Vintage Quilt Surprise pt.2

Marguerite & Juliette's silk quilt
Marguerite & Juliette’s silk quilt

The other day I wrote about a friend’s vintage quilt. She had two and the second one was made from silk in a log cabin design.

I am not a huge fan of log cabin quilts, but this one is a beauty. The silk came from those sample cards. Apparently, whoever made this quilt pulled the silks off the cards, not realizing the cards with the samples had value as well. The remainder of the cards were donated to the LA Textile Museum.

Marguerite & Juliette's silk quilt - detail
Marguerite & Juliette’s silk quilt – detail

Note the low volume look for the background? Very modern, don’t you think?

I like it that there is some color to some of the background prints. It is actually very colorful, if you look at the background (whites/lights) up close.

Marguerite & Juliette's silk quilt - with back
Marguerite & Juliette’s silk quilt – with back

The back is interesting as well, though I forgot to ask where the silk for the back came from. Another modern element: a pieced back.

I was so pleased that Marguerite brought these quilts to share. She did it specifically for Deena and I to see. So sweet!

Take a look at the other vintage quilt. I posted about it the other day.

Vintage Quilt Surprise

I was at a BBQ with friends the other day when a friend tugged my sleeve and brought me to the living room, away from the festivities.

Marguerite & Juliette's quilt
Marguerite & Juliette’s quilt

In the living room another friend was unpacking some old boxes – those my grandmother used to get for gifts at department stores. Out of them came two quilts.

This one is a simple design and probably very faded, but is still beautiful. I love the grey to which the original color has faded.

Marguerite & Juliette's quilt - detail
Marguerite & Juliette’s quilt – detail

It is probably a double bed size. They found it when they were cleaning out the linen closet at their mother’s house.

This isn’t a complicated design, but would require a lot of HSTs to replicate it. I think it looks very modern.

It has been folded in the same place for years so there is some damage. There is also staining from … who knows what – non-acid free paper? Wood shelves?

What a treat to see this surprise.

NSGW Quilt

Back in May, or perhaps the beginning of June, I went to Sutter Creek with DH for a Native Sons event. There was a wonderful parade in the town where people drove their minivans filled with costumed poodles, the local dance troupe danced along the town square and the Shriners drove go carts like crazy people all over the main street.

NSGW Quilt -Sutter Creek, California
NSGW Quilt -Sutter Creek, California

It was pretty warm, so we spent most of the time inside the Parlor building. As I was wandering around, I noticed an amazing crazy quilt! It is made of various ribbons along with velvets and other fancy fabrics, embroidery and event ribbons. It is framed and behind glass, so I couldn’t see all the details. From what I could see, it is in great shape and well protected.

NSGW Quilt - detail
NSGW Quilt – detail

The ribbons are NSGW ribbons, political ribbons and there is a judge’s ribbon for a California Admission Day Celebration in Stotckton (yellow). Some of the ribbons are dated in the 1880s and there is a definite Stockton theme, though other Parlor ribbons can also be seen.

Rialto Historical Society

Rialto Historical Society
Rialto Historical Society

Last weekend, I went with DH to Southern California for the NSGW SoCal Weekend. They have it every year and this is the first I have attended. I think it was the first time for DH as well. The official events were two dedications, an initiation and a banquet with a local councilman as a speaker. We also went to a luncheon celebrating the $55,000 that the Natives donated this past year to St. John’s Hospital to help the treatment and research of cranio-facial anomalies such as Cleft Palate. This is part of the money we raised at the Hospitality Suites with the NSGW embroidered pillows. DH also took the opportunity to audit the books of two parlors (chapters).

Rialto Womens Club
Rialto Womens Club

The Order dedicated the Rialto Women’s Club and the Rialto Historical Society. After the dedication was over we took some time to look at the historical society’s collection. Of course, I was interested in the quilts.

There were a number of crazy quilts, one was in very fine condition and displayed very well on a covered board (for stability) and hung on the wall.

RHS Crazy Quilt
RHS Crazy Quilt

I really couldn’t believe what excellent condition this quilt was in. I don’t know if it had been restored or not. I suspect it had, because there was no damage at all and you know that the silks of that time were full of lead and thus very prone to disintegrating.

Peacock Cemter
Peacock Cemter

I really liked the center. I HAVE to be in a peacock mode. I don’t even like peacocks. I like the idea of peacocks, but the real ones, while beautiful, make a lot of noise and are messy. Their feathers are wonderful, though, and this embroidered center is one of the most beautiful pieces I have seen. I think the complex simplicity of the design is the genius.

