October 15, 2016

A Quaker Hexagon Quilt Top

In March, 2014, Mary had the pleasure of presenting an informal talk about Quaker quilts at the Goose Creek Meeting House, Loudoun County, Virginia.  Meeting members were invited to bring quilts in for discussion after her presentation.  One of the quilts was this silk, hexagon quilt top.  Measuring 66.25 X 80 inches, it has an estimated date of ca. 1865-1900.

Hexagon Quilt Top, March 23, 2014, photographed at Goose Creek Meeting.
All photographs by Mary Holton Robare.
Goose Creek Meeting House, Loudoun County, Virginia, 2014.
We consider this quilt top "Quaker" because it was owned by someone whose family were members of the Religious Society of Friends for many generations on both sides.  Although that does not mean it couldn't have been made by someone outside the family who was not a Friend, it was kept and cherished as a family piece.
Remnants of batting indicate the top was once part of a completed quilt and leftover bits of paper illustrate the paper-piecing technique used by its maker.

Interestingly, the silk of the center hexagons is pristine, while the more colorful hexagons that are nearer the edges have some shredding.  Its velvet border, which was stylistically prevalent in the Victorian era, is worn.  This prompts speculation that the piece was a multi-generation project.
Starting in the late 1800s, silk was sold by weight - the heavier the silk, the more expensive it was (and the more profitable for merchants).  Earlier, pre-weighted silks kept their condition, but the weighting agents that were added to create more expensive silks contributed to their faster deterioration.
Center of quilt top, possibly made with pre-weighted silk.
Edge of quilt top showing velvet border and later silks that were sold by weight.
According to the quilt top's owner, family tradition is that a small flag (pictured below) was sewn into the center of the top to show support for Abraham Lincoln around the time of the Civil War.  We have not been able to find out more about the flag, which appears to be woven, but dating it might help validate or disprove the story.  While family traditions are notoriously inaccurate, the fact that this story even exists illustrates the leanings of Loudoun County Quakers during the Civil War.
This quilt top was graciously loaned for an exhibit curated by Mary of Quaker Quilts that was held by the Winchester-Frederick County Historical Society in their Abram's Delight Museum in 2014.
Hexagon Quilt Top on display, Abram's Delight Museum, Winchester-Frederick
County Historical Society, June 13-15, 2014.
This post is dedicated to the memory of Edgar P. Leggett who shared the top and its history.
Thank you to Barbara Garrett for information about weighted silk.
The Hexagon Quilt Top is one of twenty-five textiles  that appear in "Quaker Quilts: Snapshots of an Exhibition"  (To order, see link at left.)


October 1, 2016

The American Quilt Study Group Seminar in Tempe, Arizona

Members of the American Quilt Study Group (AQSG) met in Tempe, Arizona, September 14-18 for their thirty-seventh annual Seminar.  We gathered at the Tempe Mission Palms hotel near the Arizona State University campus to enjoy what-turned-out-to-be moderate weather for this time of year and a lovely, Southwestern setting.

