QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT

QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT By Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman Above: Compton from Moda's Morris Earthly Paradise

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Morris Hexathon Introduction

Next week we start the six-month quiltalong, a Morris Hexathon (May to October, 2016 ) on this blog. The posts will appear every Saturday for 26 weeks beginning May 7, 2016.
We'll make various hexies as we discuss a little hexie history. The main theme will be a jog through William Morris's England with stops at places that were important in his life and work. It's a virtual Morris Tour of England.

The patchwork will be hexagonal blocks. Our models will be done in Morris prints, featuring my latest line for Moda Morris Earthly Paradise.



How to describe the size?
I designed the blocks to fit on an 8-1/2" sheet of printer paper.
Becky did the graphic showing that the block is 8" wide at its widest point.
The sides are 4" long, so in hexie terms these are 4" hexagonal blocks.

You'll print the pattern out every week and cut the pieces as paper templates, adding seams.
You may prefer to use hexagonal rulers, EQ7 or old fashioned geometry to draw the designs yourself. They'll be based on the 60 degree angles you find in hexagons.

Some will be in BlockBase---many are new designs. Some have curves and Y seams (not too many.) Some have many seams meeting in the center (not too many) so the series will be a good exercise in piecing. If you are new to paper piecing see the tutorials.



Above some hexagon geometry.

Tutorials on English Paper Piecing (EPP)
From Connecting Threads for hexagon shapes:

Lina Patchwork using diamonds:

Jessie Fincham on a different diamond:
http://www.jessiefincham.com/2014/08/english-paper-piecing-basics-week-3.html


The Official Set

A hexagonal medallion from about 1800-1830.

The inspiration quilt above shows rings of pieced hexagonal blocks alternated with rings of unpieced hexagons.

Rings of Hexagons
68 inches square

EQ7 says this will be 68” across with 8” wide blocks with 4" sides.

Alternate pieced and unpieced hexagons. If the center hex is pieced you need 37 pieced blocks to make two rings. If the center is unpieced you need 24 pieced hexagons. 

You're getting 26 different hexagons in the series.

All the edge hexagons (see the hexagons with the x's above)
are unpieced.

From Woman's Day.
The vintage medallions usually alternate white rings with pieced blocks.

Similar quilt from about 1870-1890


 But one idea is fussy-cut chintzes in the 8” plain hexagons, inspired by this piece of cheater cloth.

Below is a pattern for an unpieced 4" hexagon. You can practice printing.


Pattern for a Hexagon that is 8" wide at the widest point.
(4" sides)

To Print:
  • Create a word file or a new empty JPG file.
  • Click on the image above. 
  • Right click on it and save it to your file. 
  • Print that file out. The hexagon should measure 8" across: Each side 4"
  • Adjust the printed page size if necessary.
  • Add seams when you cut the fabric. 
  • You will probably not get all the enclosing box on your printed page but you don't need it.
How much fabric will you need?
Becky Brown is making the models out a variety of Morris prints. She is the Queen of fussy cutting so she needs a lot of fabric



I'd start with some fat quarters of favorite prints or plains and add as you go along.


26 blocks---maybe 13 fat quarters,
which is a little more than 3 yards of fabric.
If you are going to do the official set with many unpieced hexagons I'd buy 5 yards of that background fabric ----more if you plan to fussy cut it.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Potted Plants with Reverse Applique

I saw this odd plant in a pot pattern
from the Connecticut project on the Quilt Index.
It's in the collection of the Darien Historical Society.
I'm assuming the white leaf is reverse appliqued,
a hole cut in the red.

The notes directed me to Myron & Patsy Orlofsky's book
Quilts in America
and here was a twin in black and white.
The caption says it is red on white.
It looks like a maple leaf in the reverse applique. 

It's the same quilt, which was in a private
collection in 1974 when the book was published.
Note the one rather ill-defined maple leaf on the right side here;
left side above in color.
The caption calls it Palm Tree Basket.
I posted the pair on my Facebook page and Sandra Starley and Sue Reich pointed out it is the same quilt.

Sue Reich's response: "This quilt in the Darien Historical Society is the same one in Orlofsky. I have a red and green appliqué in my collection with the motif appliquéd around the border. When CQSP documented the Darien collection, we recognized it immediately."


But here is a fraternal twin signed B.J.
It was  pictured in black and white in the magazine The Clarion in 1989. This one with a heart instead of a leaf is said to be from New York. The initials are done in that cross-stitch style applique that is often from New York.


A similar design from a border of a quilt supposedly made in New York.


Another New York quilt, sold at auction.

We could define a category of vegetation with reverse applique
with or without the container.

I'm inclined to see them as ferns rather than
palm trees. Here it is in a mid-19th century
applique from the New Jersey project---a cousin. 
The block

The caption:
"The unusual applique pattern may be an Oak Leaf variation. One similar design, called Friendship Leaf, can be seen in an album quilt owned by the Pennsylvania Farm Museum and published in American Quilts and How to Make Them by Carter Houck and Myron Miller."

There are three of the OakTree/Fern/Palm Tree blocks in the sampler on the cover of the Houck & Miller book.

Here's one in 
an early example of a signature album quilt 
 by Harriet Miller Shinn dated 1841-1843.

The quilt is in the collection of Joyce Fullerton Smith.

Vaguely similar from a sampler shown at a long-ago meeting
of the Studio Quilt Study Group




Another block from the same quilt.


Well this one looks like a palm tree. It's from an album quilt dated 1846 for Lydia Rounsavel.
Lydia Wolverton married Hezekiah Rounsavel on January 22, 1843 in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.
The photos are from Stella Rubin's online shop.

There's another tree in a pot with reverse applique
on this quilt


From another album


Below: The closest identification I could find in my Encyclopedia of Applique

#40.41 in the strange plants in pots category was
published as Sahara Rose in the Nancy Cabot quilt
column of the Chicago Tribune in 1936 (left here).

The pot is similar. 
Sahara Rose is a lovely name implying palms and cactuses, so Nancy Cabot saw it as some kind of desert plant. I find that the words were in the air at the time. Irving Berlin wrote a song called My Sahara Rose in the 1920s.


"My Little Bimbo Down on the Bimbo Isle"
Never heard it. Don't wanna.

But back to Sahara Rose and the variations.
And it's a very loose category.

Something that could haunt a frustrated librarian.


A sprouted heart inside a heart.
And now it's not really reverse applique but a
great example of positive/negative imagery.

The center block in a quilt  (1840-1900?) from an online auction.
There are probably more of these loose variations found in borders like this one from the Museum
of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Quilt Index.


From Northwest Auctions



The original observation, which has led so far afield.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Heavenly Vision From North Carolina

Emily Maxwell and her Heavenly Vision Quilt
about 1955

I found this charming quilt and its story at the North Carolina Museum of History.

Heavenly Vision made by Emily Margaret Eller Maxwell (1867-1957) 
North Carolina, 1952
85 x 67"
Collection North Carolina Museum of History


 Maxwell "said that she had been sent a vision of heaven and that God told her to make this quilt."
Note the "HV."


The Museum has a wide-ranging collection and the website gives much detail about the quilts and the makers. It's really an exemplary site.


Quilt from the Roach Family


Friendship quilt, apparently made in New York,
date inscribed 1845-1855
Collection North Carolina Museum of History





Medallion with a pillar print center


Collection North Carolina Museum of History