Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Cooling Off: Electric Fans

 Happy Tuesday!

It's hard to believe that it is already the last day of May!  Here in eastern Pennsylvania, we need no reminding that the summer is almost upon us.  Yesterday and through the rest of the week, it will be hot and humid.  The weather isn't great for working in the garden but it does mean that sewing is more the focus.

We are all grateful we have air conditioning.  It's important to be thankful for the not-so-little things in life.  If you are in my age group, you can remember when our homes didn't all have air conditioners.  

Fans were the means of keeping a home cool and they were placed strategically throughout the house.  The attic (where we slept at my Nana's house) had window fans that pushed air from one side of the house to the other.  A fan was at the top of the basement to suck the cool air into the main floor and other fans kept the house tolerable.

Often when we came into the house to cool off, we sat in front of the fan and then yelled into the fan and laughed at how our voice was altered by the rotating blades.

Sweltering nights meant no bedtime at all.  We all sat outside on the front porch (along with the other neighbors) until the wee hours of the morning.

It shouldn't surprise us that quilters honored the cooling of the fans with a quilt pattern.  For women working at home, fans provided some comfort during the chores of the day.  Here's an Electric Fan pattern from the Kansas City Star:

Another pattern was "Letha's Electric Fan":

Here's a good photo of the quilt block.

Wishing you the best day!  Stay cool!

Monday, May 30, 2022

Happy Memorial Day!

 Wishing you a safe and happy Memorial Day!

Post World War I Poppy Coverlet

Post Civil War Crazy Quilt with Decorative Ribbons:

Blocks from redwork crib quilt post or during World War I:

"Remember Me" was a common slogan during World War I.
It's a good sentiment as we reflect on those who gave their lives to protect our freedom.

World War I handkerchief

World War I apron

An very good read can be found at this site.  It talks about the history of Memorial Day and includes some touching stories.

Be safe and well.

1937 Poster

Friday, May 27, 2022

Flower Friday: May 27, 2022

 Happy Flower Friday!

Nann sent photos of a plant I never had heard of!
It's called Wood Betony or Canadian Lousewort.  As Nann pointed out, Wood Betony is a much prettier name 

With a bumblebee!

Thank you Nann!


Betsy's garden is really going gangbusters!

The foxgloves are at their peak in her garden!

Astrantia (pink) and cordyalis (yellow) are blooming!

A gift from one of Betsy's friends is this lily that looks more like an orchid!  So gorgeous!

An overview of Betsy's garden and the lovely Zephrine Drouhun Rose that Betsy says is quite fragrant!

Thanks for letting us visit your garden Betsy!

Have a safe and happy weekend friends!

Thursday, May 26, 2022



Over at "With Strings Attached" Nann has posted some vintage notions she posted.  Of course that got me thinking about rickrack!   You can see the post here.  I never knew about the Wrights coupons that she wrote about.

Many of my local sunbonnet quilts feature dresses that are embellished with rickrack.  
There's a lot you can do with rickrack and from time to time I include it in a doll quilt or wallhanging.  Probably one of my favorite things I've seen done with rickrack is this that I found on pinterest:

I looked up the history of Rickrack and found it was invented in the mid 1800s but wasn't called "rickrack" until 1880.  A really good blog post about rickrack history is here.

A popular border from the 1930s: 

If you have anything to share for Flower Friday, please email me at allentownquilter@gmail.com!

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Doll Quilt Project

During my entire childhood, this doll was in a box on a shelf in my closet.  I was never to touch or play with this doll because she was "too good".  There were other dolls in boxes on that shelf but I never yearned to play or touch any of them as much as this one.  She is so pretty and has original necklace, socks, and shoes.  She has a crier (a box that makes noise) in her cloth body that still works.  She never had a name.

I now keep her in my office.  She's a reminder to me to not wait to use--or love--the " too good things" in life.  Yesterday I moved her into the sewing room.  I'm making doll quilts and I'm using her as my test baby.

Yesterday I sewed instead of gardening (I needed a knee and lower back break).  I finished one of my simple quilt tops yesterday. 

I'm making two but looked around for my next project as well.  I have a box of 2.5 in squares, perfect for doll quilts.  I knew just who to call.  Hughie and Paula are technically my uncle and aunt but we grew up together more as siblings.  They are the royal grandparents in the family.  I think they have 8 or 9 grandkids and most of them are girls under the age of 8 years old.

"Any chance your granddaughters might want some doll quilts?"  I asked Paula.  We went through the list of girls all who could benefit from a doll quilt.  

"Would you mind making one or two for my house?"  Paula asked,  "I have a doll crib and carriage the girls use here and they are always using my tea-towels for blankets."

I told Paula that tea-towels are completely unacceptable when you have a quiltmaker in the family.  We both laughed and now I have a new project on my list.  

The girls have different dolls and none are American Girl dolls.  I'm not sure if I should go 20 x 24 inches or 18 x 24 inches.  I'm thinking of going with the larger size but I may make some in a variety of sizes to fit the assortment of doll babies.  I'll put some together today and used the unnamed doll to test the sizes.