I kind of wish I had taken a more closeup photo so I could see the stitching of the center. I didn’t think of it at the time. It is possible that I will go there again and can look then.

RHS quilt
RHS quilt

There were a number of other quilts. One caught DH’s eye. I really need to make him a quilt of his own as he just makes due with any random quilt on the couch.

I haven’t looked up the name, but I think it is some kind of propeller design. It is made from tumblers and I think it would be a very interesting piecing challenge.

The others I saw were all made into curtains and that was kind of sad. They weren’t especially interesting, but they were old and looked finely pieced. I suppose being made into curtains is better than being cut up into softies.

Vintage Tuesday #3

Parakeet Embroidery
Parakeet Embroidery

I have a lot of needlework from my female ancestors. I am starting to have a hard time appreciating it, because It is taking up space in my cupboards and not all of it is my style. Yet I feel compelled to keep it. I know this is how the Young Man will feel when all the quilts I feel compelled to make are dumped on his living room floor when I am dead.

Parakeet Embroidery-detail
Parakeet Embroidery-detail

This dresser scarf is actually one of the pieces that I like and use. the birds look very cheerful in this piece.

We had parakeets when I was a kid and, though, they were messy, they also made a cheerful noise. We had a green (Bilbo) and a blue one (Gandalf). As an aside: My mom named them, I think, because I would have never named them after characters in the Lord of the Rings series.

I like the embroidery because the cheerful personality of the birds comes through.

Parakeet Embroidery-detail
Parakeet Embroidery-detail

I also like the way the stitching was done. It isn’t really dense, so the stitches seem to have some air to breathe.

I haven’t ever seen an embroidery with this pattern before and it makes me wonder if it is unusual.

I think this one must have been made by my maternal great grandmother, because of the tatting around the edge. I don’t remember my grandmother ever doing tatting.

I looked for an image of the pattern, so I could give some background for those of you history buffs, but didn’t come up with anything. ‘The’ Google’s precision is really lacking. I would love to be able to filter more, but they have dumbed their system down enough that it is nearly unusable for difficult searches.

I’ll add the information if I find it later.

 

Vintage Tuesday #2

Grandma Betty's Quilt - full
Grandma Betty’s Quilt – full

While I was visiting my Grama a few weeks ago, my mom pulled a quilt out of the cedar chest (I know! wrong on so many levels).

Huh?

A quilt? Huh? I really was confused because my Grama is a not a quilt person. She enjoys the one I gave her, but she doesn’t want more. I have no idea why I have never seen this quilt before.

Apparently, my sister has known about this quilt for awhile and always uses it when she sleeps over at Grama’s.

This quilt is referred to as Grandma Betty’s quilt. Grandma Betty was a woman who drove out to California from Chicago with my Grama, her brother (Uncle Gene), their father (Grandpa George, yes I knew him) and Grandma Betty’s daughter. I am not sure who drove, but Grandma Betty owned the car. I’ll have to ask Grama more about that trip.

Grandma Betty's Quilt- detail
Grandma Betty’s Quilt- detail

This is the first time I have heard this story and was amazed. The quilt is in terrible condition, but has a lovely soft look and feel to it.

If my quilts look like this in 70 years, I will be happy. It means they were loved.

Grandma Betty's Quilt- detail 2
Grandma Betty’s Quilt- detail 2

Art Institute of Chicago Quilts

Star of Bethlehem, 1830
Star of Bethlehem, 1830

These quilts were part of the Fabric of a New Nation, 1776-1840 exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.

As I said in my previous post about the Samplers, the textile exhibit was small. Despite being small the quilts on display were excellent. Perhaps not excellent in the that they were the best of the best, but excellent in that they were interesting. There were interesting choices of fabric, interesting corner treatments and interesting block variations. We all seem to go for perfect, especially when we run out of fabric and, yet, I find that antique quilts with an odd patch of fabric are more interesting. I often think “why would she choose that particular fabric?” and that thought leads me into a whole day dream about the woman that made the quilt.

The Star of Bethlehem was a stellar example of a quilt. The museum called it a bedcover. I wonder why? I’ll have to ask a curator friend and see if she knows.

Star of Bethlehem, 1830 detail
Star of Bethlehem, 1830 detail

The colors are a really good combination. The red, green and yellow are a combination I used to use a lot when I drew and colored with felt pens. The viewer is rewarded with the fabrics when viewing close-up. They are interesting and add a lot of movement to the quilt

The borders are another excellent part of this. In reality, the whole quilt is about the borders. It is kind of a border round robin idea.

