eBay seller in June 2011.

PS2: 2015 December  

I have found another even better candidate for an Ulster inspired quilter, albeit, only a top.  Click here to see it.

The above blue quilt was brought home from Hawaii by a friend of the seller's father following WWII.

Read more about Hawaiian quilts by visiting the Bishop Museum Ethnology Collection clicking here.

Monday, March 7, 2011

New York Celebrates Red and White!

Networking through blogs is the name of the communication game today. I'm still not interested in Twitter. But who knows.

Recently Beth Donaldson at QuiltDoctor blogged about Taryn at Repro Quilt Lover. To celebrate the Red and White Quilt Exhibit in New York City hosted by the American Folk Art Museum, Taryn decided to offer a Red and White Challenge of her own.

Check out Taryn's Challenge here.

If you have a Red and White quilt in your collection, enter a photo in the challenge! I have entered the Challenge by sending a photo of the Red and White Star quilt below in my collection to Taryn.

I have a confession to make. After I read Beth's post and went looking for this quilt, I was astounded when I opened it up. I had forgotten it had a large red star at the center!

All I seemed to remember about this quilt (once it went into storage) were the wonky corners!  Now that I see it fully open once again, I remember how I loved the fact that the maker didn't give a hoot about making those corners come out the same at each turn!! My kind of gal!

I have a very hard time taking head-on shots in this house without going to a lot of dragging a ladder into the house. I punted today and just hung it in my office for this shot. But the room is too narrow to get a full head-on.

As you can see, the red is quite worn in the center of this quilt.  This is one of my few quilts that I cannot find any record on. Given that almost all of the quilts in my collection that I purchased pre-2004 were found at estate sales in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia or in antique malls on one of my many trips with Hazel Carter across Ohio and Indiana, I can pretty safely assume this one came from one of those three states.

NEWS FLASH: Just since posting this last night, two folks have sent me links to quilts very similar to this quilt. Both are located in the U.K.!

Here is mine.

What do you think?

The four wonky corners!

Double click to enlarge.

Most of my other red and white quilts are redwork quilts and/or doll or crib quilts.

Here is a crib quilt dated 1918. This pattern was Ruby Short McKim's first quilt design produced in 1916.  You can read an article I have written about McKim here.

Redwork Quaddie Quiltie McKim Crib Quilt

The quilt from my collection whose blocks you see here bears only 9 of the 20 different patterns from this first McKim series. A fabric tag stitched to the back reads: Carol Burr Baby quilt made for Richard born 1918. Although the red sashing is badly worn in places, especially across the top border, I was thrilled to stumble upon such an early copy of Ruby's first series.

This first series was a joint copyright venture with well known author Thornton 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 Ruby's career to land this joint venture.

To see more Ruby McKim quilts visit Lynn Miller's blog here.

Red and White Applique Doll Quilt


The little animals above were cut out from another fabric and 
appliqued onto this little doll quilt.

Two-sided Redwork Doll Quilt


Below: reverse side of above doll quilt

Early Red & White 20th century Crib Quilt

This is actually rather like a duvet and has the initials at the top RMB for Rita M. Batka. Rita was a secretary and teacher who lived with her sister, and never married.The back is a small flannel plaid in blue and pink. Dont know where she was born but do know she was born in 1922. Some family still lived in Maryland at the time of her death. The known history includes a copy of her obituary and a copy of the estate sale ad giving some family history, and history of her life, which she lived mostly in Kansas. 


detail of above quilt - Jiggs  from "Bringing Up Father" 

Excerpt from history of "Bringing Up Father". Click here to see more history and to see sample comic strips.

"It wasn't until January 2, 1913 that the strip formally became known as 'Bringing Up Father.' And it wasn't until 1916 that the strip began appearing as a daily on a regular basis, with Sunday strips following on April 14, 1918.

