Presentation on theme: "1865/ $2900 Star of Bethlehem 1889/ $3600 Folk Art & Stars Created by Karen Pollard 2010."— Presentation transcript:
1865/ $2900 Star of Bethlehem 1889/ $3600 Folk Art & Stars Created by Karen Pollard 2010
"For a substantial part of this country's history, quilts were virtually the only means of personal and artistic expression readily available to the average woman." ~Robert Shaw "Quilts a Living Tradition"
The Colonial Era of Quilting Mid 1700s to early 1800s
The Colonial years made for a hard and unforgiving life. Quilting for colonial women was a rare pastime. The wife would be expected to do the spinning, sewing, food preservation, cooking and cleaning while caring for her often-large family. There was little time for quilting unless she had a household servant. 1880/$2900 Mennonite Star of Bethlehem 1850/$3500 Princes Feather
Most of the quilting was done from May through November when there was good light to see by and longer days. Women would cut out flowers and other motifs from a small amount of fabric. They would then carefully turn a tiny seam and appliqué each to a large piece of solid fabric. Whole cloth quilts were made by layering a solid top, backing and filling. Log Cabin Princes Feather with Sawtooth Diamond
Scrap of a colonial quilt found in a farm house Colonial patterns patchwork left; appliqué below
The Quilting Party Grandma Moses The Quilting Party An original colonial painting
Most quilts had a main medallion center surrounded by smaller patchwork squares. Frequent patterns were the star, hourglass and sawtooth patterns. Quilts of any kind were rare in New England in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, and it is unlikely that New England women were making quilts in any number until at least the 1750s. 1890/$2900 Center Medallion Quilt Star Pattern Block
By about 1840, the Industrial Revolution had brought the textile industry had grown to the point that fabric was readily available to most families. Women didnt have to spin the wool, dye it and weave it to get the cloth. Easier access to fabric allowed women to be more creative. Quilting became a common way for American women to express their creativity. 1880/$1600 Double Irish Chain Pattern Each tiny red square is 1 5/8 inches
Some quiltings or quilting bees were held, but many times a woman preferred to have only her own quality stitches on her quilt. Some quilting bees were highly exclusive. Only those very talented at quilting were invited; only the finest of quilting hands. Other times the goal of a quilting bee was mainly social, and beginners were welcomed along with the experienced. 1845/ $7900 Leaf & Reel Pattern
In isolated regions, gathering women in the area together helped overcome the loneliness that so many pioneer women experienced. …my husbands grandmother always had a quilting frame set up in the parlor where many friends would gather to quilt and visit. There would be room for 4-6 quilters to sit around the frame and work together. 1885/$2800 Crazy Quilt
The most essential piece of equipment for hand quilting was the quilting frame. It consisted of four sturdy lengths of wood. Two strips long enough to hold at least the width of a quilt would have heavy cloth attached along the length. The ends of the quilt would be basted or pinned to this cloth. The other two pieces of wood would hold the first two apart so that the ends of the quilt could be rolled tightly leaving a nice firm area for the quilters to do their stitching. When one section was completed the quilt could be rolled presenting a new section to be quilted.
Many times a log home or dugout home was too small to hold a quilting frame set up permanently. Sometimes the frames were rigged to raise up to the ceiling when not being used; then dropped down when women were quilting. Hourglass quilt pattern Sawtooth quilt pattern
Quilts were precious to pioneer women. They not only warmed the weary travelers at night but also brought memories of old friends and hopes for a good life in the new land. Many of the quilt pattern names were directly related to the pioneer experience. 1870/$1800 Log Cabin Quilt
1. Road to California 2. Oregon Trail 3. Bear Paw 4. Log Cabin 5. Pine Tree 6. Drunkards Path 7. Prairie Queen 8. Wandering Foot Quilt Pattern Names 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
There was much sickness and death along the journey. Finding a grave about every 80 yards was common. With no time to build a coffin, quilts were used to wrap a beloved family member for burial. Loneliness was intense and oftentimes women included a scrap of material in mail sent back home to share a piece of a quilt or garment she was making. 1850/$2500 Rose of Sharon pattern
Research debates the issue of whether or not quilts were indeed used by slaves trying to reach the north or freedom. In 1994, however, a study was conducted by interviewing Ozella McDaniel Williams, an African American quilter from South Carolina. Ozellas mother and grandmother shared the information with Ozella, who became the keeper of the code. These become generational stories passed from one generation to another. We do not know if they are true.
