Monday, January 7, 2008

Acid Green Fabric

What do the early 19th century dyers of acid green fabrics and the Mad Hatter have in common? Mercury poisoning, and that's why acid greens are also called poison greens.

Acid greens may have yellow or black or dark brown motifs, or a combo.

I happen to love this color of fabric, but it can appear gaudy to contemporary eyes when placed next to the beautiful fondue printed plaids and serpentine chintz prints in mid-19th century quilts. It's easier on the eyes later in the century when placed next to jewel tone double pinks and dark browns and chocolates. (Did you see project Runway last week? They used Hershey chocolate products and premiums as their 'fabric" for the challenge. Great show! It will be re-run this Wed. before the new show if you missed it)

In fact, acid green prints with pink fabrics were a very popular two-color quilt combo in the 1880s. I have a robbing Peter to pay Paul quilt like this, and a scrap basket pieced blocks quilt in this combo with a rust madder brown for the scraps from this time period. Currently the scrap basket quilt is on a Victorian bed in a local museum, Carpinteria Historical Society Museum. RPtoPP is needing to get out more, he has been packed up for too long. I haven't ever taken him on a teaching trip, and I adopted him in 1993 or so.

Read more about mercury poisoning's interesting past in New York's hat manufacturing business in The Mad Hatter Mercury Mystery, by Peg Van Patten.



Feeling Simply Quilty said...

Thanks for sharing that bit of fabric history.

Anonymous said...

I think your RP to PP wants to get out and get his picture taken so you can post it on your blog and make him famous. :)

Judy Anne

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