Thursday, January 14, 2016

And Oh, the Quilts!

I think some of these blocks got one extra row than the others.

Or something..don’t they look more rectangle than squre? The bottom two in the center?

Yipes! I’ve had days like that!

So we just piece it together the best that we can, and when we reach the bottom of the quilt, we just trim off the excess and call it good!

I wish I could have gotten a full photo of this one, but some antique places have limited floor space and the only thing you can do is fold the quilt in fourths, do the best you can and hope to catch the essence, of not only the quilt, but the maker behind it in a simple cell phone photo.

I wonder what this quilter thought as she saw that her chains were NEVER going to line up across the quilt due to this placement. 

It makes my heart smile!

Oh, there are so many lessons to be learned and voices to be heard in looking at and studying vintage quilts.

The block pattern, the fabric, the quilting stitches, even the piecing itself, not to mention the binding method of choice are all a clue into the person who made this quilt.


Ocean Waves, circa 1900

Giant plaid backing, evidently not big enough, it’s pieced! 


Loads of stripes!  And ONE background fabric!

Triangles are NOT chopped off.

I would guess this was not her first quilt --


1950s pineapple!

This one was king size with nowhere to lay it out.


Such great fabrics!

This was not HER first quilt either!

Remember, this is before rotary cutters!


Hey, Lori!  It’s still here!

My friend Lori and I saw this last January when she came to stay with me at the cabin.  At $300.00 I can guess why it is still there.  It’s not in great condition with many fabrics shredding, but it is still so beautiful!


Close up of one corner.

All of the pieced triangles have double pink on the edge.  Some blocks have 3 fabrics, while some have two.  A very delicate quilt, pieced from a scrap bag.  And that tiny diamond cross hatching?  Wow.  Just wow.

When I look at this one I see recycled plaids and civil war prints mixed together.  Yes?? 


Sometimes there are just tops!

I wonder where the fabrics for this album block top came from?


A lot of these fabrics were fairly thin, like voile?

1920s maybe?

Until I looked at my photos, I didn’t notice that there is an X in the center of each block!


Oh, those fabulous 50s!  What a riot!


Weeeee!  This quilt makes me feel so happy!

I bet the maker had a good time putting these all together.


And this one!

This one is interesting.  The very center is 1940s/1950s apple cores.  But it must have been a long time UFO or finished by someone else – check out the cores at the edges, and that BORDER fabric!


Flower Power, Baby!

What’s even more interesting is the border fabric felt like it was printed on burlap.  Not feedsack kind of loose weave, but burlap.  Who remembers that kind of fabric?


Sweet dresdens!


Classic 1930s!


Oh, there is beauty in simplicity!

At first I saw the 9 patches in the center, but look how they run off the edge on the top and left side especially. When I looked at the back of the quilt, the edges had been turned to the back and top stitched by machine.  Perhaps this quilt was so loved that instead of rebinding, they just rolled the edges and stitched them down?

One of the things I love about vintage quilts is that they often grouped “like kinds” todgether.  If you look you will find all of the matching 9 patches close to each other, where we would be sure that it was “random” and not too close in our quilts today.  I love that one lavender block in the lower left, second row up.  And the other lavender that has lights/darks reversed.  This maker was a quilter after my own heart – just throw it in, it will work!


And oh, the fan quilting!


Honey Comb!


Badly Shredding!

I would guess 1850s on this one, but I could be a bit too early.  Still, the batting was very thin and this was quilted TO DEATH!  The black print on the red and yellow fabrics ate the fabric away over time.

Funny story – this whole STACK of quilts was in one booth, and there I was opening each one, and examining and taking photos.  Little note on EVERY QUILT “Made by great grandmother” And the supposed year, mostly wrong.  If the quilts were made by ONE great grandmother –she was making quilts from 1850 to 1950.  That’s ONE GREAT GRANDMOTHER! LOL!


So masculine!  And almost modern looking!