Star of Bethlehem, 1830 detail
Star of Bethlehem, 1830 detail

The detail of this quilt is great. The photo (left) is a detail of the center. I love it that this quiltmaker sewed so many inset seams, not only in the center, but in the whole quilt. I would love to know the maker (or makers).

The other thing is that the points are really well done. I know that points matching is not the be-all-end-all, but when the points matching is well done, it is a joy to behold.

Again, in this detail, you can see the nice combination of the red, yellow and green. I think the tones of the colors are interesting. Not greyed, not bright. Not sure what I am seeing, but it is interesting.

Star of Bethlehem, 1830 corner
Star of Bethlehem, 1830 corner

One thing I like to do is pay attention to the corners of borders. It is sometimes hard to know now to make a corner meet, especially if your piecing is a bit off. In this example the corner is a bit off where the two parts of the border meet, but the quiltmaker really did a nice job making that flower shape. I really like it. I also like that it is a bit off. It gives the quilt humanity, soul.

Keep in mind that I had to take photos of these quilts with no flash. Thus, the colors in the photo of the corner look more yellow than they were.

Pincushion & Burrs, 1830
Pincushion & Burrs, 1830

I have never heard of this pattern with the name Pincushion and Burrs. It is also, according to the information card, called Square and Swallows, which sounds familiar, but not very much. I am pretty good with blocks, but I haven’t paid a lot of attention to quilt designs that have an all over name. Something to put on my bucket list, I guess.

I really like the border on this quilt, but the overall quilt is a great blue and white quilt. The little bird feet add movement and interest to this piece. I am not a huge fan of two color quilts; I don’t hate them, but I just think there is so much good fabric, why stick with just two? However, when I see a quilt like this, I think about making a two color quilt.

Pincushion & Burrs, 1830, detail
Pincushion & Burrs, 1830, detail

In addition to showing you the birds’ feet in this photo, you can also see the quilting. The quilting includes bunches of grapes, which are difficult in the best of circumstances. These are well done. The thing I like about this quilting is the double row of stitching that border the plain blocks. You may have to enlarge the photo to see them.

I also like the slight curves in the center of pieced blocks (applique’). I think this could be made, partially, like a Drunkard’s Path is made.

Pincushion & Burrs, 1830, corner
Pincushion & Burrs, 1830, corner

Again, here is a border corner. this is an interesting treatment-Flying Geese border and then a kind of Double Four Patch with Half Square Triangles. I like. It works, even if it isn’t perfect. It does look a bit like a butterfly.

Small, but nice exhibit in general. I enjoyed it.

Opening Reception @ SJMQT

String with Grid or Lattice, Alabama ca.1950-1970
String with Grid or Lattice, Alabama ca.1950-1970

The Opening Reception for the Scrap Art exhibit at the San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles was on Sunday August 21, 2011. My quilt, Fabric of the Year 2010 is included in the exhibit. I almost didn’t attend the opening reception. The drive is long and I am lazy about leaving my house on Sundays.

However, I kept publicizing the event on FB and Twitter, and when Deborah Corsini emailed me to say there would be an opportunity for the artists to speak about their pieces, I knew I had to go. I am glad I did. It was an exciting experience. I had lots of support from my DH and my quilt friends. They all said how great my quilt was and how great it looked.

Milling Around in the Gilliland Family Gallery
Milling Around in the Gilliland Family Gallery

There were a lot of people at the opening. People in the know such as Maureen and Terri said this was one of the largest events they had seen in conjunction with an opening of a quilt show.

Listening to Roderick Kiracofe Talk
Listening to Roderick Kiracofe Talk

Lots of quilt glitterati, in addition to Terri Thayer, of course, were there including Lynn Koolish, Nancy Bavor (quilt appraiser), Marie Strait (president of the SJMQT Board) as well as my favorite CQFA glitterati. 😉

Rod Kiracofe, author, collector and former dealer was there. He had loaned several of the best examples of vintage scrap quilts tot he exhibit. Ms. Corsini had him speak about his quilts and he told a funny story about bidding on a variety of quilts including the the 9 patch (in the exhibit) against Julie Silber. I felt like I was in the shadow of greatness, because I have read his work and admired it for a long time. He wrote The American Quilt, a book I pored over when it came out. I bought it at Doubleday Books on Sutter Street back in the dark ages.

