Above: Reproduction Print and Document

Thursday, January 19, 2017

McCord Quilt - ReCalculating

I have finished my New Year's goal of 100 Susan McCord inspired leaves.
I string pieced them by hand over freezer paper shapes.
I intend to do a quilt inspired by McCord's Vine Quilt.

In the collection of the Henry Ford Museum.

I did some calculating as to how many leaves I'd need.
Surely 100 was enough.

I drafted a curved vine with a dinner platter.

So. McCord made maybe 25 leaves to a curve.
7 curves to a strip = 175
Per strip! There are 13 strips.
That's 2,275 leaves I'd need.

This curve has 32 leaves.

How did Susan McCord make 2,275+ leaves in one lifetime?
And she used the vine border on other quilts too.

Ocean Wave quilt by Susan McCord in the Henry Ford Museum's collection

"Re-Calculating" as my GPS often says.

There are lots of things you could do with 100 leaves.

Sort of a Laurel Wreath
25 leaves per block.

Some kind of a wreath?

I'd better get busy.

Well, first I sorted them into 3 sizes. 
Small, medium & large. 
The small ones are not always string pieced. Stripes are good.
I am going to need a lot more small leaves.

I did make some decisions, obviously influenced by Australia's quiltmakers.

Sarah Fielke
From Little Things

Kim McLean

Kathy Doughty's Gypsy Kisses

Marg Sampson George

Irene Blanck's Tribute to Lucy

Jen Kingwell's Midnight at the Oasis

I did this design one once, but it might be good twice with a
different aesthetic.

For the background:
Black & white
and polka dots
and other foulard style sets.
(half drop, diagonal repeats)

So I know Susan McCord's going to Australia.
But how I haven't figured out yet.

See more of my posts on McCord here:

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cut from the Same Cloth: Dry Goods & Quilt Design.

I am flying to Minneapolis in February to give a lecture. Bringing my leg warmers.

The Minneapolis Institute of the Arts (MIA) is exhibiting 14 quilts from their excellent collection in Cut from the Same Cloth: American Quilts at Mia.  

On Thursday evening, February 2, 2017, I'll talk about “Cut from the Same Cloth: Dry Goods & Quilt Design”

Here's information about the lecture:

The theme is how quilt style, pattern and design has been affected by innovations in fabric technology over the centuries. I'll be talking about Turkey red, inexpensive silk, changes in indigo printing and other fabric fashions that changed the way quilts looked.

The show is up through March 19, 2017.

The idea of how fabric innovations affected the look of quilts is my personal research exploration this year. The Minneapolis talk will focus on trends from 1840 onward. I'll be doing another talk on earlier trends at Colonial Williamsburg in March at their conference "Printed Fashions: Textiles for the Clothing and the Home." March 26-28, 2017.

My talk is titled Printed Textiles in Quilts:  1775-1830

All the information you need on the March conference is at this site:

Friday, January 13, 2017


Detail of one of her Mary Brown copies by Hortense Beck.

The Trade & Commerce Quilt
Reproduction by Hortense Beck,
above and below.

"Trade & Commerce Quilt" original.
Hannah Stockton Stiles, About 1830.
Collection of the Fenimore Art Museum, New York

See more about the original Trade & Commerce quilt at these posts

Beck was a master at copying antique quilts.

Hortense Horton Beck 1920 -2009

From her obituary in 2009:
"Beck spent 30 years replicating historical album applique quilts, as well as creating her own quilts. Recently her large quilt collection was given to the International Quilt Study Center at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln,"
I thought I'd regularly introduce you to some masters of traditional quilting, particularly to people who are influenced by antique quilts. Beck, who worked quietly in Topeka, Kansas, was one of the most productive and skilled. She drew her own patterns from pictures she found in books. As far as I know she stitched all these by hand and hand quilted them herself.

Stars & Stripes Forever
by Hortense Beck

IQSC has pictures of 60 quilts by Hortense Beck at their website.
Go to their search page here:

And type her last name Beck in under Advanced Search/Quiltmaker.

Hortense Beck, Cotton Boll

Hortense Beck
Mary Brown #3

Look for another Past Perfect Quiltmaker next month,

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

INSTAGRAM: Saving the World One Quilt at a Time

The Old Lady Card

"What is this new-fangled Instadamngram?"

We've all been playing the Old Lady Card for too long.
If you look at quilts and fabric on the social media site Instagram you definitely see a slant towards what we might call:
Young People.
Modern Quilts.
Contemporary colors in Fabrics.
Solid fabrics.
Quilts inspired by contemporary graphics rather than traditional quilt design.

