Saturday, May 2, 2015

1862 Crib Quilt: D'OH!

Quilt dated 1862
32-1/4" x 38-1/4" 

I have been rattling on about this scrappy triangle quilt dated 1862, my main point being if it is indeed dated 1862 it's the earliest dated example of the charm-style (or extreme scrappy quilt) that I've got in my photographic files.

But then I was looking in my closet
And found this!

46" x 58"

An undated crib quilt that is quite similar. Very, very similar except for being on the diagonal. I know this quilt well. I've owned it for 25 years or more.

Ocean Waves reproduction by Barbara Brackman

I made a copy when I first started working for Moda using reproduction prints I'd done.

Here the colors are a little bluer. The copy is on the left.

How old is the original?

I've always estimated it as 1870 or before.

The back is a beautiful linen bird toile that I have guessed is much older than the rest of the quilt. Terry Thompson and I did a copy for our first Moda line Floral Trails. The plate-print toile is about 1800-1830, maybe.

I bought the original quilt in Los Angeles. It has a white-ground chintz border with some dark-ground chintzes along the edges---Again, I've always guess that fabric was older than the prints in the rest of the quilt. I've looked at this quilt extensively and found no fabrics that look to be post Civil War, so I estimated it as 1840-1860.

What makes me so mad at myself is that I had never noticed the similarity to the 1862 flag quilt until this week.

I adjusted the detail so the blocks are the same size, the same orientation and the same adjusted color. They are identical---so close it's weird, actually. Both quilts are before 1870.

As Paula said in the comments last week:
"I was struck by the limited range of dye colors, such as madder and Prussian blue, in contrast with your later examples with wider variety and brighter colors typical of the later period. I also collect antique quilts and it bears a striking resemblance to my apparently earlier ones...."
I have changed my mind about the quilt. The field of triangles could very well be 1862, the same date as the flags. 

Like Paula most of us have a good eye and a good memory for color. She went on to say,
"To me the colors tell the story of an earlier date, with perhaps the border and flags as a later addition."

Marianne had the same reaction:
"To me, the stripes and flags just scream added at a later date."

Here I've adjusted the photos to show the difference in sizes. The flag quilt is smaller, has many more pieces and the triangles are smaller. The triangles in mine finish to 3-1/2" squares.

There is something visually unsettling about the 1862 quilt---it does scream later, but I have no argumentative leg to stand on now. (Metaphors are flying about.)

The jury is back with a revised verdict. That 1862 quilt is probably all 1862.
And the triangles may be earlier....

Have I wasted your time and mine? No. We had a good discussion. We learned things. I remembered that I had this fabulous quilt. And I have spent a lot of time looking at Centennial quilts and charm quilts, gathering information which will keep us entertained in future posts.

I'm going to spend some time looking at my triangle quilt. Is it way earlier than I guessed 20 years ago. I'm somewhat smarter than I used to be---if more forgetful.

Two earlier posts on the date arguments:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp 16: Paisleys

Reproduction block with a paisley star by Becky Brown

Tintype of a woman in a cashmere shawl, about 1860

What we call paisleys derive from woven cashmere shawls, which originated in India’s Kashmir region, home to soft wools and deft weavers.

Vintage British quilt about 1820-1840

Traditional patterns included stylized botanicals focusing on a cone or seedpod shape, seen in the lilac border on the right. This oval with a curled tail was known as the botha or boteh (from the Hindi buta for flower). 

Textile manual in German from the 
New York Public Library

The botanical source for the boteh design is in some dispute. Some textile historians see it as a pinecone, others as a gourd or the shoot of a date palm, possibly associated with fertility.

Portait of a woman by William Powell Frith.
Is she wearing an expensive Kashmir shawl or
a European knock-off?

European factories from Lyons and Rheims to Norwich and Manchester produced machine-woven shawls, but Scotland specialized in them. Pieces made in the west coast town of Paisley earned a reputation as the best. Soon the Kashmir shawl became known as the Paisley shawl and the characteristic boteh shape was called a paisley.

The fashion for wool shawls also inspired imitation cotton prints, first known as shawl prints.
Mid-19th-century quilters developed a passion for cotton prints that imitated the colors as well as the designs of the shawls.
Reproduction with the document swatch from my 
Civil War Homefront collection.

Madder dyes used in wool shawls also worked well with cotton printing processes.

The prints were popular for dressing gowns (wrappers) and furnishings for the boudoir so there were many sewing scraps, but the style was so important for quilts that much yardage must have been sold just for patchwork. 

Vintage block about 1870-1890

One sees these madder-style paisleys in quilts from the 1860s into the 1890s. The high point of the style seems to be the 1870s and ‘80s.

Vintage print from the last half of the 19th century

Paisley figures were often set in striped sets, which quilters
liked for borders and strips

and everything else....

Block dated 1875

Vintage print from the 20th century
Cone shapes were also set in what textile designers
call a tossed set.

Paisley dresses from 1968
A serious paisley revival took place in the 1960s; the cones here
 in a tossed set.

Vintage quilt about 1870-1900
Sashing strips include a tossed paisley on the sides
and a stripe paisley on the bottom.

Paisley from the early 19th century
set foulard style, or in a staggered half-drop repeat.


Shawn used a paisley center as a contrast to a lighter foulard background.
Terrific reproduction of mid-century madder style taste.

Flying Geese from Nancy's Quilts webpage, 1998.

You need tossed sets, stripe sets and foulard sets
in your paisley collection

Detail of a paisley reproduction by Roseanne Smith

Rue Indienne by French General for Moda

Three of mine: Striped set, tossed set and grid set

Another of my repros in a stripe set.

Reproduction star by Becky Brown
The dark paisley foulard in the background is from 
Alice's Scrapbag, my fall Moda collection.

The repro is the redder print in the corner. The other is the original.
Sales reps are showing this collection to shop owners right now.
It's both a paisley and a foulard. And a madder-style print too.

Two of Nancy Gere's many paisley repros.

Paula Barnes does
border stripes and neat stripes.

Pam Weeks

Moda Collections for a Cause: Charity

Jo Morton's Caswell County:
Foulards and Paisleys

Voila by Jo Morton
Border is the Leesburg indienne print below
in a different colorway

Jo Morton Leesburg

Atelier by 3 Sisters
A tossed set in colors popular in the 1880s and '90s,
a different brown with more green in it than red.
More on bronze colors later.

Paisleys Gone Wild by Becky Brown

What to Do with Your Stack of Stars?
Alternate with a Nine Patch.

The star is based on a Nine Patch with a proportion of 1:2:1 so a block based on the same geometry goes well.

My sewing group alternated stars and nine-patches
in our Summer Birthdays William Morris quilt.

Summer Birthdays by the Sew Whatevers

I found the same idea in Quilts by Katlin,

A few years ago Moda's Three Sisters did a Hollywood and Vines quilt
alternating the star with a four patch in the middle of the nine patch

One More Thing About Paisley Prints

Sandra Dallas’s 1995 novel about a quilting club in Kansas during the Great Depression established the name Persian Pickle for the boteh design. I could find no 19th-century references to “Persian Pickle” or anything that didn’t have to do with Dallas’s book. That’s the thing about good fiction—it can make you believe it’s all very real.

See a discussion of that name in my post and in the comments. In Russian they called the boteh a Gherkin.