Category Archives: Patchwork

Quilts 1700 – 2010 Redux

Quilts 1700-2010 Hidden Histories, Untold Stories

Quilts 1700-2010 Hidden Histories, Untold Stories

I know I have written about this book before, but I have finally finished reading it. This book is a textile lover’s dream – the illustrations are beautiful and it is full of fascinating information. It is not the type of book to read all at once, but just dip into every now and then (even to just look at the pictures and be awed by the skill, patience and dedication of the maker).

The book consists of four chapters; Making and using quilts in eighteenth century Britain, Complexity and context:nineteenth century British quilts, Maintaining the craft:British quilt-making 1900-45 and Negotiating space:fabric and the feminine 1945-2010.

Here are some of my favourites …

Unfinished Patchwork of Silks, c1860-70

Unfinished Patchwork of Silks, c 1860-70

Quilt_84

Pieced Wool, c 1863-77

Quilt_112

‘Sanderson Star’ quilt in cotton sateens,            c 1910-1920

Quilt_137

Sara Impey, ‘Punctuation’. Machine stitched Silk,     c 2009

Quilt_149

Janey Forgan, ‘Liberty Jack’, c 2008

Quilt_156

Coverlet, patchwork of printed cottons,                c 1803-1805

As I love liberty fabrics, Liberty Jack is probably my favourite, but Sara Impey’s Punctuation is brilliant to, and then the amount of work involved in the earlier quilts is mind-boggling.

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Iowa Star Foundation Block Made with Embroidery Machine

Iowa Star

Iowa Star

The above block is 1/4 of an Iowa Star.  You need to imagine 4 of them exactly the same, but rotated to make a square in the middle – like this

iowa Star from Quilters Cache

Iowa Star from Quilters Cache

I digitised the block using Embird Studio and it came together quickly. I did cut some of the fabric pieces a little too small, but this block was just a test to see how well I had digitised the design.

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Pineapple Block

Sewwitty's Pineapple Block

Sewwitty’s Pineapple Block

I have been working away on the Pineapple block – this is the 7th iteration.

It didn’t stitch out perfectly (so there will be an 8th version) I had to do a couple of dodgy things, but I am happy with the final result. I just need to change the order of a few bits and add a few bits.

This time around I used Embird Studio’s hide/show feature and it made things a lot clearer – much easier to keep track of things.

I’ve also moved my embroidery sewing machine to a better spot – I am much more likely to use it now, such a simple thing.

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Pineapple Quilt Block

Pineapple Block being digitised

Pineapple Block being digitised

I’ve started work on the Pineapple Block and it has proven to be a little bit tricky, but on the plus side I’ve learnt a few things about Embird.

This little magic tool

Transformation Tool in Embird Studio

Transformation Tool in Embird Studio

allows you to specify the length and width (exactly) of objects – no more using the grid to create the right size.

And you can use Guide Lines to split objects that is how I chopped the top off the outer most triangles.

Using Guide Lines

Using Guide Lines

That way I just created one triangle and copy, pasted and rotated as required – much more accurate.

My one concern is the non-straight seams and how easy they will be to stitch and flip.

Is this going to be too tricky?

Is this going to be too tricky?

I have another design in mind that only has straight seams it might  be worth changing now before I have committed too much time.

On a completely different note, it is Australia Day and my pavlova is cooling in the oven. I think I am prepared.

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Courthouse Steps Mark 2

Second Version of Courthouse Steps

Second Version of Courthouse Steps

I think this is better than the last one – it came together quickly, which is handy in the school holidays!

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Courthouse Steps Quilt Block

Courthouse Steps Version 1

Courthouse Steps Version 1

This is the first attempt at the Courthouse Steps block. One of the seams isn’t quite right and I think I can fit another step in on the flowery steps.

It came together easily, so easily I might try a Pineapple Quilt Block next (like one of the ones below) …

Pineapple Quilt Block from quilting.about.com

Pineapple Quilt Block from quilting.about.com

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Snail Trail

 

 

Snail Trail in Progress – Pieced in the hoop using an embroidery machine

My next digitising project is a snail trail block. I have made one before, but I want these new blocks to be a consistent size. While digitising I was a bit daunted by all of the lines on the screen, but in the end it was very easy and only needed one revision.

