Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Red and Green Antique quilt/coverlet.

 This red and green applique coverlet is obviously not English. It hails from the USA. I got lucky when the seller on Ebay mis-described it and also put it in the wrong section. At the time I knew diddly poo about dating and I still know very little. Again I got lucky and a group of American textile ladies were over here and assured me it was 19th century. I was amazed because I had put that green as early 20th century. (I should have bought a lottery ticket on the same day....) Again this is laid out on my six foot wide bed so you can gauge the size. It has those double swags round three sides and is hemmed on those sides without a selvedge edge. 

 Each of the six large blocks consists of four quarter ones made in opposite pairs. One pair has a bud (looks more like a lollypop to me) in the corners whilst the other has a flower.
 I imagine this woman worked in isolation. She saw some similar work, wrote down some ideas and instructions and then worked all by herself. Why do I think so? The stems are so thick and heavy looking for one thing. I suppose she was advised to cut those stems on the bias. What she had not realised was to applique the inside curve first and then let the outside curve stretch out to accomodate the extra length. So poor woman was left to carefully gather in the excess fabric on each of the inside curves of each stem. (One wonders why she kept so doggedly to a method which clearly was not working for her.)
 Again the ketchup to give you colour adjustment for the photography. I am assuming Heinz might change the spelling of ketchup throughout the world but not the colour?
 She ran into different problems at the corners but she had taken heed to mitre the corners.

 Now this is where it got very interesting for me. On four of the smaller blocks were slits in the back. I recognised these immediately. My own work sometimes has these slits. See below.

I made these slits to remove my three layers of freezer paper. Now obviously freezer paper was not yet invented when this coverlet was made but I can only conclude she had some paper or card behind her shapes to assist with the applique (it is easier to turn against a firm edge). I know this is silly but this discovery made me very happy. I felt connected to the women who made this.
And like me she gave up on this method and went back to just turning the shapes back without the assistance of a foundation.

My book on Chintz Quilts arrived last week. It is so very good. No patterns just pages and pages of glorious chintz quilts and coverlets and close ups of the fabrics.
It is a big tome, 320 pages of quality paper. It is bilingual in French and English.
 I just opened it up at one quilt randomly and show it and the close up.
If you love chintz, old quilts like I do, you will also be in heaven. I would say this is now my best and most favoured book in my library.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Another of my antique pieces (very photo heavy again! but you like that don't you?)

 I 'think' this one is a similar age to the Sarah Fox one I posted here, about 1825-1835. I really am no expert, I just go by my gut feeling so if you know better (or worse) please comment and I will amend this.

 Now follows loads of photos of the fabrics and how the maker handled (or failed in the process of making it). Do not be surprised by the bottle of ketchup in one of the photos. I figured it was one item I had in the house where the colour is recognized throughout the world and you can adjust the colours you are seeing on your screen accordingly. It was still sealed so no danger of it leaking!

 I think it very clever how the black stripe has been appliqued to create this 'Chinese lantern' look. Each straight run of these circles is in one continuous piece of fabric.

The maker ran out of the brown stripe used in one of the outer borders so just changed to a different stripe.

 The off white background fabric looks like cord in the photos but it is more like a modern dress shirt weave.

 The maker had used so much of this back print in those clever circles, there had to be a join and a smidge of other fabric to finish this corner.
 There is a knife edge rather than binding. This is typical.

 In places there is double thread quilting. I don't know why. And in some places on the back of the work like the top of this photo below, the quilting stitch doesn't go all the way through the layers. This makes me think it was not stab stitched and the uneven lines also suggest it was done without a frame.

I hope you enjoyed this tour of my quilt. Let me know and I shall post more of my small collection.