Bringing Up Father told the story of Irish-American Jiggs, a former bricklayer, and his wife Maggie, an ex-laundress, who achieved sudden wealth, supposedly by means of a lucky ticket in the Irish Sweepstakes. While the snobbish Maggie and beautiful daughter Nora constantly try to "bring up" Father to his new social position, Jiggs can think of nothing finer than sitting down at Dinty Moore's restaurant to finish off several dishes of corned beef and cabbage, followed by a night out with the boys from the old neighborhood. The clash of wills that ensued often resulted in flying rolling-pins, smashed crockery, and broken vases, all aimed in the general direction of Jiggs's skull."

detail of above quilt

Red Work Doll Quilt


Red Applique Doll Quilt


Click here to see more Red and White quilts in my next post, including some Ulster quilts.

Karen in the Islands

PS: Concerned about the current cotton market and the price of quilting fabrics?  
So is the market place. Check it out here.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Star Quilt Reporter Cinda Cawley Passes

Block I made for Cinda when she first became ill.

If you are a member of the QHL quilt history discussion list or the AQSG quilt history discussion list, you have already heard of the passing of our beloved Cinda Cawley.

If you are a member of neither of these groups, you are missing out on the experience of a lifetime when it comes to friendships — as well as quilt history information!

Here the quilt sleuths gather at one of Fran's Friends fabric study meetings in Maryland
about 1999 or 2000, eagerly awaiting that first quilt to be spread out!  Cinda is in the far
right corner of the photo. Hazel Carter has her back to the camera. Barb Garrett is in the upper left
with Suzzane Cawley next to her--(no relation to Cinda). Phyllis Twigg Hatcher is the 3rd person
to Cinda's right. Can't remember the rest of the names.

Like most of those I have met in the quilt history world these past 30 years, Cinda was one-of-a-kind. Her sense of "can-do" when it came to ferretting out the story hidden in a quilt was contagious. Her moral outrage when it came to politics could light up the sky. Her generosity touched your heart and her fun-loving spirit made you want to be sure to be in her car so you could be along for the adventure!

How fortunate we of the VA-MD-PA fabric dating clubs were to have Cinda in our midst for so many years. Her ability to retain what she saw at those meetings and produce a full-blown written report later without hardly taking a note absolutely amazed me. Without her written reports, which she posted to QHL and AQSG, I wouldn’t have been able to identify half the photos I took at the meetings.
Nov 2000 - Cinda on right holding one of her fraktur quilts.
The hanging quilts are from my small Shenandoah Valley collection.

I spoke to Bayside Quilters on Maryland's Eastern Shore in Nov 2000 and had the great joy and privilege of spending the night with Cinda. It was the night America couldn’t decide who had really won the presidential election. It was an experience I will fondly and forever remember for having shared it with Cinda Cawley!

Cinda had not been well for a couple of years but we had all so hoped she was going to be able to keep putting one foot in front of the other and do what she loved best - document those quilts! And so she did for almost two more years.

Lorie Stubbs and Cinda Cawley stop to examine an antique quilt
at the 2009 AQSG Seminar in San Jose, California.

Alas, Cinda finally laid her pen and needle down and headed off to wherever Cuesta Benberry, Sally Garoutte, Lucy Hilty, Helen Kelley, Shiela Betterton, Mary Schafer, Bonnie Leman, Cryil Nelson, Joan Kiplinger, Sara Dillow, Hilary Fletcher, Sharon Newman, Helen Ewer and now even Jean Ray Laury (who also passed this week) are gathered in the Great Beyond. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Look at the Seminar attendees she is hob-nobbing with now!!!

Karen in the Islands

PS: If you want to leave a note for the family here, I'll be sure these messages get passed on to them.

More photos from Cinda's friends!

Beverly Birkmire from Maryland's Eastern Shore shared the following from the 2008 AQSG Seminar:

Who knows the story about this quilt?

Back row l-r: Julie Hardy, Cinda, Greta Van den Berg. Looks like the three in the front are first timers from Texas! Welcome First Timers Vickie Stipe, Debbie Stojanik and Ramona Williams!

Eastern Shore Quilt Study Group

FRONT ROW - Nancy Hahn (red), Polly Mello, Marylou McDonald (green), Cinda Cawley;
MIDDLE - Debby Cooney, Mary Kerr (behind Debby), Susan Shreuers (turquoisie), Madge Ziegler (red), Julianne Hardy (pink);
BACK ROW- Greta VanDenBerg Nestle, Karen Dever, Beverly Birkmire, Barbara Garrett (purple)

Below is a booth she set up at a show in Maryland, I believe, to share AQSG with the public.

