Thursday, May 25, 2017

Two Golden Ages of Appliqué—An Exhibit Curated by Debby Cooney

As Teri mentioned last week, we scheduled one last road trip before I (Kara) head to Germany. Our primary goal, aside from visiting a few wineries and quilt shops, was to see Debby Cooney's exhibit, "Two Golden Ages of Appliqué: 1840-1870 and 1920-1940," at the Virginia Quilt Museum.  The exhibit did not disappoint! Unfortunately, the time frame for the exhibit is over, but if you missed it, then this post is for you.

Debby Cooney is a quilt historian who has researched and collected appliqué quilts and has graciously shared her collection, along with quilts from a few other collectors, with the museum. The art of appliqué has experienced a recent re-birth, and the quilts from Debby's collection tell the story of appliqué as an art form from the past. Many of us who are passionate about appliqué have been inspired by these quilts and many others.  

We tried to take as many pictures as possible, and while the lighting was somewhat dimmed for the sake of the quilts, I hope you will be as inspired by these appliquéd beauties from the past as we were. Many thanks to Debby for permitting us to share her collection with you! (Please note, per the museum's websitePermission to copy any of the quilt designs or patterns seen on exhibit must be obtained by the original designer or copyright owner.)

One of the sights that greeted us as we stepped into the exhibit rooms

Wholecloth Chintz Quilt
ca. 1830s
61" x 83"

Palampore Panel Quilt
ca. 1830s
70" x 91"
Provenance: York County, Pennsylvania

Detail: Palampore Panel Quilt

Detail: Jane Weakley Leche Quilt

Jane Weakley Leche Quilt
ca. 1825
108" x 109"
Provenance: Baltimore, Maryland

Framed Star Quilt
ca. 1820s
60" x 60"
Provenance: Probably Frederick or Washington County, Maryland

Reproduction Framed Eagle Quilt
ca. 2006
32" x 40.5"
Provenance: Bobbi Finley

Detail: Reproduction Framed Eagle Quilt

Calico and Chintz Block
ca. 1830s-1840s
Provenance: Unknown
Collection of Polly Mello

Framed Center Diamond
ca. 1835-1850
Provenance: members of the Holmes family, Rockbridge County, Virginia

Pieced and Appliquéd Quilt
ca. 1840s
Provenance: Frederick County, Maryland

Leaf Detail

Most of these blocks have blue corner squares,
but a few don't. Did they run out of fabric, or was it planned?

Chintz Cradle Quilt
ca. 1830s
34" x 42"
Provenance: probably Baltimore, Maryland

Detail: Chintz Cradle Quilt
Reverse appliquéd leaves

Mathematical Star Quilt
ca. 1850s
94" x 94"
Provenance: Eastern Shore of Maryland

Detail: Mathematical Star Quilt
Detail: Mathematical Star Quilt
Apparently, these are typical colors found in

Appliqué Nine-Block Quilt
ca. 1850s
84" x 84"
Provenance: Unknown, possibly Pennsylvania

Detail: Appliqué Nine-Block Quilt

Baltimore Appliqué Quilt
ca. 1850s
96" x 97"
Provenance: members of the Hayden Family, Baltimore, Maryland

Detail: Baltimore Album Quilt

Detail: Baltimore Album Quilt

Appliqué Cradle Quilt
ca. 1850s
43" x 45"
Provenance: possibly Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
From the collection of Polly Mello

Appliqué Pillowcase
ca. 1850s
18" x 30"
Provenance: possibly Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Appliqué Cradle Quilt
ca. 1850s
39" x 40"
Provenance: probably Washington County, Maryland

Four-Block Appliqué Quilt
ca. 1850s
96" x 97"
Provenance: probably Pennsylvania

Quilting detail

Such vivid colors after all these years!

Appliqué Cradle Quilt
ca. 1850s
43" x 44"
Provenance: Chambersburg area, Franklin County, Pennsylvania
The name of this pattern is an "Apple Pie Ridge Star."

Six-Block Appliqué Quilt
ca. 1850
53" x 81"
Provenance: Collected in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
From the collection of Pat and Arlan Christ

The green feather-like motif is used here to represent the Pennsylvania-German symbol for good luck.

All the dots give the quilt a certain charm.

Appliqué Album Quilt
ca. 1860s
73" x 88"
Provenance: Unknown

Appliqué Four-block Quilt
ca. 1860s
83" x 90"
Provenance: Southeastern Pennsylvania 

This Princess Feather pattern would give some good practice at corners and inner curves!

All of the previous quilts fall into the first Golden Age of Appliqué, from 1840-1870. These next quilts come from the second, 1920-1940. It is interesting to see the change in fabrics used for these quilts.

Nine-block Appliqué Quilt
ca. 1920s
Provenance: Franklin County, Pennsylvania

This flowering cactus is done in bright Pennsylvania "Dutch" colors.

Four-block Appliqué Quilt
ca. 1930s
88" x 95"
Provenance: Southeastern Pennsylvania

I just love the polka-dot fabric for the center flower!

Orchid Wreath Appliqué Quilt
ca. 1930s
88" x 88"
Provenance: probably Emporia, Kansas
Original pattern by Rose Kretsinger

The orange and yellow butterflies add a beautiful
pop of color.

