QUILTS & FABRIC: PAST & PRESENT


Saturday, May 26, 2018

Lancaster County's Unusual Samplers

Fanny Shenk Bucher Snyder's diamond sampler quilt

This pink extravaganza has the inked initials H.W. and the date 1860 on the front and on the back F.S.B in embroidery. 

Inked block near the center
The quilt is often shown with the initials going sideways but
the above photo may be the way it was intended to be viewed.

The quilt has been published several times. Patricia T. Herr's 2000 book Quilting Traditions: Pieces from the Past about the quilts of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania features a large photo on the last page. Fanny's given name was Veronica S. Bucher, born October 7, 1841, died December 24, 1910. She was named Veronica for a grandmother. 

There's a date and Fanny's maiden initials on the back indicating it was made before her marriage (eldest daughter Barbara was born in 1862.) But I spent some time considering that date of 1860. Could it be that early? Or was that date commemorative? Or perhaps cut from another older piece of needlework?

A piece of double pink calico with a bolt label from
M.C.D. Borden & Sons,
(American Printing Company in Fall River, Massachusetts)

Why does the date of 1860 make me so suspicious?
First of all it is so pink.
There were plenty of double pink fabrics around in 1860 but it's the pink attitude.
My observation in dating pink quilts....The more pink in the quilt the closer to 1900. It's just not a look you see in 1860.

Second: there are undated similar quilts from the Lancaster County neighborhood that are estimated to have been made at a later date. Trish Herr showed two quilts by Fanny's daughter Barbara Bucher Snyder Stoner (1862-1922)

Barbara Snyder Stoner's Sampler
Estimated date circa 1880
Also very pink.

And then there is this pink twin to Fanny's diamond sampler by an
unknown maker.

Barbara's square block sampler also has a twin

Sampler stenciled "Salinda W. Rupp", 88" square

Salinda Hoffman Rupp (1844-1920) was also from Lancaster County, buried in the Muddy Creek Cemetery in Denver, Pennsylvania with husband Franklin Rupp. Her sashing strips are a brown print that looks to have always been brown. 


It was first published in Robert Bishop & Patricia Coblentz's 1975 book New Discoveries in American Quilts. Dealers America Hurrah supplied the photo. The date was estimated to be about 1870 and detail pictures of the blocks show Prussian blues and madder prints that are consistent with that date.

As you can imagine these samplers of small intricate blocks would have taken a long time to finish. I'm still a little confused about that 1860 date, but I can't come up with any real evidence to argue against it. 

It is fun, however,  to look at these unusual and very busy samplers. Here are some less ambitious relatives---all look to date from the last quarter of the 19th century.

From Stella Rubin's Inventory

Collection of the Speed Museum in Kentucky


Los Angeles County Museum of Art

The perfect use for leftover blocks.


Ann Parsons Holte shows you how to cut that odd-angled Lancaster County diamond in her book Making the Lancaster Diamond Sampler: A 19th Century Quilt Design by Fanny's Friend.


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sue Narratives

Put a human being in a quilt block and you get a story.
Although what the story is I cannot always say.

Perhaps I read too much into it....

Seeing this one about a series of bad dates.

Sack over the head if we are going to eat dinner down town.

Some other kind of date.


Smoking what?

Somebody asked where I find these. Mostly EBay.

Here's a post from a few years ago.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Hannah Nicholson Grave Quilts




I've been looking for quilts with a bouquet of chintz focusing on a white dahlia and found two albums that are quite a bit alike.

They share the print and many other characteristics.

I love to find twin quilts because they often offer clues to a regional style, an influential teacher or a prolific quiltmaker. There is little mystery to solve, however, with Hannah's albums. Both are attributed to friends of Hannah Nicholson Grave.

The quilt with the lighter striped sashing is in the collection of
the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 
96" x 100". Gift of Mr & Mrs. Robert W. Dobbins, 1991.



The quilt with the darker sashing is in the collection of the 
Smithsonian. #1986.0657.01, 99" x 98", 1843.
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Grave in 1986

The same hand seems to have set the blocks with stripes and red stars.

