Saturday, September 1, 2007

This and that

I've been looking forward to this holiday weekend for days now. I have at least three times as much planned as I'll have time to do I'm sure LOL! This is the first weekend I've had to sew since I completed the sewing room and the never ending stack of mile-a-minute blocks. I've sewn sleeves on two more quilts and have only two more to do. There are at least two others that are currently on display and won't come down until the middle of the month so will have to wait for them.

I had a surprise waiting for me when I unwrapped the third and fourth "quilts". They weren't quilts at all! I have no idea how to date either one of them, but since they belong to the Interpretive Center I'm guessing they are both from sometime in the 1800's.

The first "quilt" is a black and red plaid woven coverlet made of wool. The interesting thing about this textile is the fact that at some time it was sliced down the middle and then sewn back together. It also has a wide black binding made of heavy cotton. I'm guessing the binding was added later for some reason - I've never seen pictures of this type of woven coverlet with a binding. The edges along the one seam allowance look like they might have been the edges of the piece before it was sliced in half, so I'm guessing that the binding was put on after the pieces were seamed together because the outside edges were the cut edges and likely to fray. The top and bottom binding feels like the edge of the coverlet is inside, whereas there is no ridge to feel inside the side bindings. I'd love to know the story as to why it was cut in half and then later sewn back together.

The second "quilt" is a fuzzy wool blanket that was woven in the textile mill that was in Oregon City on the banks of the Willamette River. It is reversible in that one side is red with black and cream stripes while the other is cream with black and red stripes. It has obviously seen some hard use. I'm sure it was beautiful when it was new.

This morning I'll stitch the sleeve on the fifth quilt. It's an appliqué quilt that I'm guessing is from the 1840's or 50's. It was a red and green with touches of gold when it was new, which is very typical of that period. The applique is beautifully done, as is the quilting. The red fabric in the love apple appliqués is deteriorating rapidly. The fabric of the rest of the appliqué is in fine shape, but the color has all but gone. When I started to unroll it I thought it was a whole cloth quilt because of the lack of color. The green and gold can still be seen in places - very faded now. The very narrow binding is so thin it's almost worn away. "C.J.S. Green ?" is written on a back corner in black ink. The ink is dark and clear - it looks like it was written much later than the quilt was made - maybe by an owner who was guessing as to who made the quilt.

As far as my own projects go I have several things planned. I've brought out my string blocks again as I want to get this second quilt top finished. Right now I have 42 finished blocks. I'm going to need almost twice that many for another Hotel Hope top. Once I finish this one I want to try some other things with my strings. I want to do the String X quilt on Bonnie's website, as well as a Chinese Coins quilt. There are also several quilts in Gwen Marsden's Liberated Strings book that I want to do. Good thing, as somehow my strings now fill two drawers. And here I thought I had only a partial drawer left!

I also want to get upstairs and quilt a few of my own tops. I'm supposed to have 3 UFO's finished by guild on Thursday for our UFO challenge, and so far all I have is the one table runner. My stash won't miss the fabric if I have to pay two fat quarter penalties - it's just that I hate to admit that I couldn't get more than one UFO done over the entire summer. Maybe I should take my Mile-a-Minute blocks for show and tell LOL!

1. Fall weather is here!
2. Pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks
3. A new haircut
4. Time to quilt my own flimsies
5. A bacon and scrambled egg breakfast


Tracy said...

The string blocks look great! The antique quilts are fascinating. Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you don't have to pay the penalty!

Jeanne said...

Hi Patti!
I wonder if that red and black coverlet was originally woven on a narrower loom and seamed together, not actually cut in half? Do both edges of the panels have selvedges, or is it really a cut edge?

Libby said...

Curiouser and curiouser *s* It sure is a treat to see these and try to piece together some of the clues.

Finn said...

Hi Patti, I see Jeanne is thinking the same thing I am. I'd almost bet that the pieces were woven on a narrower loom than what you are envisioning. A wider(stand along) loom would have been very pricey. I think the narrower looms were far more common and likely to have been how they made the two halves.
In one of the Indian cultures, bands of cloth are woven on small looms(only about 6 or 8" wide, then the strips are joined up(stacked if you will) horizontally to form a skirt or robe. Many women could weave at the same time for the same one garment....pretty cool huh???

Even early fabric was often 22" up to 28" wide, long before they ever got to 30" or 36". I have several pieces of a homespun type check that is 28", and one or two pieces of the old 22" fabric with the tinest narrow selvedge imagionable..LOL
Love the string blocks! Hugs, Finn

Bren said...

How wonderful to come and share in your time with these amazing quilts and "quilts". They are just beautiful!

Dawn said...

Oh the quilting on that last one is so amazing! How cool is it that you get ot check these out so close! Enjoy your long weekend!

Suze said...

It must be wonderful to handle such luscious antiques....... There is a mystery about them regarding the life of the maker and what her everyday life was like.

Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

Hanne said...

Thanks for sharing the old quilts and woven blankets :-)

You have now inspired me to do some string blocks - I want to make a string quilt for donation in September - you know, the small dent in the string collection - small steps towards less fabrics. Maybe I can beat today's cell dividing - LOL

Sølvi said...

I also think the red/black woven piece have been sewn together originally because the loom wasn't wider. Wonder if i migth be from either Sweden or Norway, and that somebody brouth it with him/her over the ocean. They used this things in the beds, often with sheep's fur on the back.
Seems like a technic called "rips" in Norwegian. Maybe I should forward this picture to a weaving relative north of Bellingham.

Sølvi said...

I took a closer look - the yarn is hand-spun and dye-colored by plants - suppose the red color comes from tre plant "Krapp" in Norw.

Karen said...

Thank you for posting all of these antique quilts, love them. Yes, they sewed two lengths of woven coverlets together all the time to make it full-size, due as people are saying, to the width of the looms. I used to weave these guys at various historical villages.

Caroline in NH said...

Solvi (can't do the accent) mentioned a technique called "rips". This can be found here in the US as "ripsmatta" (what little I remember I've seen a few times in Handwoven magazine). I was thinking it was two narrow lengths seamed together as well.