Here's a selection from the top posts on
Nearly 7,500 posts already up there on the day I looked.
See the comments:

My daughter, who has an MFA in design, created the quilt shown in the bottom right of the first picture. The title is "The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts"
Very nice quilt. I chose that shot cause that was such an eye-catching quilt. I'm not saying one style is "good" and one "bad". I'm saying we need more traditional quilts on Instragram, which is boring. I agree with your daughter. I often make quilts that have never been see before. She does it better than I do.

202,000 posts on the day I looked.
That could keep you busy.
Or put you to sleep.

Disaffected Youth
I feel sorry for those young people. They never see any quilts on this extremely popular site but what they post themselves. To me it's frankly


Mary Cassatt, the Reader
Collection of Crystal Bridges Art Museum

When I was young we had bound books to look at, which gave you a wide perspective on quilts, particularly rich in showing antique quilts.

My favorite was the annual Quilt Engagement Calendar 
from Cyril Nelson & Dutton Publishing

The social media sites seem to be short on antique quilts and even shorter on recently stitched traditional quilts based on antique design and style.

More Disaffected Youth

If all you see are the same quilts over and over you will make the same quilts over and over and pretty soon you will get bored too.

Bored young people can turn to crime.
Aesthetic crime.
Perhaps taking up other handiwork.

Don't EVER do a web search for Beer Can Hat!

Now that I am retired I have plenty of time to play with my phone. The main problem with Instagram is that you can only post from your phone. (And you might have to get a new phone.)

I've decided to save the world one traditional quilt at a time... I got a new phone and I am posting traditional quilts on Instagram under a variety of tags.

2.500 posts.

 You can see a difference already in the #handapplique page. Guess which posts are mine.

I also started my own page.


I've been posting pictures of quilts that I think are fabulous examples of traditional style, reproduction quilts, repro prints, etc. using the established tags. You might recognize your own quilt up there. I try to give you credit and link to your Instagram page (another topic for another day.)

Like this one from the #TemeculaQuiltCompany

Below are some Instagram tags those of us who make and love traditional quilts should be viewing and posting to. (More about posting later.)

You don't have to have Instagram to view them. Just click on the link.









Other hashtags. Type them in the search box

Saturday, January 7, 2017

More Mysterious Triplets or Quadruplets

A couple of years ago Cindy Brick posted a picture
of this antique quilt asking for a name.
Are those leaves or a cornucopia rotating around the
central point?

It looks vaguely familiar I says to myself.

(Actually they all look vaguely familiar at this point.)
Then I found this one pictured in
Safford & Bishop's 1987 book
America's Quilts and Coverlets

"228. c. 1850, 100" x 74". The applique designs 
are done entirely in dark blue and set in a
handsome overall pattern of almost classic regularity. (Cora Ginsburg)"

The caption indicates that New York antique textile dealer Cora Ginsburg was the source for the photo.

Until I looked closely I thought they were the same quilt but they are not. Another pair of twins separated at birth.

A pattern name?
A regional source?

And then I found a third in the Quilt Index.

Beaver County Historical Research & Landmarks Foundation 
Freedom, Pennsylvania.
Documented by the Western Pennsylvania Quilt Documentation Project

They call it an Original Folk Art Floral Applique.

Same block, same border design.

It is one unusual pattern, not only in the parts
but how it is set together.

How is it set together?
Note red lines---is it an appliqued block with an
appliqued sash?
The red one is easier to figure out. My squares are out of whack
but it looks like appliqued squares and appliqued sashing with an empty cornerstone.

UPDATE: Karan F thought the basic block might be larger than I saw it.
She's likely correct. This would be easier.

There are not many relatives---even distant relations.
Here's a remarkably early quilt from the 
DAR Museum and the Quilt Index.

Deborah Wilson.
Inscribed "D. W. 1783"
Made in Baltimore.

Kind of a cornucopia....
Mid 19th century, online auction

Another mid-19th century
with a rotating or whirling cornucopia.

This has that cornucopia shape rotating more symmetrically around the center;
looks 20th century.

The imagery has deep roots in textile design.
Above is a detail from a circa 1640 Italian knitted garment.
It's pictured in Cora Ginsberg's 2014 catalog.
Page through it here.

And right before posting time I found this version in the Virginia Beauchamp watercolor file at the Onondaga NY Library. She painted local patterns about 1920. No name though.