Thursday, July 30, 2009

"...barely contained vibrations..."

Wanna see why I love Joe Cunningham?

I am getting ready to list this fabulous circa 1870s silk quilt for sale on our website .... and I found myself lost for words.

"Modern"? No. "Graphic"? Indeed, but overused. "Elegant"? Well, yes, but so much more...

Skip to below the photos for Joe's inimitable "take" on this one!

Joe writes:

"Asymmetrical Like A Fox"

Quilters of the past had an entirely different relationship to symmetry than modern quilters. In this era has grown the idea that a quilt which is done "right" is done in a way so that elements are more or less symmetrical. This quilter was indifferent to that idea.

She treated some of the blocks as if they were single 16-patch units and some as if they were made of four separate four-patch units. In two of the blocks she squirts a line of color across the middle.

The seemingly airbrushed stripe of the background fabric is carefully cut to go always in the same direction, except for the two triangles in the upper left, which, by being flipped the other way, disrupt the diagonal flow. Cover them up and you see a restful, pleasant design. Uncover to see barely contained vibrations.

For more from and about Joe Cunningham:

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thinking About Curved Seams

Ruminating on ... Curved Seams...
copyright, The Quilt Complex, 2009

Why are there so many more (antique) pieced quilts made with straight seams than made with curved seams?

Is the answer the obvious one ~ that straight seams are simply much easier to execute?

Are curved seams that much more difficult to piece?

There are a few designs incorporating curved seams that are fairly common.

Two of those popular designs are shown above: The red and white is "Drunkard's Path" (circa 1910), and the one just above is a detail of a circa 1930's "Double Wedding Ring."

Nonetheless, we see FAR fewer curved seam quilts in the 19th and early 20th centuries than we see straight seams.

Below are some more examples of curved seams pieced quilts.

These with more complex designs than the two above; below we see curved seams combined with points, sometimes elongated points.

Detail, "Caesar's Crown," circa 1840

Detail, "Mariner's Compass," circa 1880

Full Shot (above) and Detail (below)
"New York Beauty," circa 1880, Southern United States

Friday, July 17, 2009

More on My Parents' Quilts

July 17, 2009

copyright, The Quilt Complex, 2009

I promised to add more photos of my parents, Al and Merry Silber ~ and some of the antique quilts in their collection.

I have just returned from eight days in Michigan with my folks. My Mom's 95th birthday was July 10 ~ We had a great party for her.

I got out a few more of their quilts and took some photos.

Here's Mom with an 1880's Log Cabin "Zig Zag" variation

And here she is examining a turn-of-the-century quilt called "Rattlesnake" or Mohawk Trail."

Mom has a special love for indigo and white quilts of the 19th century.
The one above is called "Orange Peel."

Below is a detail of a design Mom always called "Kaleidoscope." I'll have to check my books to see if that is a traditional name for it.

All three of the blue and white quilts shown here have curved seams.

Stay tuned...
There is more to come on my folks' wonderful quilts.