Saturday, April 21, 2018

1864 Quilting Party in St. Louis

I found this photo from the 1864 Sanitary Fair in St. Louis recently.
That is a quilting frame.
And that is NOT Abraham Lincoln sitting at it.

I am looking for more information and a better scan but I bet this is a scene from the Fair's nostalgia display. Fairs had Colonial kitchens or similar rooms where everyone dressed up in old-fashioned costumes to demonstrate the lost arts.

Similar scene at the New England  Kitchen at New York's Metropolitan Fair


Detail of the St. Louis scene:
Note the man on the left in a tri-corner hat, They are sitting in
front of a large open fireplace.

The seated woman on the left here is wearing an old-fashioned mobcap.

I would imagine this photo is from the collection of the Missouri Historical Society, which has another shot of the same re-enactors. The men look to be portraying Presidents Lincoln and Washington.

See this view at the Missouri Historical Society

The photographs from St. Louis artist J.A. Scholten at that Mississippi Valley Fair are quite detailed. Here's a post with more quilts:

Thanks to the historical society for doing such a great job of scanning the photos.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Fussy Cutting & Problem Solving

Cindy B
Block 3 is turning out quite nicely
with several posting pictures of fussy cutting
inspired by our model makers.

Becky fussy cut both center and points.

Delaine and Lisa fussed with the star points
with the center in a supporting role.



Pat focused the center.

Billie Ann

Nancy P

Xenia

 Sunny

And Mark reminds us he appliqued the center.
There is no cheating in patchwork.
It's all FAIR.

In the spirit of problem solving:
Teddy Bear's Mama posted her solution to the set-in seams dilemma.
She used a pattern for a 12" pieced variable star. 
Here's 2138a
from BlockBase


She changed the center by
adding squares over her center D that is cut to 6-1/2"
You'd want to use this quick cutting method to create the octagon.

See this how-to I did for a 5" finished block.

For a 6" finished block you'd cut 4 squares for the corners: 2-1/2" 
Stitch and trim.
Very clever, TBM

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Great Bazaar in Columbia, South Carolina

Fair-goer suffering from "Crewel Kindness" loaded down
with afghans, slippers, caps and pincushions---homemade items
sold for the cause.

In January, 1865 the women of Columbia held a fundraising fair for Confederate soldiers' aid in the capitol of South Carolina.

Columbia's Statehouse in 1865
Drawing attributed to Alfred Waud

They filled the statehouse with tables and booths set up in the Senate and Hall of Representatives. The tables contained European manufactured goods that had made it through the Union blockades, edibles and, of course, homemade crafts. Thousands of people attended, entering under a banner "A Tribute to Our Sick and Wounded Soldiers."

Emma Florence LeConte 1847-1932

Eighteen-year-old Emma LeConte worked before and during the Bazaar. In the week before, she and her cousin wrote "kiss verses" to sell in exchange for a kiss from the girls at the tables.
"Well, our great bazaar opened last night, and such a jam! I was at the State house helping to arrange the tables until four o'clock so I was thoroughly tired.... The tables or booths are tastefully draped with damask and lace curtains, and elaborately decorated with evergreens. To go in there one would scarce believe it was war times. The tables are loaded with fancy articles - brought through the blockade, or manufactured by the ladies."
In early January, 24-year-old Grace Brown Elmore's home was "Bazaar mad...so many letters to be written, so many tobacco pouches to be made."

A reporter from Edgefield traveled to Columbia for the event, using many column inches in the Advertiser to discuss the women he saw.
"If you saw a lady with a little cap or diamond shaped piece of lace on her head, she was an adorable and wily vendeuse [vendor]; if you saw one without this badge, she was an unofficial member of the wriggling and whirling audience."
Among the unofficial audience was Sallie Lawton in Columbia as a refugee from Sherman's Union Army.  "You would never imagine there was a war in our land, could you have seen, the delicacies of every description on the tables, but the prices were very high."

"The Cashiers"

It is indeed strange that festivities continued as Sherman's Army threatened the town. While optimistic Columbians should have been fortifying the city and pessimists packing their belongings, 3,800 people jammed the building on the fair's first day.

Mary Boykin Miller Chesnut (1823-1886)

Among the vendeuses at the Bazaar was Mary Chesnut who, as always, saw the irony. The night before the opening she recalled the legend of the Babylonian king who found his doom predicted in an inscription. "The bazaar will be a Belshazzar affair. The handwriting is on the wall. Bad news everywhere." The next day: "The last bazaar lags superfluous."

Emma LeConte soon realized its superfluity. "I had expected to take great interest in the Soldiers' Bazaar but I cannot. It seems like the dance of death.....Who knows what may become of us in ten days!...Yet all this does not rouse us. We seem sunk in an apathy."
"
The Bazaar, scheduled to run for two weeks, closed after four days due to rumors of imminent invasion. A month later Sherman's troops raised a Union flag over the State House.

Waud's drawing of the Union takeover on February 17, 1865.

Sherman's troops marching through the city

The next day Columbia was in ruins. 
Detail of a Waud watercolor.
That night the city burned. The State House is on the right in the photo below of the destruction.