Nine Patch Variation
Nine Patch Variation

I didn’t recognize this quilt as a Nine Patch until Deborah Corsini pointed it out. I didn’t see the Nine Patch. No, I am not a moron, but I was quite distracted and not studying the quilts. Of course, once pointed out to me, I saw it. I love this quilt. It is dated ca. 1925-1950 and was found in Wingo, Kentucky. It is so lively and really different than most Nine Patches. It is an excellent example of why I love blocks: you can do something with a block, your neighbor can also do something and the two will not look the same.

Listening to Sande Stoneman
Listening to Sande Stoneman

One thing I enjoyed was that collectors had loaned their quilts. Deborah Corsini acknowledged them equally with the artists. I never really thought about the importance of collectors, but as I listened to Deborah and some of the collectors talk I realized all the ways that collectors contribute to the art world. I thought of all the masterworks of all kinds of art that are loaned to museums (big duh moment, let me tell you!) and how the same must be true in the quilt world.

Ms. Stoneman, with backpack, talked about the quilt she had loaned,which was made by her grandmother. She talked about trying to match fabrics from the quilt in photos.

Ocean Waves from Afar
Ocean Waves from Afar

The Ocean Waves quilt was really stunning from afar. For being made around 1890, it was in stunning condition.

It and a few of the other quilts were made from fabric that was not to my taste up close, but all of the quilts were quite stunning from far away.

Of course, the scrap aspect was a factor.

Trip Around the World
Trip Around the World

The Trip around the World quilt was my favorite. The sashing/edge of each block was a soft yellow, slightly brighter than butter yellow, but not so jarring as sunshine yellow. I have been thinking of ways to use scraps as I cut triangles for FOTY 2011, over the past few weeks sans machine, and this quilt really spoke to me. The scraps I have would not be large enough for 2″ squares, but they might be large enough for 1.5″ or 1″ squares. The patches in this quilt are all the same in each round, but I might be successful if I used similar values and hues in this block pattern. I might make one block to just try it out.

Discussion about many pieces
Discussion about many pieces

The quilt next to the door in the back of the photo is the half square triangle quilt in the collection of Sande Stoneman, discussed above.

Everyone in the photo is looking at a Trip Around the World quilt with about 14,000 postage stamp sized pieces. It was a couple of quilts away from another quilt with 17,000 pieces.  WOW!

14,000 Piece Trip Around the World
14,000 Piece Trip Around the World

The quilt with 14,000 pieces also has a jagged edge (you know I like those!). It was made by Minnie Kesler Murray, a native of Boones Mill, Virginia. She and her husband lived in San Jose in the 1950s and 1960s. She called this quilt her masterpiece. Her granddaughter is the owner of the quilt and lent it to the museum for this show.

36 Patch with Chintz Border
36 Patch with Chintz Border

I am really glad that not all of the quilts were made from thousands of tiny pieces. The 36 Patch with Chintz Border is another of my favorites and another that could be made from scraps in similar values.

Again, the background was more yellow than gold and really glowed. It is from the mid 1800s. The great great granddaughter of the maker was in attendance.

Crazy Block Quilt
Crazy Block Quilt

The quilt with the red and black piano key border that Ms. Corsini is showing in the picture was made of tiny string pieced silk blocks. She said that the quilt had some condition issues (what old silk quilt doesn’t?), but that the contrast between the tiny blocks and the bright bold border was fabulous. I have to agree. It was scrappy and, perhaps, string pieced and some of the fabrics congregated in areas of the quilt to make flowing dark and light areas.

I am really liking the idea of a piano key border. I was thinking about it before for another quilt. Seeing it on this quilt made me like it even more. I liked the way the maker joined the corners, too. The colors don’t exactly meet, but they look good.

Ocean Waves & Scrap Top
Ocean Waves & Scrap Top

You can really see Granny Burkitt’s Scrap Top (left of the Ocean Waves quilt) better — well, better than some of the other photos!

I was amazed at how large some of the vintage quilts were. I thought FOTY 2010 was a monster, but it is a baby quilt in sized compared to Granny Burkitt’s Scrap Top and the Ocean Waves quilt. Looking at both of them makes me want to start sewing light and dark half square triangles together. No, I don’t have an idea in mind, but if I come up with 1,000 half square triangles, I am sure I can do something with them!

String Diamonds
String Diamonds

Charlotte Kruk spoke about her strapless evening dress, Sugar, which is made out of sugar packets she collected over the course of 2 years. You can see it in the String Diamonds picture right behind Rod Kiracofe. Charlotte had another jacket and skirt piece in the foyer. I really liked the shape of her wearable sculptures. Charlotte is the creator of “Traje de Luces,” “The Reign of the M&M”, a kind of toreador outfit I saw at PIQF some years ago.

