Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Museum quilts from the early 1800's for pattern inspiration

For  pattern inspiration we thought you would enjoy the following quilts from the collections of the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Tree of Life 
Circa 1790-1810

In addition to the stylized tree of life and long-tailed birds featured in this quilt, the maker fashioned borders with fabric that depicts latticework gates and unusual vases and urns.  Designs such as these were known as chinoiserie, from the French word ‘chinois,’ meaning Chinese.  Images inspired by art & design from China, Japan & other Asian countries were freely re-interpreted through the addition of exaggerated, imaginary details. The style became popular during the mid-1700s.   

Medallion with pieced border 
Dated 1809

Within the symmetrical wreath the name “Eliza Thompson” and the date“1809” are embroidered in red embroidery floss.  Is Eliza the recipient or of the maker?  An unusual pieced border, with two corners cut out to fit a four-poster bed, frames the center of the quilt.  The white space between the borders is graced with exceptional quilting, including large flowers and undulating grapevines.  

Circa 1820-1840

Multiple symmetrical borders of chintz fabric frame a slender woven basket holding tulips, lilacs, and passion flowers in the elegant Medallion quilt.  The quiltmaker used a stuffed work technique to add dimension to her quilting.  The stuffed work, created by inserting extra cotton batting through the quilt’s backing fabric into channels formed by the quilting stitches, includes a flowing grapevine draped with ripe grapes and curling tendrils, overflowing cornucopias and a plump feathered plume.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tracing Your War of 1812 Ancestors

Think you may have an ancestor who served in the War of 1812?  The website of the National Society United States Daughters of 1812 may help you find out. 

For more than a century the National Society United States Daughters of 1812 , have dedicated themselves to patriotism, preservation of documents and relics, and education.   Work of the Society includes promotion and education of the Star-Spangled Banner Museum, Old Fort Niagara, and Fort McHenry. 

Check out their full website at:  http://www.usdaughters1812.org/home.html

Fill in as much information as you have about your ancestor at: http://www.usdaughters1812.org/dbLaunch.html to search their Ancestor Database. 

You just may be surprised – I was when I located my husband’s Great-Great-Great Grandfather!

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Lately Arrived from London" - a new line of 1812 era period fabrics

Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman will be introducing a new reproduction collection of fabric.   The reproductions are copied from Dutch, Indian, French and British documented prints of the 1812 era.

Moda's "Lately Arrived from London" should be in quilt shops at the end of the summer 2011.  We have posted a few samples she has shared with us to give you an idea of what fabrics from the 1812 era may have looked like. 

You might also want to search your local quilt shops for her Moda collection from a couple of years ago titled:  "Hartfield."  

Fans of Jane Austen's novels will recognize Hartfield as the home of Emma Woodhouse, the matchmaking heroine of "Emma."  Barbara Brackman's Hartfield collection from Moda reproduces early prints from the years when Jane Austen flourished which was also the time frame for our War of 1812 quilts.

Each print in the Hartfield collection was named for an English estate featured in Austen novels.  Colorways echoed the natural dyes of the time. The prints ranged from the small florals that the Austen characters called sprigged or spotted muslins to a large scale chintz fabric perfect for a center medalion or "broderie perse"  - the lovely technique for applique of printed chintz flowers and other motifs onto a solid fabric.

Links to museum quilts from the 1812 era

In our continued correspondence with Quilt Historian Barbara Brackman she has kindly shared some links to museum collections of quilts that are attributed to the first and second decade of the 19th century - lots of great ideas on patterns, fabrics and colours - check out the details at the various museum websites listed below:

A strip quilt in the characteristic limited color scheme from Patricia Melton Smith's collection in the Smithsonian. http://americanart.si.edu/collections/search/artwork/?id=36858

A Nine Patch by Anna Hixson in the collection of the DAR Museum in similar colors. Photo from the Quilt Index.

An embroidered quilt with a pieced wool (calimanco) border. It's hard to know from the digital catalog entry if this quilt is actually dated 1812, which would put it in the next decade, but it is certainly the kind of quilt we'd expect to see in the 1800-1809 era. The quilt is from the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Historic New England has a cut-out chintz with a swag border that MAY be
dated 1815. It's hard to tell from their catalog, but it certainly looks
like this decade with its combination of chintz and blackbirds.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dolley Madison and 1812-1814 time period fashions

PBS's American Experience recently aired a program on Dolley Madison that included the 1812-1814 timeframe.  She defined the role of the President's wife, became America's first First Lady, and in the process changed the face of the American presidency. 

We really enjoyed it and thought you might too.  

Keep an eye on the Empire period fashions and colours popular during that era to help you with your quilt fabric selection. 

The bonus video that takes you behind the scenes with the costume designer is particularly interesting!   http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/bonus-video/dolley-costume-designer/