This area of North Carolina was run by mills.  In fact, two of the large antique malls I hit on my way home from South Carolina were housed in old mills.  Don’t you love that wood floor?  It’s amazing being in these places of such great history to this area.  I also wonder if the fabrics used in these vintage quilts could have come from mill cut offs.  And the Baptist fan choice of quilting happened a lot –it was easy to execute, fast to do, and quilted in the way your arm naturally arcs as you sew.  I love how random these ones are!


The blue background is like a chambray.  Nice!


This is fun!!!

I wish I knew the story behind this one, but this maker loved the brights of her day!  Blocks are completely randomly set in columns with additional pieces added here and there to make the  columns fit with each other.


More fan quilting!

I have never seen this pattern before, and it just has such a free spirit about it.  Is it perfect?  No.


Which would you rather be?


Screaming Yellow Zonkers!


Someone loved bold and busy prints and tiny piecing!

Do you see what I mean about keeping similar blocks side by side?  I imagine this maker choosing fabrics from dress scraps and cutting her pieces in the evening, stitching them when she found time and enjoying each little block as it was completed.

And would you believe that is only HALF of the quilts from this road trip home???  I’m going to stop right here and save the rest for tomorrow.

Remember that we have QUILT-CAM tonight at 9pm Eastern.  I can’t wait to sew with you again!


Quiltville Quote of the Day!

Looking for the one positive thing in any situation can help push you through to the bright side with valuable lessons learned. Don't sit on the cactus! Antique Rose quilt with heavy feather quilting found in McKinney, Texas a couple weeks ago. Another life lesson - though parts of us may be worn through, we are still exceptionally beautiful on the inside!

I am heading out on a little road trip with my friend Jen this afternoon.  She’s found a featherweight she wants to go look at, and asked me to come with her.  I’ll tell you about it tonight!

Girls on the road! Yeah!

Have a great Thursday, everyone!

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  1. In the early 1960's I had a friend who was a dress designer for Sears. Every summer she would take a trip through the Carolinas to shop for fabric (for herself) at the mills. I always wanted to go too. I got too old too late.

  2. So interesting! I learn so much from your excursions. Enjoy your outing today. See you tonight.

  3. As I am putting my mystery quilt together I am trying to make sure I don't have two of the same fabric next to each other. I find it so interesting that they used to put the like blocks next to each other and how it makes an interesting design. So much we can learn from these antique quilts!

  4. All the vintage quilt eye candy was delightful along with your discussion of each one. Always an education with you my friend! Enjoy your time with your friend today checking out her possibly new-to-her Featherweight. If I can help with parts in any way, let me know. Hugs, Allison in Plano, Texas USA

  5. Such amazing creativity

  6. These were fun...looking forward to tomorrow's selection.
    Speaking of burlap...it brought to mind garments I made from a fabric known as hopsacking ca. 1970 in my Home-Ec classes.

  7. I might have to call my Allietare "Screaming Yellow Zonkers". DH informed me that I can get a TREADLE for my birthday. I saw one at one of our antique shops in town a while ago. Wish you were here to be my lucky charm. Hoping that it is still there & a good one. Can't wait til the place opens today...

  8. Thanks for this Bonnie! Loved the story about Great Grandmother :0)

  9. Old quilter1:06 PM EST

    Wonderful quilts, as always in your posts. But today's gem is the "Cactus" quote ! Love it.

  10. I really love several of these, but especially the 12th one down, the unknown block in faded, summery colors with the scrappy wonky sashes. So much fun! I love how some of the blocks are positive/negative. The whole thing just looks so soft, like it needs to be in a hammock in a shady spot in the yard.

    That's a really interesting block, too. Maybe inspiration for a future Addicted to Scraps column? *bats eyelashes at you hopefully*

  11. Your mention of the fabric that was like burlap made me chuckle. Oh how well I remember it! It was a very popular fabric for making pants, dresses and jumpers with back in the 60's. I even have a quilt with some left over scraps in it. Also the voile fabric is mixed in along with other types. Those were the days. Oh, and I remember purchasing a piece of the burlap type, as you describe it, for 49 cents per yard at JC Penney & Co. Funny what memories stick with you, but I loved that blue on white floral print. Also, fabric was still just 36" wide at that time.