Finished Snail Trail

 

I like how this block turned out and stitching it out wasn’t too fiddly.

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Holiday – Hour Glass Block

 

 

Wadjemup Lighthouse

We’ve been away on holiday to Rottnest Island (Miss A went on camp and we just tagged along). Above is the lighthouse in the middle of the island (I love lighthouses). This photo was taken about 6:30am – I went for a run every morning and the weather was perfect.

Salt Lakes at Rottnest

This photo was taken on the way back to the settlement. We had a fabulous time – went to the beach, the bakery, read books and I even managed to do some knitting.

Back to crafty stuff. This is my hour glass block…

Hour Glass Block Made Using Foundation Piecing by an Embroidery Machine

Here is four of them in a cushion top …

Four Hour Glass Blocks

Some of the tack down stitching shows on the middle square. I’m tempted to just ignore it or use water soluble thread, but the best thing would be to change the design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Patchwork Cards

Patchwork cards pieced using an embroidery machine

My stock pile of cards was depleted. I quite like to have a few stashed away – they are time consuming and I might not have enough time when I need one. These five took about an hour. I piece them using my embroidery machine – the design files can be found here (free for individual use, but don’t sell my designs). One of them is blackwork embroidery that I adapted from a 17th century embroidery book.

 

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Quilts 1700 – 2010 Book Review

I knew I would never make it to this exhibition so I bought the book from here – I’ve had it for a while and I’ve looked at the pictures, but I’ve only just started reading it properly.

The first chapter is on Making and Using Quilts in 18th Century Britain. I found it quite interesting that often the bed coverings were worth more than the bed – there was a lot of coverings – quilts, under quilts, bed curtains etc. Bed coverings were so valuable they were listed in inventories.

Not many quilts survive from this period. We know of their existence from the previous mentioned inventories and from quilts that have been adapted to another use – quilted suit anyone? Also, the terminology is tricky – how do we distinguish between eiderdowns and quilts? We can look to contemporary texts for information on terminology. Swift mentions patchwork in Gulliver’s Travels.

 Two hundred sempstresses were employed to make me shirts, and linen for my bed and table, all of the strongest and coarsest kind they could get; which, however, they were forced to quilt together in several folds, for the thickest was some degrees finer than lawn. Their linen is usually three inches wide, and three feet make a piece. The sempstresses took my measure as I lay on the ground, one standing at my neck, and another at my mid-leg, with a strong cord extended, that each held by the end, while a third measured the length of the cord with a rule of an inch long. Then they measured my right thumb, and desired no more; for by a mathematical computation, that twice round the thumb is once round the wrist, and so on to the neck and the waist, and by the help of my old shirt, which I displayed on the ground before them for a pattern, they fitted me exactly. Three hundred tailors were employed in the same manner to make me clothes; but they had another contrivance for taking my measure. I kneeled down, and they raised a ladder from the ground to my neck; upon this ladder one of them mounted, and let fall a plumb-line from my collar to the floor, which just answered the length of my coat: but my waist and arms I measured myself. When my clothes were finished, which was done in my house (for the largest of theirs would not have been able to hold them), they looked like the patch-work made by the ladies in England, only that mine were all of a colour.

The early part of the century quilts seemed to be made from silk fabrics whereas the latter half of the century the quilts were made from cotton fabrics (and these fabrics seemed to be datable to a shorter time span). Was this shift from silk to cotton because the ban on printing cotton fabrics for domestic use was lifted in 1774? Also in the early part of the century there were professional quilt makers (you could order quilting by the yard), however, it seemed to be a domestic industry by the end of century.

Another question was the purpose of quilting – to reuse valuable textiles or to celebrate a specific fabric?

There is also beautiful images …

Bed Curtain 1730 -1750 (Mostly made of printed cottons)

Look at all of those semi-circular shapes.

and

Cot Cover Quilted Linen (Early 18th Century)

The thing that amazes me about this piece – is that it must have been done by hand!

and

Bed Cover (Linen embroidered in coloured silks and metal thread)

You probably can’t tell from this image, but this is embroidered!

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