Just after she spoke Roderick Kiracofe talked about his String Diamonds quilt (found in  Alabama, made ca. 1930-1960). I felt a kinship with this quilt, having just made a diamond quilt. One of the interesting aspects of this quilt was the back. It was made from sugar sacks from Cuba! Not only was the Cuban angle surprising, but the location of that particular quilt near the evening dress (Sugar, 1998) was well planned and a pleasant surprise.

One of the things I liked about attending this event was somewhat less formal than just going to a museum. The artists and owners of the quilts were allowed to show the backs without white gloves.

String Diamonds
String Diamonds

A few artists had more than one piece included in the exhibit and Barbara Wisnoski was one of them. She is a Canadian artist from Montreal. Barbara came all the way from Montreal to be at the show, which I thought was wonderful and made me glad I had made the hour drive down to the South Bay!

She makes pieces using strip piecing, but she will cut strips, sew them together, cut those strips apart over and over. The effect of this technique is a lot of little pieces, almost shredded looking. She strives for a landscape look – actually she said that she makes landscape quilts.

Ruth Tabancay
Ruth Tabancay
No Two Alike, 2010
No Two Alike, 2010

The quilt by Ruth Tabancay is made from Republic of Tea teabags, which she as well as friends and colleagues use and then save. The teabags in this piece are painted with gouache (lighter colors) and acrylic (darker colors) paint. She started painting the teabags so she could get the colors she wanted. The shapes are reminiscent of Grandmother’s Flower Garden. No Two Alike is inspired by the six-fold symmetry of snowflakes.

Evening Star, 2010, Karin Lusnak
Evening Star, 2010, Karin Lusnak

I really love the Lone Star string quilt by Karin Lusnak. I have seen something like it, or perhaps this quilt, elsewhere and admired it.

The quilt is made entirely of string pieced diamonds, which are, in turn, made into larger diamonds. The photo does not do this quilt justice because it just glows and Lusnak has really captured the color of the sky when it turns from the blue of the day to purple-indigo of night. The aspect of this quilt that puzzles and amazes me is that she uses a variety of colors in each of the diamonds. The center diamonds that make up the Lone Star were not limited to gold tones. The same is true for the sky. I think this is an excellent example of the ‘weight’ of color. The artist has used more blues in each diamond for the sky even though other colors were included. This method adds a lot of interest.

Variation of the Snake Trail
Variation of the Snake Trail

I read an article recently about quilts with snakes in them. This quilt immediately jumped out at me as being from that vein.

I was fascinated by the green pieces and how they form a continuous line, except for some of the border pieces. In examining the making of this quilt, I think the maker would have had to be very open to serendipity or have made the blocks as she set the quilt.

I really never ceased to be amazed at how inspired I can be from looking at vintage and antique quilts. I would love to talk to their makers! Still, I look at these quilts and my mind starts spinning with new ideas. These quilts show, in a way, that the discussion of classifying quilts into traditional, art or modern is not easy. These vintage quilts are hanging on the wall. Does this make them art? Will they still be art when they are taken off the wall and put on the bed?

FOTY 2010 with JHL
FOTY 2010 with JHL

Julie corralled me and got a picture of me with my quilt. I looked at my quilt on the wall and thought that it looked out of place, but I told the monkey voices in my head to STFU and listened to my quilt board of directors who told me how proud they were of me and how great the quilt looked. Adrianne told me that my quilt was next to a quilt by Jacquie of Tall Grass Prairie Studio.

I have to admit that I was slightly terrified when I saw my quilt on the wall, seriously hung in a gallery. I couldn’t really comprehend what was happening, which I know sounds really strange. I just had no idea what I was I was doing when I submitted the piece for the show. I knew what I was doing mechanically, but I didn’t realize the ramifications, which were that my quilt would be on the wall of a real gallery for two months. I am really thrilled to have a lot of people see my piece. REALLY. THRILLED.

FOTY 2010 with JHL's QBOD
FOTY 2010 with JHL's QBOD

Here are members of CQFA and what I like to call members of my personal quilt board of directors. All the members of my QBoD weren’t there, but these are people who talked to me about the layout, spurred me on and kept me going. I was really excited to have them there. From left to right: Jaye, Dolores, Terri, Maureen and Julie.

I know the photos are not top quality, but the lighting was really difficult to deal with. I hope you can, at least, get the flavor of the event.