Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Story Time Stiches: G. Selma Sauer

 Last week, we touched on Ruby McKim.  I wanted to use her as a preamble to this week's illustrator/author, G. Selma Sauer.  Little is known about this particular woman.  In 1931, her book, The Patchy Zoo was published.

As quilters, we can understand the appeal this book would have had to quilting women in the 1930s.  

I don't own the book, it's rare and really expensive when available.  Fortunately I found some photos on Flickr and Pinterest:

It didn't take long for McCall to embrace this book as a quilt pattern:  

And a coverlet:

McCall magazine, November 1932

I have a coverlet which must have been very much loved because it is quite faded now:

So here are the mysteries about G. Selma Sauer:

Birth and death date: Unknown.  She appears to have lived and worked in Long Island.  Her first name was Grace.  She possibly grew-up in Brooklyn.

G. Selma was still alive in 1963 when her beloved brother Julius Sauer passed away.  This obituary let's us know she never married and that perhaps the "Bob" in the book dedication (above) was a nephew since Robert was listed as his son.

Was she inspired by McKim's geometric characters or the Art Deco trend?  It's hard to tell.  In 1925, the Art Deco movement really kicked off after the 1925 International Exposition in Paris. 

In 1927, G. Selma submitted designs to the United States Patent Office and the patent was granted.  That is how I learned her first name was Grace.  Here are copies of her patented designs for "Textile Fabric or Articles of Similar Nature"; the patent listed her residence as NY, NY.

I never found another book written or illustrated by G. Selma Sauer, Grace Sauer or Selma Sauer.  

There's a lot of fascination, particularly by younger quilters for this book.  Barbara Brackman wrote a great blog article (here) that you can read.

Have a safe and happy day!

Special Deliveries

I was talking to my neighbor outside when the Amazon delivery truck drove by.  "Someday," I told her, "our grandkids are going to look back on their childhood and say, 'remember how the Amazon truck brought our stuff?'"

It will be similar to our memories of the milkman.  My husband remembers he had an egg lady and a bread man too.

During the pandemic, our area saw a return of the milk delivery people.

All this is my way of telling you that I spilled coffee on my keyboard on Saturday and I had to await an Amazon delivery of a keyboard to post.

This morning I have to leave early to take my Mom to the doctor so I'll be back tomorrow with a new installment of Story Time Stitches (fortunately already written and ready to post).

Have a safe and happy day!

Friday, August 27, 2021

Flower Friday: August 27, 2021

Special announcement: Wendy Canton Reed who often visits this blog is featured on Barbara Brackman's Material Culture blog today.  Check out the cool quilt she made for the AQSG seminar here as well as the other quilts!  Congratulations Wendy! 


Happy Flower Friday!

Today we have a variety of beauties from your gardens!  Thank you!

Madelon shared her beautiful planters:

Betsy shared her white salvia (first photo) and torenia.  Both self-sowed from last year annuals!  This gives me hope for my coral salvias return next year!

Sue P. shared her portulaca in this pretty bucket and her butterfly bush!

Look at Lorraine's gorgeous hibiscus and below that is an unusual and pretty hosta flower!

From my garden, another perennial gladiola has surfaced:

This year we have more hummingbird moths or hemaris visiting our garden.  My husband was convinced they were baby hummingbirds because of their unusual ability to remain suspended in the air like a hummingbird.  We seem to have more this year than any other and I love watching them.  They are also great pollinators!  This one is to the left of the top flower:

Have a safe and happy day!

Thursday, August 26, 2021


 Last night I was cutting fabric and had a 2001 movie on called American Sweethearts.  It was mostly background noise.  It was kind of silly but I bring it up because Julia Roberts' character had lost a lot of weight.  I think she was on one of those fad diets of the time and gave up all carbs.  