Cinda was passionate about AQSG. Presenting her paper Ihr Teppich: Quilts and Fraktur at the 2004 Seminar in Vancouver, WA was a dream come true. Wish I had some photos from that moment.  

(My wish was just granted! Lisa Portwood just sent the photo below.)  

Cinda delivering her paper in Vancouver in 2004

Tribute from Xenia  Cord

Anyone who ever encountered Cinda, in person or through the cyberworld, was aware of her prodigious memory, her sparkling intellect, her sharp wit, her incredible generosity.   "Cindalogues" were word pictures that made us wish to have been there to see the quilts she described, and also made us long for the graceful language skills with which she excited her unknown readers.

But Cinda also made an impact in other, less recognized ways.  When she was researching and writing her AQSG paper on fraktur quilts, she asked me to be her mentor (an improbable role-reversal).  During the process we shared many laughs over her insistence on still more in-depth research, and my threats to bring out my whip if she didn't begin the writing process.  And so the paper developed and matured, and in October 2004 she appeared before an eager AQSG audience at the annual seminar, that year held in Vancouver, Washington.

Until that time, the format for presenting papers had been to read an edited text to the audience, a procedure that kept presenters on track within the tightly scheduled presentation period.  Cinda was impatient with that approach, choosing instead to share with us some of what she had discovered about the lives, inter-familial connections, and personalities of the people she had met on the signed quilts.  We could read her research at our leisure, she said.  As she told us about Avaline Sarah Ann Ziegenfuss Stern, the woman who sparked her research interest, she brought us into the world of the Pennsylvania she knew and loved and made those who peopled her quilts live again.  It was her hope that her research would "insure that not only she [Avaline] but those she loved, will not be forgotten."

And so Cinda has affected us all, and we are the better for it.

Xenia Cord

The following photos came from Jean Carlton and were taken at Cinda's PA Quilts Study Center at the AQSG Seminar in Lowell, Massachusetts in October 2007.

Photo below is from Anita Loscalzo, recalling another AQSG member we lost (Helen Ewer) not long after the 2007 Seminar. Helen so much resembled Cinda that members were constantly walking up to Helen at Seminar and assuming she was Cinda and vice-a-versa. They finally came up with a solution....look at their name tags in the photo closely.

Another photo from Lisa Portwood

Photo below courtesy of Judy Grow

More photos below from Beverly Birkmire from the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe....Looks like Cinda, Patricia Herr and Dawn Heefner have a very difficult decision to make!  Cinda discovered the bakery just down from the hotel where the 2009 San Jose AQSG Seminar was held....and proceeded to lead us all astray. (Like we needed any help! When you attend Semianr, count on being led astray.)

A Tribute from Hazel Carter, founder of 
The Quilters Hall of Fame and co-founder of the 
Northern Virginia Antique Quilt/Fabric Dating Club

Say it isn’t so!  Those have been my thoughts since receiving the phone call from Beverly Birkmire about the passing of our dear friend, Cinda.  Cinda had phoned me the middle of February and in her conversation said as soon as she got out of the hospital she was going to have John bring her down to our Dating Club so she could let us see her newly acquired New York quilts.  She explained that they were quite different from her Pennsylvania quilts.

She had been active in the Pennsylvania quilting community prior to joining our Antique and Vintage Fabric Dating Club.  We are indebted to her for reporting on our meetings and putting us on the map!  Can you believe she wrote those reports without notes in the beginning?  

I enjoyed seeing the many historical printed scarves and hankies that she began sharing with the group so I gave her a Frankie Welch scarf printed with the Cherokee alphabet.  She gave an outstanding presentation for my guild on this collection. She explained that the scarf I had given her was a great addition to her collection as she had researched and found that Presidents had often presented the Cherokee scarves to visiting foreign guests.  

