I enjoy collecting antique quilts and making reproductions of them both big and small. I've made a few baskets and I'd like to make more. I dabble in knitting and would love to learn rug hooking, but it's hard to find time to do it all. I work in higher education and I love my job. However, I do spend a lot of time dreaming about quilts.
Stars fragmented is not a style it's just the reality of my photographs. I participated in another DAR quilt study session last week and these old quilts are so big it is difficult to get a good photo of the whole thing. So, we must settle for fragments of them Since I am listing my inadequacies, I also spent more time clicking away and not much noting the details about the quilts. If you want to learn more about the quilts most are on www.quiltindex.org. You can go there and search for stars in the DAR Museum collection and learn such things as dates, maker, etc.
Okay, now on to the quilt pictures. Above is an early star quilt. The brown fabric is one of those that starts to fall apart so it is fragile. I just love the block that we now call Ohio Star that surrounds the central medallion style pieced star. There is something calming and sophisticated in this soft two-color quilt.
The quilt above is another one that has deteriorated with time. The big star, of which you can only see a bit, is a pieced 8-pointed one while the small stars surrounded it are 6-pointed. I like the pieced triangle border. You cannot see it in the photo but the brown print on the pink fabric in the border has deteriorated and eaten holes through the fabric.
This quilt has stood up to time much better. If my memory serves me well, it can be dated to the late 1830s. It is the large pieced star one sees from that time period and contains the delightful Turkey red fabric. Don't you love the applique border you can see toward the back of the picture?
Here is a detail showing some of the red fabric I just love. If any fabric designers and manufacturers happen to be reading this, we need more reproductions! Good ones, mind you, that accurately recreate the shade of red seen in the surviving mid-19th century quilts.
This group of photos didn't load in the order I intended so forgive the jumping about. First, let's immerse ourselves in the red and green gloriousness of it all. Above is the corner section of the quilt - all four corners are made of nine eight-pointed stars with sashing.
And above, is a bigger section of the quilt showing that the maker also managed to successfully sash around the large center star and fit more sashed stars in the triangular sections on the sides.
Here is a better picture of this engineering marvel. The use of the limited palette (red, green and white) makes for the pulsing effect you get looking at the quilt. I think I even captured it in the picture although in "real life" it was quite striking.
Above is a close up of a stamp with a name - Guyer on the back of the quilt. I also like seeing the two green fabrics used in the binding and the quilt. Don't you love them?
Now, this one is quite something. It is all wool hand whip-stitched together. Wool holds color so well that there is no fading in the quilt. It is what we would consider just a top since there is no batting or backing. I've seen this type of quilt with a backing before but never batting. Think how heavy that would be! The edges are raw but the fabric is so tight that it does not even fray.
You can see the stitching and raw edge in the lower right part of the photo above. You can also get a pretty good look at how the pieces look inlaid from the front.
The quilt above is another wool quilt. It is not, however, Amish or Mennonite as you might guess.
I particularly like this one since I've spent three years hand piecing Lemoyne stars like these. Well, not quite since mine are individual stars and these are pieced together in fours sharing a center large square. Maybe I'll try this design on my next group of stars.
I particularly like the colors in the stars around the edges. Pink, brown, green and blue, yum!
The quilt above and in the next couple of pictures is the first we saw and one of the earliest. It is my opinion that these large star quilts are nothing short of magnificent and these fabrics are also.
In the photos above and below you can see the pillar print used in the border. The broderie perse "basket" is actually the top of the pillar cut off, the blue turned into leaves on each side and the flowers that wrap around the pillar are fussy cut to be the flowers at the center of the motif.
You can definitely see the pillar print better in the photo above. Below is a close up of the fabrics because I do love that soft yellow print, particularly as it contrasts against the Prussian blue.
The feathered star quilt below is a combination of excellent quilting and piecing. Our tutors were not positive but think the green fabrics may have been home dyed and they were fading unevenly in spots. Of course, I love it because, fading or not, it is red and green.
Don't you love this quilting?
This quiltmaker wasn't to be satisfied with one elaborating pieced star so she made many. A style believed to be later than the single large star. All of them fit together perfectly.
The picture below, a detail from the quilt above, was chosen to show you the fabrics a little closer. Pink and green is another favorite of mine and that bright green is a delight. And, the red. Did I mention how much I like Turkey red?
I hope you enjoyed seeing these bits and pieces of some wonderful quilts. The DAR Museum is continuing their quilt study sessions on the second Tuesdays of February, March and April. The events are called Textile Tuesdays and each session is just $20. You can register by emailing email@example.com. If you are planning a visit to Washington, DC you should definitely try to fit one of these sessions into your plans. Also, the DAR will be mounting an exhibit on early Maryland and Virginia quilts this fall so pencil that into your agenda, too. Some of the quilts we are seeing are to be included in that exhibit. The mid-Atlantic boasts some of the earliest U.S. quilts and are examples of some of the finest fabrics.
