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Monday, December 6, 2010

Quilts for a cold, dark, dreary day

It's a dark, cold, blustery day and I'm generally feeling icky. So, I thought sharing some quilts with you which brighten the day would be fun.

As general rule, I don't like quilts from the 1920s and 1930s. Heck, I don't much care for quilts after the 1910s until we get into the modern period, but there are always some exceptions. Several years ago, I collected some quilts from eBay to show quilts from this later period. This one I just had to have, even though I knew it wasn't described properly.

It's a bullseye quilt and is supposedly from Texas. It was sold as a real 1930s quilt. While the fabrics are from the late 1930s, the quilt had only recently been sandwiched with muslin and machine quilted with a pantograph. My guess is that someone wanted to practice their long arming techniques.

In dating quilts, the date is taken from the time period in which the quilt was completed. In this case, no later than the 1990s. If I made a quilt yesterday using original fabrics from the 1910s....the date of the quilt would be yesterday. This particular quilt is from the late 1930s and early 1940s... Earlier pieces usually have smaller prints The later pieris is known for brighter fabrics (less pastel) and busier prints, usually using two or more colors. Often, the patterns were outlined which separates the print from a colored ground. This technique is called "grinning." Interestingly enough, grinning was a practical invention, allowing fabric print houses to produce runs of fabric with less chance of getting the registration wrong and overlapping colors.

Here's another top, one of the ubiquitous double wedding rings from the 1940s moving into 1950. Notice the really bright colors and multiple colored prints.

As you move into the 1950s, turqouise, grey, and olive green come in with odd little prints.

This last piece is a "spiderweb" which uses up all sorts of little pieces in what is known as "string piecing." You sew long skinny pieces together, which are randomly cut, really scrappy. Sometimes they are pieced onto a foundation, othertimes, like this one, the strips are then cut into other shapes and put together. This one, while having fabrics from the 1910s and 1920s is from the late 1950s into the 1960s based on the fabrics. Hopefully, I will get my original handi-quilter set up (a moving trolley on which a sewing machine sits making it into almost a long arm), and use these tops to practice my machine quilting.

Recently, someone asked me what I thought about finishing old tops. I really support it. Tops from the more modern period are plentiful and some of them aren't pieced well or have other problems which might make for more difficult quilting. Tops are much less stable than quilts and if you want to preserve the piece then quilting it will help keep it around.

I hope these have helped brighten your day. I think I'll go back to bed. Maybe even under this quilt.

1 comment:

Vivien Zepf said...

These are great quilts; I think I like them because of their bold colors and graphic design. Hope you have sweet dreams under them!