Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Snail's Trail

The Ladies Art Company was established in the latter part of the 19th century.  This company is credited for the nomenclature of many early quilt patterns.  The published catalogs and ladies could send away for the patterns listed.  We still use many of the names the company (or LAC) used to denote patterns.  In 1990, this company was discussed in Uncoverings, a yearly publication by the American Quilt Study Group.  You can order the book here. I have a number of the catalogs from the early 20th century in my collection:

"The Snail's Trail" pattern isn't the typical "Snail Trail" you might know.  Here is a table runner I made for my son and daughter-in-law a few years ago--using the pattern that most frequently comes to mind:
The quilt patterns in the LAC catalog were numbered.  Historians credit the number of the quilt pattern to the date the catalog was published.  Quilt patterns 273-400 are believed to have been published in the 1897 catalog.  In this post, I am referring to the pattern published in the early LAC catalog, # 356, "The Snail's Trail."  

I know you are going to ask me if this appliqued or pieced.  I have two quilts in this pattern and both are pieced.  This may have been a somewhat popular quilt in our area.  I have seen a few come up for auction.  My older quilt appears to be from the latter part of the 1800s or early 1900s:

I love the border on this piece:

The second one I own is actually a tied comfort and I always show this piece in my program about embroidered quilts.   I think this one is from the early 20th century.  I fell in love with it because for whatever reason, it reminds me of an old friend's Arts and Crafts style home.  

I thought about this quilt pattern today because I am not seeing snail/slug activity in my garden these days.  Snails and slugs thrive in moist conditions and it's been an unusually dry April in Eastern Pennsylvania.  This is particularly problematic north of us in the Poconos Mountains where a terrible forest fire has consumed over 8,000 acres of land and continues to rage (you can read about it here).  We continue to pray for our friends and family in the north and hope we get the much needed rain that has been predicted for Thursday and Friday.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Along the Garden Path: Bleeding Hearts

The bleeding hearts are blooming in my garden, a sure sign of spring!  Perhaps this quilter was as enthused about this flower as I am:

I don't think that her rendering came from an embroidery transfer--at least I've never found a similar pattern.  I've searched through my Victorian embroidery transfer catalogs and haven't been able to find one transfer available featuring this flower.  I believe the white bleeding hearts were once considered a symbol of purity and innocence.

Carrie Hall and Rose Kretsinger wrote The Romance of The Patchwork Quilt in America in 1935 and had a bleeding heart rendition that was pieced:

 In the twentieth century, McKim had a rendition too.  This quilter did hers in the pink variety:

The pink/red variety often depicted passionate love.  Sharon and Bill from have a great handkerchief on their website (here) that depicts that aspect, note the bleeding hearts around the couple:

Finally, I grew up hearing and reading all sorts of legends that explained origins of flowers and nature.  I still find tales of this sort enchanting, so I thought I would share a link to the "Legend of the Bleeding Heart".  By the way, I've read this story set in a variety of cultures, but this post is prettiest because it shows the parts of the flower.  You can find it HERE.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sewing as Therapy

I think that most of the people who read this blog, sew when they are feeling blue.  They also sew when they are happy, peaceful, or anxious.  I am often caring for family members that are ill and I've had to learn to be flexible about my personal goals.  I may have been eager to work on writing, research, and blogging this year but life interrupts and goals have to change.  
 I'm fortunate to have a pretty sewing room in the attic.  My brother is a contractor and he designed and wall papered my sanctuary.  So this year, I've decided that this is my year to sew, use up as much fabric as possible, and finish UFOs.  At least one thing is being accomplished!  Here are some lap quilts I completed for friends/family this year.  I'm keeping things simple since I have enough stress in my life:


Donation quilts completed:

Some smalls were competed:

And a few tops are ready for Terri Trotter, my long-arm quilter.  
All this is my way of saying I've been busy with ill family members and although I hope to keep up better with the blog, I'm not sure how life will unfold in the coming months.  Keep sewing and enjoy the beautiful Spring!  

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Exhibit at Sigal Museum in Easton PA

Just found a post on Facebook that the Sigal Museum is currently exhibiting quilts:

The Sigal Museum is very quilt friendly and Easton is a wonderful city to explore.  The Sigal Museum is located at 342 Northampton Street, Easton PA.  

Details from the Sigal website:

The Northampton County Historical & Genealogical Society (NCHGS) has given the members of the Courthouse Quilters their 2016 challenge: Create authentic artisan quilts inspired by the Society’s own rich collection of quilts! This textile challenge and exhibition happily celebrates the patchwork tradition of Northampton County.
Courthouse Quilters and Patchwork Tradition exhibition will cover the history of quilting by hand and machine with a hands-on interactive opportunity for visitors, unique programming, and one-of-a-kind quilts. The Courthouse Quilters’ creations utilize a variety styles like applique and spider web designs from popular Victorian crazy quilts.
From April 16-August 1, 2016, these colorful one-of-a-kind Courthouse Quilts, in conjunction with NCHGS’ unique collection of quilts, will be on display exclusively at the Sigal Museum in Historic Downtown Easton.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Steel City Fiber Fest

Steel City Fiber Fest The North East’s premier showcase for the fiber arts and industry. All facets of fiber artistry and industry will be represented. Are you active in the fiber arts in any way? We would love to see you at the fest. Indie dyers of fiber, fabric, and yarns; Farm raised fiber (and your beasties); Handcrafters, be it knitters crotcheters, weavers, spinners, quilters.! April 15 – 17, 2016 Merchants Square Mall, Allentown PA

Monday, April 4, 2016

McKim Monday

I don't have a full quilt of McKim's "Nursery Rhyme Quilt"  but I do have a few blocks that I found a few years ago.  One of these days, I'll actually embroider one of these but I have so many projects in the works, I'm not sure when I'll get to it.

 The maker of these used variegated thread and below are a few close-ups of the blocks.

One of my favorite websites belongs to Martha at "Q is for Quilter."  She has focused on this pattern very nicely and has a number of posts about it.  You can visit her blog post here.
Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Adventures in Quilt Collecting...

I've had many adventures during my brief stint as a quilt collector.  This is what I found one day in Allentown at a second hand shop.  It seemed like a fairly normal tied comfort of feedsacks...
I especially liked the big pieces with the sledding dogs:

I knew there was something unusual inside of it so I took a chance.  I'm not sure if this happens in other parts of the country but I've been lucky to find at least two pieces that had a different style of batting in it:  a quilt!  In the northeast, I've seen a number of these kinds of quilts at study group and I'm always excited to unwrap the outside carefully (if possible).
I untied the piece and found...  

A tumbler quilt!  How wonderful!  It did need a little work, the quilter had cut the binding off to use it in the quilt.  An easy enough fix and then I realized...

It was a two sided quilt!!!  A nice log cabin on the other side. I've passed this piece on to my friend Beth now but we may use it later in a program.  

This weekend might hold some surprises as well.  We've been experiencing an unusually warm and early Spring but forecasters are suggesting we may get some snow and frigid temperatures.  Not yet time to put away the snow shovels and salt, I fear.  But it is a good time to thread up because...

Have a wonderful quilty weekend!