As for the doll, I am unsure about her lineage.  My Nana Elsie gave her to me when I was very young and  my mom doesn't remember a thing about her.   Last night while the tv was on, I looked through doll sites and suspect that she is a Horsman composition doll from the 1930s.  

From dollreference.com
Similar face and my doll has the same kind of bobby pins in her hair.  The Horsman Doll Factory moved from Trenton NJ to South Carolina in 1960, about the time that I received the doll.

My doll's arms show some crazing which I learned happens to composition doll.

She should be named something...any suggestions?  Did you have toys that you weren't allowed to touch when you were a kid?

Have a safe and happy day!

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Tuesday's This and That: May 24, 2022

  Sue emailed me yesterday.  She thought I was in the garden (yup), she was at the dentist but also...she referred to this quilt from Ebay (it sold yesterday).  It was a WW 2 signature quilt made for friendship or fundraising. The original listing is here and you can still study it.  It was from Bay City, MI:

Very intersting layout!

I love this striped border.  Simple but makes an impact!


Sharing two article you might enjoy!

  The article is called "How Quilting is Getting Me Through the Pandemic."  You can read it here.  I love the sentence referring to quilts: "They mark the most human of moments."
The other article is "Every Quilt Tells A Story--From Hardship to Hope" and features a quilt exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts.  Enjoy the photos of the quilts and read it here!


Have a safe and happy day!

Monday, May 23, 2022

Autumn Leaves: Canadian Style?

 Hello and hope you had a wonderful weekend!  

Happy Holidays to our friends in Canada!

It may seem strange to be posting about Autumn Leaves in Mid-Spring but we had an oppressively hot weekend so I didn't garden but refolded some of my quilts.  One of them was this lovely which appears to be a variation of Autumn Leaves popular in the 1930s:

I've always thought this particular pattern had a strange name because the colors of the leaves are certainly not autumnal.  But yesterday I studied this quilt more carefully than I had in the past and particularly the centerpiece of the medallion:

The centerpiece doesn't match any of the Autumn Leaves images I know of for the pattern.  The quilt was purchased in Canada and I am now wondering if this was just a different version of the pattern that a Canadian designer created.

The original pattern that I am familiar with became famous after the 1933 Century of Progress Fair in Chicago.  Sears had sponsored a quilt contest and later published a book featuring some of the award winning patterns.

Notice the difference in the arrangement of the center piece:

The fabrics in my quilt are more from the 1940s than the 1930s. 

I never thought much of this since patterns are often saved or passed along but now I am wondering if there was a similar pattern made in Canada or did the maker simply decide that she wanted a bouquet rather than trailing vines?  Actually, and this is an addendum to my original post, I found an Anne Orr pattern that resembled mine:

The maker of my quilt used the top part of the design and not the mirrored image upside down.  This pattern is from 1932.  My maker chose to put a prairie point edging on the quilt (not pictured, sorry).

There were many "Autumn Leaves" style quilts.  In 1936, another was published by Needlecraft Publishing and was marketed in 1936.  It has the same center medallion as the Sears version but had two borders of the trailing vines.

Today in Canada Day, it is "Victoria Day" or "Patriots' Day" depending on what part of Canada you live in.  Victoria Day celebrates Queen Victoria.  Patriot's Day is celebrated in Quebec to commemorate the rebellion of 1837 and 1838 when the Canadians in the previous French territory rebelled against the British (and eventually were suppressed).   I don't know about the rest of Canada, but in Quebec were my husband has been doing a lot of work, it is a big holiday.  

Wishing you all a day of fun and festivities no matter what you are celebrating!

Friday, May 20, 2022

Flower Friday: May 20, 2022

 Happy Flower Friday!

Mary, Mary quite contrary...illustration by Jessie Wilcox Smith

Alice is refolding her quilts and sent this wonderful embroidered patch of Mary, Mary.  Doesn't it make you just want to go out to the garden?

Libby sent photos early in the week of bouquets she had made from her garden:

Peonies and Rhododendrons

Assorted irises!


So grateful Sue P. sent this photo to us!  It's a flower called Star of Bethlehem.  It was a stroke of luck.   Drew had just texted me a photo of this flower and wondered what it was (it just appeared in his garden this year).

Lunaria or money plant or honesty plant:



Irises!  The first one is one Sue's favorites:

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Gardening Week

 I spent the whole week in the garden.  The weather was perfect!

The air was full of the scent of Lilies of the Valley and happily, the tree peony and one of the rhododendron's is blooming:

Gardening is one of the most therapeutic ways to spend time.  The results are instantaneous--you weed a bed and voila, instantly looks better!  Yesterday the nice young man next door spread the mulch throughout the front yard and that always makes the garden look better.  As an added bonus, we got some rain last night!

I spent the better part of the week filling in parts of the front garden with plants I already had.  I divided, transplanted and rearranged things.  I don't have to tell you that the price of EVERYTHING has gone through the roof, including plants and mulch.  Actually I like the results and now the front yard is entirely perennials.

Last night I was sitting on the back porch talking to my husband on the phone when I spied the first hummingbird visit our garden!  This morning, the rain seems to have helped everything and the first rose is now showing on the arbor:

What is happening in your garden?  If you want to share what is new with your garden, email me at allentownquilter@gmail.com!

Have a safe and happy day!