From the Smithsonian caption:
"Hannah C. Nicholson was born in Indiana on November 19, 1824, to John and Esther Nicholson. On August 14, 1845 Hannah married Howell Grave (1818-1894) in Wayne County, Indiana. 
"Members of the Society of Friends, or Quakers, presented Hannah C. Nicholson with this album quilt made in 1843. She was 19 years old at the time and would shortly marry Howell Grave....The forty-one appliquéd blocks and one inked block on this quilt are inscribed with names, dates, and places. Most of the places inked on the blocks are from the Philadelphia area, with a few from New Jersey (Woodbury, Bordentown, Pleasant Hill, and Salem). Although Hannah was born and lived in Indiana, her father was from New Jersey. 

Quaker Meeting House in New Garden, later Newport and
later Fountain City, Indiana 
"Howell and Hannah farmed in Wayne County and raised four children, three girls (Esther, Emma, and Josephine) and a son (Vernon).
The Graves's land northeast of town
In the early 1860s they moved to Richmond, Indiana, where for twenty years Howell was one of the principal iron merchants in the city. By the mid-1880s he was in the insurance and real estate businesses. Two of their daughters are listed as teachers on the 1870 census, while Vernon continued to farm. After Hannah was widowed in 1894, she lived with her daughter and son-in-law in Wayne, Indiana. She died there on February 13, 1912, and is buried in the Earlham Cemetery Richmond, Indiana."
The Coffin house is a museum dedicated to the antislavery Quakers.

Howell Grave’s parents and grandparents arrived in Indiana in 1816 and he was born there in 1818, the year of statehood. The Nicholsons and the Graves were probably part of the strong anti-slavery community in the New Garden area where Levi and Catherine White Coffin were leaders. Several years ago I designed a star block for New Garden Quakers. See a post here:
http://civilwarquilts.blogspot.com/2014/03/threads-of-memory-3-new-garden-star-for.html

The blocks in the twin album quilts were made for Hannah before her marriage. She may have set them together. I also found another quilt attributed to her hands.

Oak Leaf Quilt by Hannah Nicholson Grave, 
estimated date 1843. Collection of Conner Prairie Museum #91.5, gift of
her great-granddaughter, 1991.


Do click on the details on the side column.

How many others of Hannah's quilts descended in her family?

See a post on the chintz with the white dahlia here:
https://womensworkquilts.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-boyle-sisters-professional.html

Did someone buy a block readymade for the album?

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Spring Quilt Market 2018---Virtual Floating Booth


Well, we forgot to sign up for a booth rental for Quilt Market in Portland but I had an idea. No where in the Quilt Market rules do I see a prohibition on parade floats. So here's the plan for a virtual floating booth that we can ride up and down the aisles throwing out Tootsie Rolls as we float by.


We looked at a lot of vintage photos for ideas. What would get our point across---we sell quilt patterns in our Etsy shop. Sunflower Pattern Co-operative.
https://www.etsy.com/listing/499583790/

Floral concoctions probably not a good choice. 
Flowers would droop by Saturday afternoon.

or Friday night.

Sunflower wheels? Get it? Horse probably a bad choice.

Self-propelled might be better.

Civil War theme? We do sell a lot of Civil War repro patterns.

Here it is! 
Based on a float from the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

We'll be up all night with papier-mâché and trying to keep the machine threaded. 
Look for us in the virtual aisles all weekend.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Index of American Design and Fabric


I have been looking through the amazing watercolors done during the Great Depression by artists hired by the WPA for the Index of American Design. I knew they'd painted quilts...

and many folk arts.

In the quilt references are paintings of cotton prints
like this one by Elbert Mowry.

Mowry was photographed painting the early quilt.

Here is Ellen Duncan's rendering of a wholecloth quilt on a couch
with a detail of the stripe.

By Catherine Fowler

But then I realized the artists were assigned to paint interesting fabric swatches too. I recognized the fabric in Fowler's painting as a fake patchwork print from about 1875.

A  photograph

Miria Lowry's chintz painting was quite familiar

It's on a bookcover that is on my desk.

Catharine Fowler painted a popular pillar print.


See a post here:

Daniel Fletcher painted a wholecloth quilt of this eagle print

Esther Hansen's Mexican War commemorative

like this piece sold at Skinner Auctions

My favorite may be the yellow stripe with a bolt label
that says Fall River Fast Cottons (?)

Here's the home page of the National Gallery of Art with the images online.
Not to overwhelm you---but there are 18,169 images up there from the Index of American Design.