Posts Tagged: mourning print

Mar 10

Antique Cut Glass Dish

the quilt top cupboard006

Today the top I’m pulling from the quilt top cupboard is a Cut Glass Dish pattern, also known as Crystal Honeycomb.

The top is hand pieced and is made up of indigos, mourning prints, shirting, and a cardinal red print for the setting squares.

This top is hard to date.  The fabrics used to piece the Cut Glass Dish units appears to be quite a bit older than the red fabric used to set the blocks together into a top.

Some of the fabrics in this top were dyed with a fugitive dye which was once a very dark blue. It’s now faded out to a tan color.

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As you can see, the quilter had to piece fabric together to get a piece of fabric big enough to piece her design. These joins are called “poverty patches”.  I find them very endearing, and a sign of determination to make do with what one has..and to make something useful and pretty from it.  When this poverty patch was pieced both of the fabrics would have been the dark blue indigo color.

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Here you can see another fabric that had a fugitive dye.

It’s a real shame that the dyes didn’t hold, because I love the pattern of this quilt. It’s one that you don’t see very often.  IMO the graphic look is spoiled by those lighter sections.

It also looks like the blocks may have been pieced and set aside or our quilter was using fabrics from a scrap bag that dated to a much earlier date than the setting squares used to put this top together.

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I would guess the blocks date to around 1880-1910 and the red fabric to 1910-1940.

I wonder if the quilter inherited the blocks from a relative who was a quilter?  That would explain the time span represented here.

The side setting triangles have the bias at the edge which allows the fabric to stretch.  It’s always better to cut the fabric so the straight of grain is at the long outer edge piece.

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This top could be straightened by a bit of good pressing with a light starch or sizing ( I like Best Press). The addition of a border or a row of stay stitching at the edge of the top would stabilize the edges too.

The blocks are a pieced elongated hexagon shape. If the quilter would have set the blocks together a little differently she would have an Ocean Waves top.

I don’t think I’ll ever quilt this top, but I do like the design and at some point may recreate the quilt top?

Feb 10

Antique Four Patch Column

the quilt top cupboard006

Today the quilt I’m pulling from the quilt top cupboard is a very simple design.

The maker made four patches then sewed them into columns.  The columns are then separated by strips of double pink.

The top is entirely hand pieced.  It dates to around 1880-1910.

The top contains mourning prints, ginghams, shirting, indigos and double pinks.

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There are several poverty patches, which are pieces that are made from sewing two scraps (or more) together in order to get a piece of fabric large enough to cut the piece needed for the pattern.

I like the simplicity of this this quilt top and I think it would look pretty with a cable type design running down the length of the double pink?

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Here you can see some of the fabrics, which are very plain and simple.

The top needs a good pressing, but otherwise is in wonderful condition.

I thought I’d show you what might have been used in times gone by to press a top.

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This iron is a reproduction of an antique.  It opens so a hot coal, hot sand, or a hot metal slug could be placed inside to keep the iron hot.

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This type of iron was first used in the fifteenth century.

Prior to this invention a metal iron was heated in a fire, then a piece of fabric was placed over the item to be pressed to prevent soot from being transferred onto it.  This iron allowed people to iron their fabrics directly and thus be able to see that they weren’t ironing wrinkles into their fabrics.  It was much cleaner.

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By the 1820s, cast iron was also used to make flatirons. These irons were called sad irons because they were heavy, weighing about 15 lb (5.6 kg), and hard to move.

This example is an 8lb. size.

With the advent of cast iron stoves, flatirons could be heated on top of them, which was much cleaner than a fire.

Like flatirons, sad irons were heated on the stove top, but they sometimes heated unevenly. The handle also heated up, which posed problems for users. American Mary Potts solved these predicaments in 1870. She made a cardboard base and filled it with plaster of Paris. This was placed around the iron’s body and kept it cooler for more even heating. Potts also devised a detachable wooden handle that was spring loaded for the sad iron. Because wood does not hold heat in the same way that iron does, the person using the iron would not be burned.

After gas became available in American homes in the late 1800s, gas irons came into existence. The earliest were patented in 1874. Homes had individual gas lines into them, and the gas iron was hooked up to the gas line by a pipe. The iron contained a burner to which the gas flowed. When the burner was lit with a match, the iron heated up. The iron was very hot and gas sometimes leaked, but the gas irons were lighter than sad irons. Other fueled irons soon followed. These irons were heated with oil, gasoline, paraffin, and other fuels.

The electric iron was invented in the 1880s when electricity became widely available in homes. The first electric iron was patented by Henry W. Seeley in 1882. His iron was hooked up to an electrical source by detachable wires. The electricity stimulated the iron’s internal coils. But Seeley’s iron, like many early electric irons, did not have electric cords. The irons were heated on a stand. One big problem with Seeley’s iron was that it heated very slowly on the stand, and cooled quickly while in use. This iron had to be reheated frequently.

