Antique Quilts: Labors of Love, 2017

Antique quilts, well if you read my last post, you will definitely know that these quilts, hold a special place in my heart. 

This is the 5th post in a series about the annual quilt show held in Alsace this fall. You can see the previous posts here: Post 1 , Post 2 , Post 3 , Post 4

As you proably now know, this quilt show was held in many buildings throughout various little towns. This location was Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, and this event was rather a sale of quilts, than an official exhibit. But saying that, it wasn’t to be missed. 

The title of this display was “Labors of Love”. And that, they were. 

The quilts are part of the collection of quilts, the American, Jane Lury and her husband sell as part of their business. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much information available, as they were displayed for sale purpose. But as the patterns were traditional, it made research fairly easy. 

Blue and White quilts, as you probably saw in my last post, were very popular, this was the same here, with some stunning examples.

In my research, I quickly learnt that these were referred to as indigo quilts, as this is the name of the plant dye used to create the blue fabric. 

In her book, quilt historian, Barbara Brackman explains the popularity of these beautiful fabrics and quilts:

“As cotton became affordable in the 1830’s, quilters invested in more expensive indigo blue prints for their best quilts because they trusted its fastness.”

The popularity of indigo quilts was so high that in the late 1890’s there was “scarcely a quilter to be found who did not have at least one in her collection.” Quilt History,

The next type of quilt to be admired here was this lovely specimen of Sunbonnet Sue, which is a popular traditional pattern.

I assume this quilt was pieced using feedsack cloth. Which was often the only affordable fabrics available as it just meant reusing, what they already had. 

According to an article written by Donna di Natale on the Kansas City Quilts website, it isn’t known for sure where the icon of this faceless little girl originated. But it is supposed that this well known chatacter, in the quilting world, was based on illustrations in a publication called  “The Sunbonnet Babies’ Primer by Eulalie Osgood Grover. The cute little images were illustrated by Bertha Cornett Melcher. This was published in 1906. 

Soon after, patterns for appliqué quilts began to appear with these motifs and they became well known by the 1920’s. Most of these quilts  which are in circulation today date from 1900 to 1940. 

Feedsack cloth was known to be used in quilts, before the depression, in the 1920’s, throughout the depression and following World War II. So, hopefully, this gives you some idea of the interesting history behind this quilt.

The next quilt is a school house block, which is very traditional and which hasn’t been changed or altered very much in it’s long ‘career’. 

To add, this quilt was done in the stunning combination of plain red and white fabric. This is a fabric choice, very popular even today. Again, this fabric became widely used, due to its known dye qualities. The dye which is one produced in Turkey is naturally called Turkey Red. 

A fantastic exhibit was held in New York in 2011, the first of its size, featuring 300 quilts belonging to Joanna S. Rose: ” Infinite Variety: Three centuries of red and white quilts.” 

At that exhibit you could see all the different patterns which were typical for this style.  Another red and white quilt at this location was some redwork. Redwork is the tradition of combining embroidery with patchwork. 

You can look at my previous post to see other examples of redwork and red and white quilts.

The next quilt is a silk, log cabin quilt dated 1890. 

You are probably well aware of this type of quilt block, but perhaps you are unfamiliar with the actual pattern used. This is called a Barn Raising log cabin quilt after the Amish tradition. Log Cabin quilts were so popular that they require their own post. So excuse me if I don’t get into them here. 

This next quilt is made up of different sized half-squared triangles. So simple and so timeless.

This 8 pointed star quilt uses bold colors and simple prints. I wish I knew more about the fabrics used.

Next, are two different whole cloth quilts. This type of quilt was created more for asthetic purposes, due to their intricate quilting designs and intensive quilting. In this case, probably also to do with the use of white fabric, which shouldn’t be soiled or worn.

All that can be said about these two, is WOW! Look at that incredibly dense design. 

Every inch of the fabrics, is decorayed with a pattern: the one botanical…

the other, I would say, of an Asian influence. 

Finally, the last quilt I will share with you is this wonderful quilt made up of little squares. 

I just adore the unusual choice of colors. The quilting is also quite remarkable. 

I usually dislike machine quilted feather designs, which still to this day are loved amongst quilters. But this is hand-quilted and presumably washed, giving it its heirloom quality.

So again, this was another display, which totally blew my mind.

I hoped you enjoyed it, as much as I did!

Let me know if so. 

Please stay tuned for yet another installment of this series.

Have a great weekend!! And do something creative. 


References and Links

Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts

” Story of Red and White Quilts” by Ann Hazelwood

Please note I was having issues with app and I have more references to give, once I am at a PC.

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