rocket tracking


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Just a little Busy--Poor Fabric Choices in Mid-century Modern

 One of the fun things about being in a quilt guild is you get to see all sorts of things which come through member's hands.  At one of our last stitch-ins with my local guild, the Batty Binder's, Teresa brought in a quilt she was finishing for one of her cousins.  Her cousin had purchase the top, one among several, at an auction or a garage sale, paying a miniscule sum...something like $2.00 per top.

It is easy to see why they weren't finished.  They are sooooo busy that they make for an unsuccessful quilt.  However, to be fair, these were probably made for use and from materials which could be purchased inexpensively or obtains as cutting room scraps....something which used to be very common in garment factories across the U.S.  I remember my mom getting cotton knits from a near by company which made long-johns, underwear, and pajamas.
 I look at the above and cringe....if only she had made those setting squares a solid color...they wouldn't be quite so eye boggling.

But what is really fun is to look at the prints.  All of these date from the 1950s to about 1965.  The quilter had prints in what must have been every single colorway.  Some of them had a humorous aspect...these helmeted conquistadores stood in front of a simplified castle.  I remember having a short set my mother made for me (and matching pedal pushers for my older sister) in about 1963 in a similar print showing stylized sailors. The black print on the blue to the left of the little men is a print of weathervanes.  You can see two more colorways (black on yellow and black on cream) below.  I think Teresa and I counted 5 different colorways of this same print.

Then we got the strips and checks...the the quilter didn't seem to care how they ran....just willy-nilly.  One of my favorites though, is the "fish" or what I call the "paramecium" print....the line oval with the funny little black, or blue, or orange on the versions you get here.  These organic sort of stylized views of what you see under a microscope almost really set the tone for the period for me....along with the boomerangs and kidney shapes on the fiberglass end-tables my mom had in our lake house.  I never really LIKED them, but they intrigued me....just like the diatom print on red (not what they called them, just what I always thought of them as as soon as I saw pictures of diatoms).

Such quilts like these are great for people who study fabric and quilts.  If only they had been dated .  It's great that Teresa is finishing them as that will give them stability as well as make them usable. 

1 comment:

Judy Warner said...

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