Cinda you will be missed for your knowledge, your humor, research and collections.  But you will live on in our memories forever.    Hazel Carter

A Tribute from AQSG member Gaye Ingram

With Gaye Ingram's permission, I am adding her AQSG post below.

March 6, 2011

I've been unable to get Cinda out of my thoughts this weekend. My mind cannot accept her absence. 

For if anyone was ever fully "present," it was Cinda!

Without her, we will not be the same.

When I first joined this list, I was fascinated by references to "The Dating Club." I knew it had something to do with quilts, but I couldn't figure out exactly what. Somehow the notion of assigning dates to quilts did not occur to me. I was teaching teenagers at the time and accustomed to another context.

My first fully formed idea of that group came via one of Cinda's famous posts to qhl. In the wake of 9-11, I was like a lot of people, just stunned into some new system of time and priorities.  

Clearly the Dating Club ladies were made of sterner stuff, for Cinda described the difficulties involves in getting to a previously scheduled meeting. A large truck transporting missles had been in a wreck on a highway in the D.C. area, and missles littered the highway and roadsides. Traffic was stopped, then turned back. The Dating Club members were undeterred, however. They did the unthinkable, given the time and place: they drove across the greensward between highways, and then by hook and by crook, they found their way back to the unblocked portion of the highway. In the South we would have reported the maneuverings and our daring in defying authority, but not Cinda. She made the whole affair seem routine. What she reported was what the group saw that day. In full and glorious detail. 

Cinda taught me so much by way of this list. Living in Louisiana, I had no ready access to the kinds of bounty to which Cinda and others in the Mid-Atlantic group routinely saw. I'd spent time in museum archives and seen more than most people I knew. But I simply hadn't the largesse available to that group. And Cinda, without notes, generously opened that world to me and many others. I've missed her reports, the conversations they generated.

I confess I cannot fully grasp that her posts will no longer appear on qhl. I've not been able to grasp that this terrible disease could stop a force so vital as Cinda Cawley. Of all our list members, she seemed the most unstoppable. 

I think tonight of so many people who had been her traveling companions and fellow discoverers, of how they must feel. And I think of all of us on this list, how much poorer we are. We are a diverse lot, but we are one in our dismay and grief at this loss, I suspect. 

All day I've wanted to thank Kris, who gathered us here when there were no blogs and web sites and created a community wherein we could support and learn from one another and where, it is clear to me this night, we could come to love one another. I've never valued it more, Kris.         Gaye Ingram

A Tribute from Candace Perry 
of the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center

I second Gaye's post -- and want to add how supportive Cinda was to the
little guys like my museum, always including us on her travels through PA.
Also, what struck me is what a rich and diverse life Cinda had -- and it
saddens me that I only knew her from one perspective, quilts -- and how I
wish I had the opportunity to know her many fascinating facets.

Brava, Cinda!

Candace Perry
Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center

A  Tribute from Sally Ward 
of the British Quilt & Textile History List

Anyone whose life has been touched, on any level, by the world of quilters will be aware of the generosity always shown in their works. It took the internet to show me their wonderful generosity of spirit. Once, with my arcane interest in the history of quilts, I felt rather alone in a corner of northern England. Then along came the internet, the happy chance of finding Kris's Quilt History List, the flowering of internet access among quilters in the UK, and the wonder of daily chat worldwide with people who willingly share knowledge, information, and textile experiences I would otherwise have never know.

Cinda saw, and then spent her time reporting for us, more in one of her Dating Club meetings than I will see in a decade in my small corner. I wish my brain could retain a fraction of what she had to tell us (long live the QHL and BQTHL archives, what a resource she left us) . But what will always stay with me is admiration and gratitude for the generosity of a remarkable lady.    Sally Ward

 A Tribute from AQSG member Jan Thomas - March 2011

Dear friends,

I remember a few years ago when I offered to turn over my research on the Blosser quilts to someone who could write or put together a paper and Xenia threatened to get out her whip".  A few months later Cinda asked me "when are we going to hear about those quilts.  Do I have to get out my whip"? I know, for a brief second, an image of AQSG board members violently abusing their researching  members flashed through my mind but, instead, I said "Wow, you all sure think alike."  She just  grinned, but now I know where she got it.