  12. Bonnie, like you I enjoy wondering about the lady who made an old quilt I find. What was going on in her life? Was quilting a nice restful thing to do in a hectic life of kids, husbands, sickness and health? Did she make the quilt for a special person? So many interesting things I would like to ask her. :)

    Once again thanks for the mini quilt tour.

  13. The unknown block looks like Brackman #3126, St. Elmo's Cross by Nancy Cabot

  14. If you are referring to the brightly colored border bring a texture and wondering about it...
    It's most likely "barkcloth". They used it for draperies in Art Deco yo 50s. Mostly seen in Florida type homes. Miami look. When I had my upholstery workroom, it was found on old chairs and curtains and I received many new sample books of reproduction. It's cotton, traditionally, but woven with that burlap feel, some more than others depending on intended use. I'm sure someone will disagree, but that's my guess based on my experience, I have several large old pieces I've saved through the years. Thought I'd sell on eBay for someone wanting in travel trailer redo or retro home.

    I often think, based on current fabrics in quilting and homes, it's going to be dated. It's all cyclical. I never could afford to be trendy. I've always stuck with classics. Boring at times, but constant.

    As for quilting, I'm sure there will be plenty of " those Bonnie hunter scrappy and mystery quilts" to be found 100 years from now.

    Well, still no snow in smokies... Come on up! Your kind of weather, sunny days.

  15. Anonymous8:11 PM EST

    I agree, bark cloth is probably what you're thinking of.

    Julie in ms.

  16. Bopping in to say thanks for the post today. The quotes you've been posting have really helped me keep a positive mind during this cold spell. And I was able to catch a bit of quilt cam tonight! You are so full of awesome sauce, just wanted to say thanks.

  17. Its a shame that we dont till have fabric mills in the southeast, an industry that was so prevalent and what made our country great. Loved the journey.

  18. THank you so much for sharing these. I love your quilts and seeing all the happy people in your classes, and I particularly love it when you post photos of your antique quilt travels. And yes, I do remember printed "burlap" type fabric. It was originally called Kettle cloth, but I can't for the life of me remember what we called it in the 60's. I had lots of jumpers made with the stuff though. Again, thanks for sharing.

  19. Gosh, you always share wonderful antique quilts with us. Many of todays quilts especially appealed to me. Thanks for sharing not only the pics but also your expertise on construction, dating, etc.

  20. What wonderful old quilts. My mom passed away last summer and when my daughter-in-law and I were cleaning out the closet in her bedroom we found an old plastic bag with a quilt top in it. It is beautifully pieced in nine patches with sashing and cornerstones. I haven't ever seen it before. Wonder where it came from and who made it. Mom was not a quilter. The fabric you mentioned that was similar to burlap is called hopsack, if I remember correctly. I had several skirts made from it. It came in wonderful colors with little flowers on it.

  21. Anonymous6:10 PM EST

    re: like burlap I don't know if I remember it being called kettle cloth, though that name is familiar, but I remember it as a cotton/poly blend from the late 60's, maybe 70/30, definitely more cotton than poly, made the best dresses, it was woven, had great texture, not knit, so it wasn't stretchy, kept it's shape and was very little ironing, unlike 100% cotton. I still have some scraps from a dress I made I just can't part with. Maybe I'll use it in a dolly quilt! I have seen bark cloth, a blend from the 40's and 50's seen mostly in curtains and upholstery, and does anyone remember naugahyde? my folks had a LazyBoy recliner with naugahyde. Some sort of good quality vinyl... Also, I have squares and tops from my grandmother with the very thin stuff in it, like rayon. It's shredding so I admit to replacing those squares as I work on those tops.


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