It's getting close to Christmas so not much time for sewing these days. I just wanted to share my bit of red and green gloriousness. I am not certain about the name but did a little asking around and the consensus was Prairie Rose.
I was looking forward to sharing more pictures of great museum quilts from another DAR session this week. But, Mother Nature decided to dump snow on the DC area and when that happens everything halts around here. So, the museum was closed and I missed out on something I've been looking forward to more than Christmas. Ah, well, I am sure it will be rescheduled. In the meantime, I thought I would share a few of my own quilts.
Last winter, I bought quilts at an auction for the first time ever. What fun! I knew I would have to be careful not to get swept up in the bidding excitement so I put a very firm limit on what I was willing to pay and things worked out well for me. I got what I wanted and didn't break the bank. The star quilt above is the reason I decided on giving it a shot at all. I may have mentioned (two or three hundred times) that I love 8-pointed (aka Lemoyne/Lemon stars). I've seen some really early examples in others' collections and I think this one may be one of the oldest in my own collection.
Here is a close-up of the soft pink toile border. If you squint, you can see that the maker had to piece the border in the corner. You can also get a look at the quilting which is pretty decent. There are clamshells quilted in the border and some nice grid and outline quilting on the stars. The alternate blocks have an unusual motif which wasn't captured here.
Above is a close-up of the stars so you can get a look at the fabrics. They are different from what I see in my later quilts.
Speaking of fabrics, this is a chintz quilt from the same lot at the stars one above. When I bid, it was for the stars in my mind but I knew there was another "chintz" as part of the deal. I had no expectations so when I saw this one I was more than a little excited. It's hard to get a good look at the fabrics in the two photos below but they are incredible. Some, like the browns on the right in the upper photo and near the top in the second photo below, are nearly gone but most are just fine. There is a blue and white toile in one of the nine-patches pictured that is a "bear baiting" toile. That's what I was told, at least, by someone who knows toiles much better than I do. These quilts came from New York and the backing on this chintz quilt has the stamp of the mill that made the fabric - Lowell Mills. I hope to do a little research to see if I can find out more about the fabrics made at that mill. There is not a lot of quilting in this one.
The feathered star quilt below is another quilt from the same sale. All of these were part of a single family collection. I am not sure if they were family quilts or just collected by the family but they were from New York. It is rare that I know where my quilts are from so this is pleasing to me. The feathered star is not well quilted - there is not a lot of it and the pattern looks rather hurried - but is all hand pieced and that was done well. I like the way the browns were kind of clumped together and the colors (pinks, yellow, gold, blues) are more on the left and bottom. I saw an Ohio star in the Nebraska Historical Society collection that had its colors arranged like this one. When I saw this one it just charmed me into buying it. Besides, hardly anyone else bid on it so it wasn't expensive. Some of the browns look like they are about to give up but it is still in reasonable shape. And, the fabrics are quite fun to look at.
So, I don't have the wonderful DAR quilts to show you but I enjoyed sharing some of my own favorites. I hope you are able to enjoy them, too.
It's finished! My little "Cheri" quilt was hand quilted by Bellwether last year but was left unbound until last weekend. Having hand quilted quilts - no matter how small - hanging around in that unbound state makes one feel a little guilty. And not in the guilty pleasure sort of way. So, finally, I cleaned out the sewing machine area and bound all 50" or so of this little cutie. I love this design Cheri provided for free and I copied shamelessly right down to her idea to sneak in some rouge colors. That mistake in the center left? Cheri did put a deliberate one in hers but mine was definitely not a deliberate error. It's a legitimate goof-up.
I've mentioned it before that the way I get back on the sewing/quilting horse is to pull out my tiniest scraps and make one of these little - very little - quilts. Again, this one was already finished but was just a top. When cleaning out my sewing area for the other quilt's binding I unearthed some scraps of batting and backing so I put this guy together and quilted and bound it. It took an NFL football game to finish. I did lay out and sew another one and it's basted and ready for me to do more quilting.
Since I finished two entire "quilts" I decided it was new project time. Cheri Payne's design style is so inspiring and she provides some free patterns on her blog from time to time (I also bought plenty of her patterns, too). This little 4-patch was posted in June 2011. Cheri did hers with a black background and scrappy 4-patches. When I saw it I immediately thought "red and green!" It's an easy quilt with easy directions but making those little 1-1/2" 4-patches is kind of time consuming. But it's so fun to dig around in the scrap box and fabric stash.
I bought that green fabric when looking for greens that were not "poison green" at Little Quilts a couple of months ago. Hmm, that pattern sure looked familiar. It seems that when I find a good thing I keep going back for more. I bought the blue when I wanted to do a blue and brown quilt for my son but it just wasn't right with the brown. Then I saw a basket pattern by Linda Sawrey at Temecula and was thrilled I had many yards of that blue. The brown was a trial run for my Lemoyne stars but didn't work for that. It will, however, be going into another project. The red is a lovely cherry red - not too orange - and the green, well that works so well in red and green quilts. These are nice subtle but not boring prints and the colors are fantastic. They are from the "Tavern" lines (Tavern Blues, Tavern Reds - get the picture?) by Paula Barnes for Marcus Fabrics.
