Sunday, April 6, 2008

The Golden Age of 1880-1910

Even after two years I can hardly believe how fortunate I am to have access to classes taught by Eileen Trestain, one of the country's most well known authorities on textile dating and history. I've been privileged to take both her pre-1830's medallion and her mid-century album quilt classes, and currently am taking her class called "The Golden Age of 1880-1910. The textile and quilt history is absolutely fascinating, and has led me to look at my fabrics in an entirely new way.

These classes have also led to congestion in my sewing room caused by several large baskets of fabrics which I've sorted into appropriate periods for my class quilts. I'm not anywhere near being confident enough of my new knowledge to put these fabrics back on the shelves, so I just work around the baskets the best I can. Here you see the baskets for "The Golden Age of 1880-1910". Lots and lots of shirtings for the backgrounds, plus distinctive prints representative of the era. The project is a "random sampler" - very different from the structured quilts of previous eras. "Twinkling Stars" is one of Eileen's antique tops from the period - I love it's very funkiness!

In one way this class is no different from the previous two - I'm going to have a VERY hard time choosing between all the wonderful settings Eileen provides for the class quilt! So for now all I'm doing is making random blocks. These are all from the first lesson. I took the baskets of fabric on retreat and made these after I caught up with the Civil War Diaries blocks. I still need to make a dark spool block before I can put the spools together into a larger block.

If you enlarge the picture you can see the fun conversational prints that were so common during this time. Also note that I cut the plaids wonky - just as our foremothers did. I had fun sewing together little pieces of the orange plaid in order to simulate the "waste not want not" blocks found in antique quilts. Even in the early years of the 20th century quilters felt every scrap of fabric was too precious to waste. Even in these days of marvelous fabric bounty I still feel that way - as my overflowing scrap drawers prove!

This week I hope to make more Lesson One blocks as well as a bunch from Lesson Two. They are all simple - which makes them really fun to do.


Ode said...

This blog and this work are fascinating !
Congratulations from a French admirer from Toulouse,
Ode (woman).

Sweet P said...

You are so lucky to be able to take those classes. I would love to be able to take classes like those. Your blocks are looking wonderful.

Kristie said...

Wow! How lucky you are!!! I love old quilts like that. I have a top of my great grandmothers that I am handquilting for my mom. I love the fabrics and the way it is put together. What I think is so wonderful about them is that if they didn't have enough of one fabric, they just patched and used something else.

Oh and I just love your Civil War blocks. I am slowly working on mine, I only have 25 blocks done.

swooze said...

I have been examining yor sidebar. I see the UFTs are making it to your flimsy list. Good girl! LOL! What is the "It's a Wonderful Life" quilt? I am so curious to see it.

Carin said...

Wow that is wonderful! It looks like you are having a blast!

Karen said...

What a wonderful class to be taking. Love the block put together "foremother" style. And that basket of shirtings! To die for.

Juliann in WA said...

Where are you taking these classes? It is so cool that you can do this - I am enjoying all your posts as you have gone throught the series.

Lucy said...

you're very very lucky to take these classes. They sound very interesting!