Nine-block Appliqué Quilt
ca. 1933
86" x 86"
Provenance: Ettie Brunhaus Schulz
Oak Park, Illinois
Original pattern by Marie D. Webster

Appliqué is my first love, and this exhibit exceeded my expectations in so many ways. It was so inspiring to view all these quilts in person, and studying them up close was a treat. Are you inspired by quilts from the past? If so, please let us know; as we'd love to hear about them! If you would like to read about our other museum adventures, you can click on the links below. Next week, we will share another fabulous exhibit that was in the VQM last fall. Hope you'll join us!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Crazy Quilts at the Virginia Quilt Museum

Last week, Kara and I (Teri) decided that we needed to go on one last road trip before her departure to Germany. It will surely not be our last, but we will doubtfully get much travel in before she leaves the country. Our destination was Harrisonburg, Virginia. I had told her how much I enjoyed my visit to the Virginia Quilt Museum (VQM) in the fall, and we wanted to see Debby Cooney's exhibit on appliqué (more to come on that next week), so that seemed like a good place to start. We planned to check out a few fabric shops, antique shops, and wineries, as well.

Our first stop was the museum, which is housed in the historic Warren-Sipe House on South Main Street. The house is a superb environment to display these old quilts: the floor, fireplaces, and even the radiators possess inspiration for quilt and embroidery designs!


An amazing collection of antique sewing machines was displayed on the upper level, and in the stairway heading to the lower level, a framed variety of vintage quilting templates could be viewed. Even the bathroom walls were bedecked with old needle craft magazine covers. (Interestingly, both Kara and I took a photo of the framed periodical covers on the bathroom walls . . . maybe we think TOO much alike!)


One of the exhibits displayed on the upper level was Treasures From the Vault: Wool for Winter, which included a few crazy quilts. In the fall, I saw Treasures From the Vault: Crazy Quilts. Since we have written about and taught some crazy quilting classes, I thought it might be fun to do a photo album for you, sharing some of the lovely crazy quilts among the VQM's collection—some from each of my visits. Hope you enjoy this truly exquisite work!

Rail Fence Crazy Quilt, 1934, from Harrisonburg, VA;
made by Myrta Richey Kennedy for Alvin Kennedy

Between each rail fence block, Myrta did the cretan stitch over the seam.
She uses a variety of materials to creatively stitch the seams between the "rails."

Above, woven tape is ruched. Below left, it is folded and stitched down in a zig zag fashion.


Here, she used rick rack to create a unique seam stitch. 

Kerlin Miller Wool Crazy Quilt, c. 1890, from Bridgewater, Shenandoah Valley, VA;
made by Emma Rebecca Kerlin (1863-1940) 


Several different sets of initials are embroidered on blocks, though it is stated to have been made by
Emma Rebecca Kerlin (Miller?). Perhaps she had assistance from family members, or maybe she included
initials of family members as a tribute. Both wool and pearl cotton threads are used for embellishment. 

Page Crazy Quilt, c. 1900, from Staunton, VA;
made by Rosa Virginia Glenn Page and several women in her family


Chenille thread is used on the flowers, above left, and many knots in the goldenrod, above right, achieve a dimensional look. Below, stitchers embroidered their initials to mark their participation. 



I would guess that daisies must have been one of Rosa's favorite blooms, as they are found in a number of blocks.

Dellinger Folk Art Crazy Quilt, made by Molly E. Dellinger Grabill
"Commenced Dec. 1, 1886
Finished March 30, 1887"

Molly's initials—and a self-portrait, perhaps?

Loving the storybook elements in this quilt!

Withers Crazy Quilt Top,  c. 1880, from Augusta County, VA; maker unknown

Fabrics include silk and velvet, and the embroidery is elaborate.

Crazy Quilt, dated 1891, from Rockingham County, VA; made by Theresa Beery Shank 

Ribbon daisies

Osberger Family Quilt, c. 1880; quiltmaker unknown; quilt inherited by Una Osberger Ammerman

Lots of silks were used in this beautifully created quilt.

Many detailed motifs are stitched and embellished with metallic, silk, and cotton threads.

Several panels were hanging in a window during my October visit, making it difficult to photograph them, but below are a few close-up images of some of the blocks. Once again, there is some spectacular embroidery in these examples. Several seasons are stitched, with flowers, leaves, birds, and butterflies. Oh, and colored rings.

This stunning chair with its crazy quilted seat cushion was on the main floor—
hopefully being admired, rather than hosting sitters!

After our museum visit, we had lunch and stopped by the jewelry store to see if they had any different quilts hanging. (To read about my trip there in October, read Vintage Virginia Stitches.) We loved this pieced block with hand appliquéd handles and machine top-stitched stems. The greens had faded to tan and brown.


The day was still young enough to go through two antique malls, one of which housed a fabric store—what a perfect combination! We had just enough time to stop by a couple of wineries before the tasting rooms closed. 

A sweet display of toy sewing machines...

...and some vintage threads (that weren't very strong anymore.)

Beautiful gardens at the White Oak Lavender Farm 

The Purple Wolf Tasting Room

After checking into our hotel and getting some dinner, we got into our comfy clothes and opened a bottle of wine that we'd bought. Our friend, Barb, called us, and we enjoyed a virtual (video) visit with her, chatting and laughing for over an hour. After a good night's sleep, we were ready to head back to Maryland, stopping at a few fabric stores and antique shops along the way. Who knows when our next road trip will be? Perhaps next year to Williamsburg for the Academy of Appliqué, or maybe even in Germany! Either way, we hope to enjoy many more road trips in our future.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be sharing two of the visiting exhibits from the Virginia Quilt Museum. If you haven't the opportunity to visit the museum, this will be your chance to see some amazing appliqué and quilts with some tales to tell!

Some of Our Posts About Crazy Quilting
Crazy for Crazy Quilts
Making Little Red Crazy
American Crazy Quilt Exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art
Back to the BMA: More Crazy Quilts
Crazy Quilting—Start to Finish
Crazy Quilting—Start to Finish; Session One: Constructing the Blocks
Crazy Quilts, Session 2: Marking and Stitching Motifs
Crazy Quilts, Session 3: Ribbon Fun
Crazy Quilts, Session 4 and 5: Progress
The Crazy Quilt Wrap-Up