Monday, June 29, 2009

"Colonial History" Quilt ~ Ruby McKim

June 29, 2009
copyright, The Quilt Complex, 2009

American "History" in Old Quilts

In December of 1926, some newspapers began printing a series of redwork patterns designed by Ruby McKim. (The patterns were accompanied by text ~ someone's version of American "Colonial" history.)

Over a period of 24 weeks, women could trace these "themed" patterns, week-by-week, onto their own fabric and hand embroider the images, usually in red on white.

In 1927, "R H R" finished, initialed and dated her version of McKim's "Colonial History" quilt. (Right side, above photo)

The vertical "set," and the quilting designs (executed in blue thread) in this version are really unusual ~ and perhaps unique.

It is certainly the most successful presentation of McKim's Colonial History blocks we have ever seen!

To see more images of this quilt:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thinking About Trapunto (Part Two)

June 25, 2009
copyright The Quilt Complex, 2009

Trapunto in OLD Quilts
Part 2

My last blog featured two mid-19th century quilts with two different styles of trapunto .

Below are two more examples of early quilts, made by women who used trapunto in yet more ways!

"Single Lily" ~ circa 1850
A "sampler" of trapunto designs ~ a different one in each white block

Boutis ~ Provence, France ~ circa 1850

A wholecloth quilt in which the trapunto IS the design of the quilt.

To see more photos of the Boutis:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thinking about Trapunto

Align Center

June 22, 2009 ~
copyright The Quilt Complex, 2009

Trapunto in OLD Quilts
Part One

We have recently gotten several early quilts featuring "
trapunto" ~ a technique in which the quilting design is outlined with running stitches and then padded from the underside to achieve a raised effect.

It got me to thinking about the various ways quilt makers incorporated this stuffing technique into their designs.

Styles vary, about as widely as they do in all other aspects of quilt making. (DUH!)

Check out the two terrific variations below.
next blog entry will have two more examples ~ different styles!

"Pots of Tulips" ~ circa 1860

This quiltmaker used "trapunto" feathers to separate and border her applique designs
(More photos of this quilt: )

"Currants and Coxcombs" ~ circa 1860

Here, the trapunto ALMOST mimics the applique design
(More photos of this quilt: )

Two more terrific examples, with different trapunto styles coming in my next entry!

copyright The Quilt Complex, 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sandra Mitchell ~ Queen of "Cheddar"

June 17, 2009
copyright ... The Quilt Complex ... 2009

Sandra Mitchell was hard to miss… and hard to forget…

A legendary quilt dealer and collector, Sandy died in 2000 at the age of 58. She left some really, really wonderful antique quilts.

One of her loves was the color orange, recently re-christened “cheddar.” It’s a color we, too think is great.

We have several "cheddar" quilts from Sandra’s collection now in our own inventory.

Here are photos of a few:

copyright ... The Quilt Complex ... 2009

Unknown Design, circa 1880

Star in Stars (variant), circa 1880

Variable Stars in Bars, circa 1870

In volume 4 (of a total of 5) of the also legendary publications, "The Quilt Digest," the late Michael Kile wrote a very interesting portrait of Sandra called “The Collector: On the Road.”

Kile quotes her: "I buy quilts I like. Graphics and strong rich colors are my true loves, and I like unusual designs or fine rendition of classic patterns."

More photos of some of Sandy's favorite quilts appear in Quilt Digest 4 (1986). The book is now out of print but is sometimes available, used... We have few copies for sale.

Friday, June 12, 2009

World's Oldest (?) ...and Definitely CUTEST ... Quilt Collectors!

Early May, 2009 . . .

I visit my parents, now 97 and nearly-95, every month ... each time for about a week.

What a gift! Oh, my...

My parents have been collecting antique quilts for about 40 years. They
may be the oldest living collectors of antique quilts ~ they are, FOR SURE, the Cutest!

Earlier this month, I pulled out some of their quilts, and asked them to let me take some photos.

Merry and Albert Silber of Southfield, Michigan said,


With a very full heart, I share with you my folks, and some of their antique quilt treasures.

My Dad, Al Silber, 97, with a crib quilt he gave
to Mom for her birthday a couple of years ago.

Below: Mom, with that quilt... and her glasses!

Merry Silber sitting amongst a few of her many
19th century indigo and white quilts.

Blue and Whites are probably her "favorites," but she has a
great eye for some others:

When I brought her the 1870s "Album Patch" quilt (right),
and put it on her lap. she could not believe how
many pieces there were.

She said she had forgotten just how TINY they were!

I'm going again for Mom's 95th Birthday in early July.

I'll take more photos of them and their quilts then.

Stay tuned if you like this thread!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quilts Get Sold ~and BEAUTIFULLY Installed!

June 11, 2009

We have sold lots of antique quilts in our 40 some years.

A good deal of the time, we know the buyer ~ we are
fortunate to have lots of repeat customers whom we
have gotten to know.

SOMETIMES, we get really lucky and get to SEE
where quilts we have sold GO...

Check out what happened to the quilt that was featured
in the June, 2009 issue of Architectural Digest!

The customer who bought it installed it right away in
his very modern home, and was kind enough to send
us some photos.

Didn't they do a great job???