I met Cinda in 2005 and it was love at first paragraph.  As it was when I read my first Gaye-gram, I  wondered how had I gotten along not knowing this enchanting person.  I grew up reading one book  after another so I admire the written word.  (My middle sister liked cleaning and polishing.  Today, her  house is really clean; my mind is cluttered, haha!)

After seminar in MN, I wrote to Cinda to tell her I would be replicating Margaret Blosser's 'Hand Quilt'  with contemporary tracings.  I had to get over thinking it was a really dumb idea and go for it.   Last  November she sent me the drawing of her own hand.  So, I'm officially committed to doing this since  she's now watching us all from above.

If y'all would send me a tracing of your dominant hand with your name and the date, I would be most grateful.  I promise no turkey simulations.  And, please don't think that I might be getting too many  since I know Maggie had 'leftover hands' that she put into a fourth quilt (which could be living somewhere in Michigan or California).

I'm not a quilter either, but Maggie didn't start quilting until she was 60 years old and I'm, well, let just  say in the range.  You may all send your deepest apologies to my dear friend, Lorie Stubbs, and the  Rocky Mountain Quilt Study Group who will be taking my blood pressure and holding my hand through  it all.  The worst is yet to come girls.  What would I do without the women in my life?

This means you too guys!

Thank you.

Jan Thomas, just below the Stargate.

Tribute from Lorie Stubbs of Colorado

Lorie Stubbs sent me the following note and two photos March 18, 2011.

Hi Karen, Not sure why I'm sending this to you, except that I consider you the expert in disseminating information. I love these two pictures of Cinda.  These were taken March 1, 2009 at the study group in DC.  My friend Susan and I were heading to the airport after the AQSG Williamsburg Conference. Hazel Carter had alerted me that the group was meeting that Sunday afternoon within hours of our departure from the airport.  We decided we couldn't miss it! and I'm so glad we went because it was as good as some of the museums we'd visited.  There was a MAJOR storm coming which did hit but not until after our plane took off.  We were meant to be there.
Lorie Stubbs

A Tribute from Teddy Pruett dated November 2008

Once upon a soft, lavender, dewy morning, the Great Goddess- of-All-Wonderful-Quilt-Things discovered a secret place of Quilt Blessings.  She had placed those blessings there her very self, but as GG was getting on in years, she'd forgotten where she put them.  It was as much fun as discovering money in an old purse!  She held this enormous pile of blessings in her hand, blessings that sparkled and glistened and delighted her. 

The greatest among the blessings was the opportunity to see every wonderful quilt related event on earth.  The next greatest blessing was the ability to be able to write passages of great description to share with mere mortals who could only dream of possessing Blessing Number One.

GG moved her hand slowly, admiring the effect of the blessings she held, delighted that they looked much like a hand full of sparklers. The negative thing about sparklers is that they burn out so quickly, and if shared with others, you get the effect of many many sparklers and much fizzy light.  At this point, GG decided to share the wealth of the blessings.  She raised her sparkling, blessed hand to her face, closed her eyes, and blew the blessings to earth.

She hit Cinda Cawley right square in the ass. 

Teddy Pruett

Additional Note from Karen Alexander:

Barbara Brackman, Cinda, Karen Alexander, 
Merikay Waldvogel at the 2009 San Jose Seminar

What a surprise to receive the above photo from Beverly Birkmire. I have been re-reading many of Cinda's emails and posts the past few days. As Gaye wrote above "I've been unable to get Cinda out of my thoughts this weekend. My mind cannot accept her absence." 

Nor can I believe she is gone from us. Her personhood, her personality will forever live on in my mind’s eye. She will always be fresh and alive to me because she was always SO VERY ALIVE in her whole attitude towards life. She was one of a kind. But this is so true of so many AQSG members!  I have always experienced AQSG as a place where women could shine as individuals. My first seminar was 1985. For some 25 years my best friends have come from the ranks of AQSG members.

I will contine to post tributes and photos as I receive them.  

Karen in the Islands

PS: Please take a moment to review the additional tributes left in the comments field of this blog post as well. Pat Kyser's is especially poignant.