That's it for now but I am still doing some sewing and should be back for more quilt chatter soon.
More of the lovely Amelia's lovely quilt. The photo above is a good example of how Amelia included the naturalistic motifs into her quilting.
Above is a photo of nearly the entire quilt compliments of the panorama feature of my iphone so it looks a little skewed. But I wanted you to get a feel for the size of this magnificent quilt - and don't forget there are FOUR of them.
This photo turned out pretty well and shows, again, my favorite little crescent feather motifs plus more of the other stuffed quilting. I should have measured the crescents because they are smaller than you realize.
Okay, next quilt. This photo captures a bit of the next quilt we saw after Amelia's. I was still smitten so I had a little trouble appreciating the beauty I was beholding with this one. But, I am sure you can get the idea. Rather complicated piecing and then such extensive stippling and stuffing.
Who can't appreciate a pineapple - the symbol of welcome. Don't you wish you could run your fingers along this one? We wore gloves but we did get to give the stuffed motifs a little squish. I also love the light blue fabric.
Above is just a shot of the entire light blue pieced block.
And, another blue quilt. Darker indigo in a sunburst design. Blue and white has been a favorite of mine.
I tried to point out the small inserted background piece of fabric on this one. On one hand, quilts like this one fly in the face of the sentimental notion that all quilting is the result of frugality and using up every scrap of fabric. This quilt clearly used a consistent background and indigo fabric. But, there were numerous instances where the quilter did add in bits of background to make it work where she didn't have quite enough of the fabric.
Finally, nearly a whole shot of the indigo quilt. This is one that I could not get turned the right way but you get the idea. Curse you iphone, curse you.
Note to self - bring the good camera next time you get to see antique quilts. Okay, now I have that little bit of bookkeeping out of the way I can tell you a little about a couple more quilts I saw yesterday. Above, is a corner. Why show us a corner, you may ask. But, if you are a fabric lover like me, you will know why. Wouldn't you love just a bit of that fabric used in the border? Since this quilt is something like c. 1850 I'd say that was some very special fabric. The colors are divine.
The photo above is from the same quilt as the corner picture. I hope you are able to enlarge the photo by clicking on it because I am not sure you can see what is quilted between the two partridges (not a bird expert so they might not be partridges). It's another partridge! Looks a bit like a duck but who am I to criticize. And that fabric...!
Now, for the one I absolutely adored. This one was so big I couldn't get a full shot of it. So, above is the center medallion. Hopefully, you can see those small little feathered arcs and get a sense of their size. So much detail in such a small motif. And the color! I really can't tell if the fabric used in the piecing was actually pink - as it looks now - or a red that faded. Probably pink(ish) given the date of the quilt which is 1823. Truly, I could have spent the entire time just taking in this quilt. There was so much quilted into it, the fabrics, the piecing, the overall effect...
We have another eagle here. Is he gorgeous, or what? I also love the way Amelia, the quilter, embellished her floral fabric motifs by adding trapunto sprigs.
Finally, I tried very hard to show you Amelia's signature block. It reads: "Made by Amelia Lauck in the 62 year of her age November 15, 1823. There are FOUR nearly identical extant quilts by Amelia Lauck. Two in the collection of the DAR Museum and two in the Colonial Williamsburg collection. You can read more about the DAR Museum quilts on the Quilt Index (www.quiltindex.org). Amelia lived in Winchester, Virginia and there were slaves in the house. So, she may have had help on these elaborate quilts. The one pictured here was made for her only daughter. The other one in the DAR collection was made for her son and his wife and the inscription appears on a banner in the eagle's mouth on that one. It would appear the son married in 1830 - date on that quilt's inscription - but it is likely that quilt was made around the same time as the one pictured here.
The DAR Museum in Washington has started monthly (2nd Tuesday) workshops featuring a theme along with examples from their collection. This month - November 2013 - the theme was "stuffing" which is amusingly appropriate given the Thanksgiving holiday this month. For a very reasonable fee, up to 20 quilt enthusiasts may participate. Consider me a quilt enthusiast. It is always a challenge to photograph quilting in a way that those viewing the pictures can truly appreciate the quilting. And, I only had my iphone for a camera. So, I played a bit with Picasa to try to bring out the depth of quilting in the beauties we saw.
The example of stippling and trapunto in the eagle motif above was one of my favorites. Probably because I am gathering eagle motifs for a very special project. I love this one with the "stars" that look like suns (well, that is a star) floating above it. The detail captured in quilting stitches of the arrows and branch along with the feathers in the wings is remarkable. The entire quilt was in poor condition but I was very pleased that this motif survived intact.
There are more quilts I photographed but my pictures are not playing nicely. They appear to be turned the right way in my files but when I try to upload them they flip around and do not cooperate at all. I will pound away on the computer and see if I can come with more eye candy soon.