Ozella told the researchers that it was common to hang quilts in the sun to air them. These quilts were combinations of traditional quilt patterns and African symbols which were taught and recognized by slaves seeking freedom or preparing to flee. These were some of the common patterns: Monkey Wrench Prepare the tools youll need for the long journey, including the mental and spiritual tools. Or (as a Ships Wheel), the pilot is prepared to begin the transport. Wagon Wheel Load the wagon or prepare to board the wagon to begin the escape. Bears Paw Take a mountain trail, out of view. Follow the path made by bear tracks; they can lead you to water and food. Crossroads Refers to Cleveland, Ohio, a destination offering several routes to freedom. It also signifies reaching a point where a persons life will change, so one must be willing to go on.
Shoofly Possibly identifies a friendly guide who is nearby and can help. Bowtie Dress in a disguise, or put on a change of clothes. Flying Geese Points to a direction to follow, such as where geese would fly during spring migration. Drunkards Path Create a zig-zag path, do not walk in a straight line, to avoid pursuers in this area. Star Follow the North Star. Worked in conjunction with the popular song, Follow the Drinking Gourd, a reference to the Big Dipper constellation. Log Cabin A secret symbol that could be drawn on the ground indicating that a person is safe to talk to. It also advises seeking shelter.
Quilts to help runaway slaves? Maybe. A Log Cabin quilt hanging in a window with a black center for the chimney hole was said to indicate a safe house. A variation of Jacob's Ladder was said to give clues as to the safe path to freedom. We imagine women secretly sewing fabric pieces together to be used as signals. It is disappointing to learn that research on the Underground Railroad has found no documented evidence that this actually occurred, other than generational folklore. While we enjoy these stories, it is important to be aware that it is unlikely that quilts were ever used in the Underground Railroad.
What we are certain of is that in the north, women made quilts, sewing inscriptions on them indicating the evils of slavery. Some even included a sketch of a slave in shackles. The following antislavery poem was inscribed on one of them.. "I'd sooner spend my days within Some dark and dismal cave Than to be guilty of the sin Of holding one poor slave."
The North~ Great fairs were held and quilts were among the moreexpensive items made and donated. Craft bazaars, where most of the items sold involved sewing, were another way to raise funds. Women created beautiful quilts made of fine fabrics like silk for the war effort. Frequent themes were flags and patriotic symbols. It is estimated that over 250,000 quilts were made to support the North.
Southern women did what they could to help buy desperately needed gunboats. Beautiful Gunboat Quilts were made, displaying elaborate medallion style floral arrangements cut from printed fabric, which were then cut out and appliquéd to solid fabric. This method is called broderie perse and requires very fine sewing skills. Through fairs, raffles and donations, southern women raised enough money to pay for three of these ironclad gunboats. Fabric became scarce as the Union stopped supplies from reaching the South. There were no factories in the South to produce more. Gunboat quilt
There arent many surviving quilts from the Civil War. Many were completely worn out, and many were used to bury dead soldiers. Men's clothing, old blankets, feed and fertilizer sacks, wool weave, old uniforms, suits, coats, twill flannel, sleeves, pocket-flaps and pants legs were all used to make quilts. Quilts were made 4 ft. X 7 ft. to cover an injured man on a cot. If he died, he was buried in his quilt.
Quilt Block Names The ladies who designed these quilt blocks gave them names with special war significance such as: Crowned Cross Dolly Madison Star Shermans March Lincolns Platform Crown of Thorns Patriotic Flags Underground Railroad Swing in the Center Lincolns Log Cabin Courthouse Steps
Dear Jane… There were 169 four and one-half inch blocks containing a total of 5,602 pieces in Jane Stickles quilt. No fabric or pattern is used for more than one block. The patterns are a combination of original and traditional designs, and the quilt is backed with cream fabric. This fabulous quilt was named Aunt Janes Quilt.