All photographs by Lynda Salter Chenoweth.
Inner courtyard at the Tempe Mission Palms.
The purpose of Seminar each year is to present original research related to quilt studies and related topics.  This year's presenters included:  Jonathan Gregory who presented a paper titled "Why Ernest Haight Made Quilts"; Colleen Hall-Patton who shard her research on "Protofeminist Thought in Mid-twentieth Century Magazine Articles"; Diana Bell-Kite who spoke on the topic "Memorials of Satin: Funeral Ribbon Quilts in Context"; Peggy Hazzard who presented "What the Eye Doesn't See, Doesn't Move the Heart: Migrant Quilts of Southern Arizona"; Sandy Staebell who introduced us to "The Godey Quilt: One Woman's Dream Becomes a Reality"; and, Susan A.D. Stanley who shared her research on "Mary Catherine Lamb: Lady of Perpetual Garage Sales".  All of these presentations are published in Uncoverings 2016, Vol. 37 of the Research Papers of the American Quilt Study Group.  This publication can be ordered using a form that is available on the AQSG web site at www.americanquiltstudygroup.org.
The keynote address this year was given by Carolyn O'Bagy Davis who introduced us to "Goldie Tracy Richmond: Indian Trader and Quiltmaker".  Goldie was legendary in Arizona for her magnificent applique quilts, the trading post she operated on the Tohono O'odham (formerly Papago) Indian Reservation, her grit surviving in the Sonoran desert, and for her larger-than-life persona. Several of Goldie's quilts were on display for close examination after the talk.
Examining quilts by Goldie Tracy Richmond that Carolyn O'Bagy Davis arranged to present.
Another Arizona quiltmaker was highlighted by our Saturday luncheon speaker, Janet Carruth.  She presented a talk titled "Emma Andres: Little Sister to America's Quiltmakers".  Andres lived in Prescott, Arizona, and produced many unusual quilts that influenced leading quiltmakers throughout the mid-twentieth century.  Some of her quilts were also displayed for close-up viewing.
This year provided several interesting tours for Seminar attendees.  One could choose between a tour to Mission San Xavier Del Bac and the Arizona Historical Society Museum in Tucson, a tour to the Tempe History Museum for a special exhibition of Territorial-era quilts, a tour of the Sharlot Hall Museum and Smoki Museum in Prescott, or a tour of the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, an historic Western town north of Phoenix.  Lynda chose the Mission San Xavier Del Bac and the Arizona Historical Society Museum tour.
Mission San Xavier Del Bac first founded in 1692 by Father Eusebio Francisco Kino.  The
current structure was begun in 1783 by Franciscan Father Velderrain.
Detail of mission entrance.  The mission is situated on the Tohono O'odham Reservation and
 flies the flags of Spain, the United States, and the Tohono O'odham Nation.
A trip to the Arizona Historical Society Museum followed lunch in Tucson.  The visit included a bed-turning of some of the Museum's quilt collection, a trip into the storage facilities to see nineteenth-century costumes, and a general tour of the Museum.
Historical Society Curator Lorraine Jones conducted the bed-turning at the Arizona Historical
Society Museum.
Viewing nineteenth-century costumes at the Arizona Historical Society Museum.
Seminar attendees had a wide variety of Study Centers to choose from this year.  Topics included:  Pagtinabangay: The Quilts and Quiltmakers of Caohagan Island; From Samplers to Lacing Boards: The Evolution of Children's Sewing Cards; The Ladies Art Company of St. Louis, MO; Arpilleras, the Cloth of Change;  Quilts in Transition 1866-1875;  What WAS She Thinking?;  Early Quiltmakers of UNIQUE San Juan County, New Mexico; Mid-century Mid-Atlantic Friendship Quilts;  Buckshot, Dog Food, and Car Parts: 100 Years of Textile Bags;  Baltimore Album Quilt Designs; 20th Century Quilt Kits: An Overview; Regional Quilt Patterns and Styles of the 19th Century; and, Portraits of a Past Imagined: The Influences of the Colonial Revival on Quilting.  (Definitely something of interest for everyone.)    
If all of the foregoing was not enough to keep Seminar goers busy over four days, the event also provided several excellent meals, three hanging quilt exhibitions, a silent auction of donated quilts, books, textiles and other objects, a book sale of publications by AQSG authors, a live auction featuring quilts and coverlets, and outside vendors whose booths were replete with beautiful and historic quilts to purchase.  The following photographs are of stunning quilts offered by two different vendors, Kathryn Liston of Lafayette, California, and Stella Rubin of Darnestown, Maryland.

Next year's Seminar will be in Manchester, New Hampshire.  Go to the American Quilt Study Group web site provided above and become a member!  Then, join us for all the learning and the fun in New Hampshire next fall!!