The male romatic lead asks what she dreams about and Julia says:  "Bread."  😁

One of my rediscoveries when I was refolding and reorganizing my treasures was this piece:

It's fairly large--33.5 inches x 38.5 inches.  I think it was a cloth that you put over the dough while it was rising (it's the only thing I can imagine).  The piece is full of fun tiny motifs:

Most of us had had hot bread cloths that covered our warm bread when we served it.  Here's an ad from 1899:

At one point in my life, I fell in love with bread doilies.  I have no idea why or what I thought I would do with them.  Bread doilies where used to adorn bread trays.  This has always puzzled me because you actually didn't see much of the maker's work with the bread on it.  It was part of the "embellish everything" trends of the 19th century that spilled into the 20th.

 Here's an ad from 1936 for a whole crocheted ensemble:

Well I don't know about you, but now I'm hungry for bread and am going to eat breakfast.  

Tomorrow is Flower Friday so please email your photos to me at allentownquilter@gmail.com!

Have a safe and happy day!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Story Time Stitches: Ruby Short McKim

 So we aren't done with our professional illustrators but there is one woman I would like to include in our line-up.  Artist, quilt designer, doll maker, and so much more...

It's Ruby Short McKim!
Most of us know of Ruby Short McKim, she's in the Quilters Hall of Fame (see here).  Many of us had a copy of her book, 101 Patchwork Patterns book, especially those of us who embarked on quilting at an early age.  But did you know that Ruby was an artist as well?  

Ruby Short McKim (1891-1976)

Ruby actually graduated from the New York School of Fine and Applied Art (now Parsons School of Design) in 1912.  She taught art in Missouri and in 1916, submitted her quilt designs to the Kansas City Star; her Quaddy Quilt pattern won and she is considered to be the first designer to have a pattern published regularly in a newspaper.  

She also submitted many patterns to the Kansas City Star when they began to publish a regular feature of free patterns in their newspaper.  I've written a lot about McKim on this blog and did "McKim Mondays" back in 2016 (you can enter McKim in the search area of the blog and see how diverse her patterns were).

But Ruby was an artist as well and I wanted to acknowledge THAT today.  You can see a piece of her art here and also on the McKim studios website here.  She was an editor at Child Life magazine and was also the artcraft editor for Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  Her work eventually shifted to doll making and collecting but she was nothing less than the top quilt designer in the 1920s and 1930s.  

So Ruby may not technically fit into our criteria of illustrator published in a magazine/book who had work that was featured on a quilt.  But I think that is only because Ruby chose to design quilts so early in her career.  Also her beginning patterns featured these geometric figures that were easy for school children to embroider:

Our next installment of Story Time Stitches reminds me of McKim's early designs and I often wonder if McKim's work inspired the illustrator.  More on that next week!

McKim's ability to design in so many different areas was really breathtaking.  Here are some of the quilts in my collection that are her designs:

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Tuesday's This and That: August 24, 2021

 First of all, thanks to Sue for sharing that wonderful story about the inmates who are now quilting.  Everyone loved that story Sue!

Thank you!

How are you all doing?  No seriously.  How are you making out in the pandemic and the weather challenges?  Around here, more and more employers and organizations have decided to remain virtual.  Please wear your mask (even if your vaccinated) and stay safe!

Another question--do you have a favorite pattern for a big floral print?  I'm just checking around and mulling a new to me fabric that I love.  I bought this new fabric from Connecting Threads:

I loved this fabric because it reminded me of an illustration by Margaret Tarrant that I love:

I'll make a little wall hanging for me but I bought enough yardage to work on a quilt.  I'm collecting ideas right now.  Sue gave me a few when she encouraged me to buy the fabric but I'm still unsure.  I won't make a decision on this for a few weeks when it's cooler.

On the vintage stuff front.  Today I'm featuring baby bibs.  I'm not keeping them.  Some are going to Beth for her many grandbabies to use, some I'll sell at a later date.  Some older ones:

Some 20th century ones:

I've seen this pattern in woman's magazines.  There was also a bunny, dog and bear bib pattern.  The one above is the cat.

Doll bib that I think  a child might have made.  I'm going to keep this one.  Helena used to use it on her dolls and was always careful with it because she knew it was fragile.

Have a safe and happy day!