The Jane Stickle quilt was made during the American Civil War. She signed her quilt "In War Time 1863." Jane created a masterpiece consisting of 169 ~ 4.5" (approx.) square blocks surrounded by 52 ~ 8"x5" triangles and four corner triangles. She pieced and appliquéd her blocks giving a variety for the viewer to behold. Many of the blocks were based on traditional patterns, and some of the patterns were created by Jane herself. Born Jane A. Blakely on April 8, 1817, Jane lived in Roxbury, Massachusetts. She was a contemporary of Laura Ingalls Wilders maternal grandmother. Jane was born the same year as Abraham Lincoln, Charles Darwin, Edgar Allen Poe, Louis Braille and Felix Mendelssohn. Jane married Walter Stickle and spent her entire life in the Shaftsbury, VT area.
A Reproduction of the Dear Jane Design was displayed in the Antique Quilt Section of the Quilt Show. It was hand-pieced and hand-quilted by The Owensboro Area Quilt Guilds member, Mary Jungmann. It took Mary almost 10 years to finish her quilt, and we are so proud to have displayed it. It is a huge undertaking to make one of these quilts, involving an enormous amount of work and skill. Janes Home place
Prior to the war, fabric was plentiful; being manufactured by textile mills in the North. In 1863, quilters saw the price of cotton soar due to an interruption in production caused by the Civil War. Three yards of backing sold for 75 cents. Six yards for a top sold for 36 cents/yard toward the end of the Civil War. In the South, where goods were almost unattainable, calico was said to have cost as much as $25.00/yard. Needless to say this situation forced quilters to make fewer quilts.
Historians place the Victorian Era in America from about 1876 to 1914; delayed by the Civil War. The Victorian Era called for highly ornate décor and clothing. Higher class women became interested in Crazy Quilts made of fine fabrics and expensive materials embellished with embroidery. Rural and less affluent women needed warmth, so they sewed up quilt tops, used thick batting and called them comforts or comfortables made of wool and cotton. These were not hand-quilted, but hand tied for quick use. Crazy Quilt
During the last years of the 1800s and into the 1900s the Arts and Craft Movement in America inspired people to go back to the old ways of bygone days. Fashion of the day demanded simple home furnishings, pottery and glassware all made by hand. This included the old traditional patterns in quilt design.
Hand-tied Quilt Completed about 1890 by Anna Jane Davis Harrison Look for the thread ties in the blue fabric. These held the quilt top, batting and backing together.
Magazines of this era encouraged women to reflect on Americas past which caused women to become eager to make or buy pieced cotton quilts. Appliquéd quilts were particularly prized. Interest in embroidery was also renewed. Even newspapers published quilt patterns.
During the booming twenties, when anything and everything seemed possible, Americans were fascinated with Colonial times. Trunks and attics were searched for antiques and family heirlooms. The middle of the 1920s marked an abrupt change in the color of fabrics. Women wanted fabrics in the new pastel and light-bright color schemes. Designers promoted their dreamy floral appliqué designs, and quilting came to be seen as an art rather than a utilitarian craft.
The Sears Exhibit at the Chicago Worlds Fair had a quilt contest resulting in 24,000 quilts being entered for $7500 in prizes to be given. Rural women grew their own cotton for batting. Women were able to earn money by selling their quilts to consumers who were interested in things made by hand.
The theme, Century of Progress, was perfect for the biggest quilt contest ever held. The Sears National Quilt Contest attracted 25,000 entries. The quilt that won first place created quite a scandal though. Most of the entrants were of modest means. But Margaret Caden, of Lexington, KY, the winner of the contest, was a wealthy business women whose gift shop included handmade quilts. Mrs. Caden was not the maker of the quilt, but hired it out by ladies who sewed for her. Although she signed Sears form saying she had personally made the quilt herself, it wasnt true. The women who worked for her were afraid to say anything as they desperately needed the money. Because of their fears, it was decades later before descendents of these women contacted Sears with proof that the quilt was not made by Caden. Of course locals knew all along and liked to point out, "Margaret Caden did not know which end of a needle to thread." *
Margaret Rogers Caden was from Lexington, Kentucky. Margarets quilt won because the judges were impressed with the intricacy of the padding. The prize-winning quilt disappeared after being presented to Eleanor Roosevelt. Margaret continued to make a profit from the pattern for the prize-winning quilt which she renamed The Bluegrass Star. A similar quilt to Margarets
Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the enemy and America was no longer safely isolated from the rest of the world. World War II ended the Great Depression but brought in a period of fear and anxiety along with pride and patriotism. Some folks quilted and some didnt. The world was focused on gaining peace. As in other times of war, patriotic themes were popular in quilts. Magazines and newspapers published quilt patterns including stars and stripes, airplanes and V for victory patterns.
