Well today's post is called "tender keepsakes" because there are just some quilting things that touch my heart. Maybe they will touch yours too.
For those of you new to the blog, I like quilting ephemera. Ephemera defined is: 1. Items of collectible memorabilia, typically written or printed ones, that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity. 2. things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time. Today's look is at quilting stencils and templates. I have a whole wooden box of them.
The pieces are worn, thin and floppy from use. The edges have remnants of pencil marks on them. Yet I cherish them and the quilters that used them.
In 1937, Florence La Ganke wrote a whole Nancy Page article on the importance of making one's own stencils:
La Ganke points out that cardboard templates can be used for the patterns to do one's quilting--or use for applique templates. She suggested using light weight carboard and a razor to make the quilting lines or dots.
Of course quilters had already been using this technique for decades. And that brings me to these tender keepsakes. We love our quilting, love our quilting tools and patterns and so did our foremothers. Every piece of ephemera I have in my collection was from a woman who couldn't bear to part with her ideas and patterns. In a sense they tell a story of her thriftiness. The idea that she saved these pieces all her life...possibly even after she could no longer quilt reveals her love for sewing.
I also think that it's significant that the family didn't just throw the paper away. Most of the pieces I have were purchased at auctions or estate sales.Some of the templates/stencils even have small pieces of fabric clipped to them. As if the maker was working on with the project and suddenly got interrupted.
I enjoy seeing what is on the other side of the templates as well. Here is a pattern that used a notepad front page. It's not even cardboard, but undeterred, the quilter used it.
The back of the template also reveals what was in the maker's house. Sometimes it is cardboard boxes but I never did figure out what this box was from...the actual piece seems too big for the back of a cereal box.
Of course some women bought quilting patterns and I occasionally find those as well:
But I much prefer the home made versions that women made.
I often wonder what my kids are going to do with my "paper junk" as they might call it. I suspect the younger generation won't treat these things as reverentially as others before them.
For now, I'm just the keeper of these treasures. Would you feel as sentimental about these items as I do?
Have a safe and happy day!