I haven't found any mention of quilts among the "articles rich, rare, tasteful, and endless in variety" for sale at the fair but I did notice that yard goods from England were for sale. European fabrics were also a feature at the pre-war fairs for abolition, temperance and other causes, one more source for the imported prints we see in mid-19th century quilts.

Beverly Gordon in her book Bazaars & Fair Ladies notes that Great Bazaar did raise a good deal of money, but what happened to it is a mystery.

Read the news from the Edgefield Advertiser at Chronicling America from the Library of Congress:

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

What If Sampler Blocks Vary in Size?


What Me Worry?
A Solution in a quilt about 1900
from the Connecticut project and the Quilt Index

What If?

Sampler blocks always vary in size. It's due to different proportions in each block, the way EQ sees the seam allowances as well as which side of the line you are sewing on that particular day.

Block 3 by Lisa J.

 People have been worried about Block 3 being too small.

You could cut corner and edge pieces a little larger than EQ says and you'd have a larger block.

Another option is to put a 1" strip of background around the star block and trim it to fit when you are setting the blocks. Lisa's star is such a knockout nobody will notice that frame.

Jeanne A.

You might want to wait to worry till December and then look at all your blocks.
You'll have some that measure a perfect 12-1/2" (with seam allowances) and perhaps a few that range from 11-1/2" to 12-1/2"

What to do? What to do?

One great sampler solution is a square in a square set.

Piece each of your sampler blocks into a larger square
Your blocks should finish to 12" so following the formula
for diagonal planning...

St. Thomas, Patron Saint of Mathematics
says:

Y (finished block size)  x 1.414 =  Z (new block size)
12" x 1.414 = 16.96 (Let's call it 17")

First three blocks in a square in a square set.

If all the sampler blocks were the same size you'd have a field of patchwork measuring 51 x 68.
3 x 17" = 51"
4 x 17"  = 68"
But that's if all the blocks measure the same size.
And we know that doesn't often happen.


First measure all your blocks and determine the largest one.
Let's say it's now 13" with the seam allowance.
How big should the corner triangles be?



Subtract the seam allowance. 
13" minus 1/2".
This block will finish to 12-1/2"

12-1/2" x 1.414 = 17.675"
So all your square in a square blocks will finish to about 17-3/4". I'm rounding up.


Then measure your smallest block.
It has to fit in that 17-3/4" square too.
Let's say it's 12" with the seam allowances so it finishes to 11-1/2"

You use the smallest block to determine the size of the triangles.


The corner triangles are cut by cutting squares 11-1/4"
into two triangles with a diagonal cut.

I'd cut these setting triangles for all of your 12 blocks.
Once you get all the blocks set into squares you can trim as you need to.


Saturday, April 7, 2018

Cats on Quilts


Here's a patriotic sampler I found in the records of the Tennessee
project and the Quilt Index.
 I betcha there's a New York connection.


It has at least three blocks that you often see in New York Samplers:
Cats, a single blooming floral and a double hearts block.

Sure enough, as you scroll down in the record you will see one of the blocks is signed
by Anna Eastsche Ithaca


Why so many cats on New York sampler quilts?

Block signed Susan Rogers 
Brooklyn, New York, dated 1861
Smithsonian collection

Sampler by Rosina Jobes, dated 1849

Cat with the word Victory on a quilt from 
Tarrytown, New York, associated with an 1864 Sanitary Fair there.

Did the cat stand for the Union? 

Perhaps there is a relationship to a common image at the time. Many people were familiar with the Kilkenny Cats, an Irish limerick that was a metaphor for what we'd call a no-win situation.

There were once two cats of Kilkenny.
Each thought there was one cat too many;
So they fought...
Instead of two cats there weren't any.

An Irish cartoon depicting politicians as Kilkenny Cats.

In 1867 General Phil Sheridan wrote General U.S. Grant about his trials in reconstruction Louisiana where the Union party and former secessionists were at odds. "They are now like the Kilkenny Cats, destroying each other," implying that the cats would leave only the tips of each other's tails.

Harper's Weekly cartoon in 1864 with Grant and a long-tailed cat labeled USA.
The larger cat's tail says, "I propose to fight it out on this line."

General Grant was warned by General George Meade that the Confederate Army preparing for battle "would make a Kilkenny cat fight of the affair." Grant, according to Lincoln's secretary John Hay, assured Mead, "Our cat has the longer tail."

International Quilt Study Center & Museum collection
#2001_011_0001
Striped cat on an 1867 quilt made in Brooklyn by Lucinda Honstain. 
Many of the blocks have a war theme.

I don't want to read too much into all these cats in quilts.

Cat in an applique sampler with a 
Union shield in the Poos Collection

New Yorkers weren't the only quilters who included cats on their
patriotic samplers. This one dated 1867 is attributed to spiritualists in 
Willimantic, Connecticut.

Maybe it's just that cats are cute.

Cats on a sampler made for Susannah Butts Adsit Boots,
 1860s, Dutchess County, New York.
International Quilt Study Center & Museum collection
#2007_001_0002

UPDATE: Merikay looked up the records on the sampler at the top of the page, which is in the Tennessee State Museum---purchased at a New York auction because the crossed flags block has the words:
"S E Britton, Jackson Tenn Long May It Wave"