Names of local soldiers serving in the war were embroidered on quilts
Quilts like Blue Star Banners were made and hung in windows signifying that the family living there had someone in serving in the war. Saddest of all were those with a gold star, signifying that a soldier from that household had lost his life. Pearl Harbor had been bombed by the enemy, and America was no longer safely isolated from the rest of the world. World War II ended the Great Depression but brought in a period of fear and anxiety along with pride and patriotism.
After the economy recovered and the war ended, quilting continued to be out of vogue. Most people believed that quilting was something only poor people did because they couldn't afford modern bed coverings. The focus was on modern way of living. With the decline in sewing, there were fewer scraps left for quilting. What quilting that was done was primarily for special occasions like weddings and births. State and local fairs continued to showcase quilts, but not many new patterns surfaced. There wasnt a resurgence of quilting until Americas bicentennial in 1976 with an emphasis on patriotism. It was after this period that Americans discovered the beauty of Amish quilting.
The Amish Influence on Quilting 1730 to the Present
Very few quilts are known to have been made by the Amish before the 1870s. The first Amish quilts were made in one solid color, of brown, blue, rust or black. Gradually some basic piecing and additional colors were added, still solid colors though. Many Amish quilts were pieced using a treadle sewing machine but the beautiful quilting was always done by hand. Most piecing was done at home, but the women gathered to quilt as a part of community building. Amish women make quilts for weddings, babies, friendship and as fund-raisers as well as selling them to outsiders. Amish quilt designs are a result of a belief that art is not a separate thing, but that beauty is a part of function; a concept that can be an inspiration to all quilters.
Quilting into the 21 st Century 1950s ~ Present
As we swept into the 21st century, the years from 1960 to 1980 became a significant period of our history. World War II was over, and the Cold War had set in. The Vietnam War divided Americans, and the Civil Rights Movement made great strides in integration of Black Americans. Primary information sources changed from print to television and radio. The world had changed, but some people still embraced hand made crafts from macramé to quilting. There is always a special feeling of accomplishment in making something instead of buying it.
In the April, 1961 edition of "Women's Day" magazine, we find a preview of what was to come. Rose Wilder Lane, daughter of Laura Ingalls Wilder of "Little House on the Prairie" fame, wrote an article titled "Patchwork." The article pictured beautiful quilts from museums along with several individual blocks which inspired many women to try their hand at quilting. The patterns could be ordered through the magazine. Just a few years later the back-to-nature movement inspired people to explore crafts from earlier times in history including patchwork. A 1970 pattern book titled "Modern Patchwork" included patterns for patchwork clothing as well as quilts.
In 1971, there was a quilt exhibit at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, which was a far different exhibit than art museums were accustomed to presenting. Until now, quilting was generally thought of as a craft, not a work of art. The 1960s showed a gradual increase in women wanting to learn to quilt, and by the 1970s a few quilt guilds had formed. Popular women's magazines began to include more articles about quilt projects. Interest in quilting was on the rise.
Quilters used the fabric at hand, which was double knit. These quilts were extremely heavy but lasted forever. Quilters remembered the 100% cotton and put pressure on the fabric industry for more cotton fabrics for quilting. The wonderful quilter's tools we enjoy today like cutting mats and rotary cutters weren't generally available until the 1980s. Quilt pattern templates were made with cardboard or sandpaper instead of plastic, and the fabric pieces had to be cut out with scissors. Some quilters pieced by machine, but others preferred hand- piecing. Quilt-making methods were still much like those of the past. New tools and methods as well as plentiful quilter's fabric would make a huge difference. Quilter's during the 60s and 70s would have been amazed to see the changes in quilting today.