By the turn of the century, iron technology had progressed considerably and irons became more common in American house-holds.In 1903, irons with electric cords directly attached to the iron were being sold.

In 1926, the steam iron was introduced by the Eldec Company. Steam made it easier to smooth dry stiff fabrics. Previously the user sprinkled water on dry clothing, or clothing had to be ironed when damp. The steam irons employ a water tank that allows heated water vapor to be created and applied through small holes on the sole plate. Steam irons did not become popular until the 1940s.

I’m sure glad we don’t have to use irons like my old examples. I love my electric steam iron with temperature controls!

There now..the next time you go to iron something you may enjoy it more, knowing what a wonderful convenience our modern day irons are?  ;)

Dec 09

Antique String X

the quilt top cupboard006

The quilt top I’m pulling from the cupboard this week is an antique String X.

The pieced sashing strips appear to be older than the setting squares? They appear to be from 1880-1910?  The strips and strings of the sashing portion are hand pieced.  The larger setting squares are machine pieced and appear to be from the 1930-40′s?  The top is then assembled by machine.

The sashing is about 5″ wide and the setting squares are around 10″.

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The sashing contains mourning prints, indigos, shirting, cardinal red, homespuns,  double pinks, and  turkey red.

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The setting squares contain a variety of fabrics including plaids, polka dots, chambray, and floral prints.

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I find it a little odd that the fabrics seem to be from such a wide time frame?  Maybe someone inherited the pieced sashing portions and used what they had on hand to finish them into a quilt?  I found it odd too, that there are three setting squares that are a solid piece of blue and the other squares are pieced?  To my would look better if the blue had been cut and pieced more like the other scrappy squares, spreading the color around the quilt top more?  If I decide to quilt this top I will either change the setting squares in that way..or change them all to solids?

I really like the pieced scrappy sashing!

I bought this at an estate sale a couple of years ago.  The people running the sale had no information about it.  It was $12.

Sep 09

Antique Railroad Crossing

the quilt top cupboard006The quilt I’m pulling from the quilt top cupboard today is one of my favorites. It’s a Railroad Crossing top. It’s not a common pattern. It dates to 1860-1880. This top contains shirting, reds, madder prints, mourning prints, pale aqua, and one of my favorites..cheddar. The quilt top is hand pieced with nice tight stitches. The fabrics in this top are crisp and unwashed. It does have a couple of small spots, which I think will wash out? They don’t concern me and I display it as is.

As usual..the wind was picking up as I was trying to take pics. The top is flat and square I promise! The dark border you see at the outer edge has mitered corners and I think the maker intended this to be the binding?

Antique Birds in the Air004The block is pieced with the cheddar running across it forming an X. The blocks were then sashed with the cheddar as well. The blocks are 9.5″ finished.

Antique Birds in the Air005The outer corners of each block has a shirting print and the same print is used as corner stones. This use of the same fabric throughout forms a small churn dash where the blocks meet.

Antique Birds in the Air013Here you can see where the tiniest of pieces were sewn together to form a piece of fabric big enough to cut the piece needed for the patchwork. This was a common practice and is affectionately known as a “poverty patch.” I always like to point them out, because I just love them!

Antique Birds in the Air011Here is another example of a poverty patch. As you can see, a small 1/4″ strip was sewn to the edges of the block to make it the right size. This is the only block like this and makes me wonder if the maker cut a few pieces too small..and then added the red..or did she only have scrap bits and this was the only way to piece this portion? Oddly enough, it is placed right at the center of the quilt rather than in a corner or edge where it wouldn’t be as noticeable.

Antique Birds in the Air007Most of the blocks have high contrast in the piecing..but not this one. Did the maker run out of lights/shirtings? When I see an odd block like this one it always makes me wonder…”why”? On the right hand side of the quilt, four rows down and second from the edge, there’s a block that’s mostly light. If the maker had switched her fabrics a bit..these two blocks would be more like the others. A common term for a block that’s different from the rest is a “renegade block”. I always like those too!

Antique Birds in the Air006Here you see more poverty patches in the aqua, and one of the two small spots on the top. I suppose I could put a little spot lifter on and rinse with water..I just haven’t bothered.

Antique Birds in the Air010Here you can see a couple of the mourning prints and a gorgeous madder print. Madder dyes produced a wonderful copper brown that always looks so warm and rich.

Mourning prints got their name from the fashions of the day. Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert died in 1861. She went into a state of mourning and dressed in black, later followed by very dark prints such as black with some white, dark grays, dark purples, etc. Women at that time in history wore clothing made from those same sort of fabrics.

Birds in the air UFOHere you can see how I display this top. I may quilt this beauty some day, but for now I enjoy it as is.

*Note: I have added pics of the antique fabrics to my Flickr album so anyone interested in seeing a larger pic of the fabrics can click to enlarge. There’s an extra large option there too.