Saturday, November 21, 2015

Civil War Memorial Quilt 1866

In her 1976 book Kentucky Quilts and Their Makers Mary Washington Clarke showed a black and white detail of a "Civil War Memorial Quilt" dated 1866. The credit line is Kentucky Museum, gift of Henry Porter Brown

Apparently the velvet hexagons have held up better than the satins and taffetas.

I was struck by the similarity in the embroidery styles between this quilt and one in the collection of the Museum of the Confederacy, made for Jefferson Davis, shown in the color photos.
Read the post here.

At first I thought they were the same quilt.

But they are two different though similar quilts.
The only photo Clarke showed was the central area with the signature and date, 
"Vic W.S./A.D. 1866"

Above is the center hexagon in the Museum of the Confederacy's quilt, 
It looks to be shattered satin with a flower perhaps.

Clarke described the pattern:
"six-pointed star pieced in hexagon blocks of the Flower Garden type,
central hexagon of black velvet... embroidered in gold threads...names...appear in the outer rim of black hexagons in this central block...embroidered in one of these outer pieces is Gens of C.S.A. [the block shown.]...six points of the large overall star show similar constellations [with embroidered names]
I can find no other record of this star quilt made of hexagons.

Clarke identifies it as a Memorial Quilt in the Kentucky Museum (fig 32) ....worn almost to tatters and its maker is unidentified. The donor thought it was from the Porter family and it was "Found in a drawer after mother died."

Other names Clarke mentions (aside from Confederate Generals) are Dr. Stallard,  S. Huston, Dr. Combs, Richard G Caruthers, A. Strange, M. Winans. She also notes the back of the quilt is "silk in small black and white check."

Where is this quilt today?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp 45: Corals & Seaweeds

Becky Brown had two colorways of a seaweed print
for her early star reproduction.

Detail of a quilt from the
 International Quilt Study Center and Museum.

Early roller prints contain many examples of prints based on botany. We're most familiar with the floral vegetation on the right, but other plant life forms were also popular subject matter. A coral or seaweed on the left?

Chintz quilt with a mossy trail stripe in the sash and a check border.
Connecticut quilt project. Picture from the Quilt Index

Among the popular patterns “for the spring of 1823 were chiefly mossy trails, stripes, and checks,” recalled Benjamin Hargreaves. Perhaps you could date the quilt above to the early 1820s by the description, but it's probably a Connecticut quilt, so one has to consider a lag time between what was happening in Hargreaves's Britain and America's importation of that taste.

 In 1960, British curator Peter Floud described examples of "lightly printed fern-like attachments or ‘mossy trails’ which were introduced in 1826 and lasted until 1839." He also described late-18th-century dark-ground woodblock prints with "Brightly coloured flowers...set off against moss and fern sprays ....a kind of moss or spray hanging down in great quantities.”

Design from fabric by William Kilburn (1745-1818)
Leafy skeletons or sea moss?

From Susan Greene's collection
Coral? Moss?

A mossy trail?
Block from Fourth Corner Antiques

Another block from the same source.
This was one frugal piecer!
We could classify the largest piece as a mossy trail
or a serpentine stripe.

A vintage Mossy Trail?

Vintage stars set with mossy trails or serpentine stripes.

Coral in the border.

Mid-19th-century family

Other period names were parsley prints, coral prints and seaweed prints.

Becky Brown's repro features seaweed or corals from
two of my reproduction collections for Moda.

Terry's reproduction star. A parsley print in the center?

Parsley or Coral?
End of the 19th century print, same subject matter.
Is that California gold bleeding into the coral print?
Could happen.

A coral print from an early English quilt
in Sally Bramald's collection.

Ackermann's Repository for January, 1811
included a swatch of a coral print on a net ground.
Whether it was a print or an embroidery is unclear from the picture.

A coral print (looks more like kelp) with a rainbow background.
There is a lot going on in this 1840's print
A plaid, a stripe, a rainbow, a check and some underwater vegetation.

Becky's going for the fashionable pattern overload look
of the 1840s here.

 In 1889 American Lucy Larcom recalled a scrap of cotton from a quilt as a "delicate pink and brown sea-moss pattern on a white ground."

A sea-moss print perhaps. Lucy was recalling the mid-19th century.

Fashion for these feathery fern-like plants began
in the 18th century.
And continued into the mid-19th century.
Above and below detail and dress about 1860 from the
collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The scale is remarkable.

The fashion for huge underwater prints faded but as small prints they remained a classic.

Block about 1870-1900
You could see them as something viewed through a microscope.

Moss and seaweeds were revived in neon novelty style about 1900.

Di Ford's Miss Porter's Quilt repro uses one of mine from a line called 1862 Battle Hymn

Di has her own line. of early repros. Look for Cloverdale House
currently in shops.

Randy from Barrister's Block used a serpentine stripe or mossy trail from
 In the Beginning's Circa 1825 collection.

One of my all time favorites from twenty years ago from Pilgrim & Roy

Wrappers by Betsy Chutchian

Lately Arrived from London

What to Do With Your Stack of Stars
Border Them With a Zig-Zag

Here's a glimpse of a star quilt from the mid-19th-century.
The border is unusual but not hard to figure out.

The quilter set her stars on point and alternated with a pink calico.
She cut edge triangles out of the same pink calico.

Cut edge triangles from squares 12-5/8"

Using the same size triangles she made a dark and light border and stitched
the pink side of each border to the field of stars

I drew it in EQ7, using a border design called Points Out.

49 stars = about 67-1/2" square

The corner triangles are cut from 6-5/8" squares.
The four outer corner squares should be cut 4-1/2" (I think!)

One More Thing about Seaweed Prints

Woman in a seaweed dress about 1850
It is hard to believe how fashionable these outrageous prints were.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Pewee Valley Confederate Home Blocks

The Kentucky Historical Society has 20 embroidered blocks
meant to be stitched into a redwork quilt.

Read more here:

The blocks are associated with the Kentucky Confederate Home
in Pewee Valley, near Louisville.

The building was once a resort, the Villa Ridge Inn

Although Kentucky was a Union state there were enough aging Confederate veterans living there during the early 20th century to warrant converting a hotel into the Kentucky Confederate Home.

The home served several hundred veterans from its creation in 1902
until it closed in 1934.

Much of the structure was destroyed in a 1920 fire
but the remains of the building continued to house the men for 14 years.

The parlor. 

The women of the United Daughters of the Confederacy supported the home with donations.These blocks might have been intended as a fundraiser. They are undated but must have been made between 1902 and 1934, most likely before 1925 during the fashion for Turkey red embroidered signature quilts. Or perhaps as a fundraiser when the home burned.

Fundraiser quilt, dated 1912
Collection of Linn and Jean Hoadley

The intent might have been a redwork signature quilt like this one from the Godfrey Post of the GAR in Pasadena, California made in the teens. This one was displayed at the Pasadena History Museum last summer.

Donors often paid a dime or quarter to get their name embroidered
and then the quilt was raffled to raise additional money.

Nothing is now left of the Kentucky Confederate Home but the gate and the cemetery.

Read about the home in My Old Confederate Home by Rusty Williams from the University of Kentucky Press:

Williams also has a website on the topic:

And in case you were wondering where
the wonderful name of Pewee Valley came from---
the Eastern Pewee bird.