Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Making Vintage Quilts

There is no doubting that winter is here, from coast to coast. And with that comes staying in doors if you can and enjoying the cozy feel. I love the sound of rain drops falling on the skylights. Listening to the rain fall is so rare, I sit or work in silence while it is happening to take the sound and sensation it in when I can. But after a week of fairly non-stop raining and dreary skies I want color back, not to mention the sun and warm temperatures.

I don't know about you, but I think 1930s when I think about colorful happy quilts so I went to my bookshelf for some quick relief, and pulled down Link to the '30s, making the quilts we didn't inherit written by two sisters living in Texas, Kay Connors and Karen Earlywine.

The sisters are vintage style quilt and pattern makers. They design their quilts using period  newspaper quilt columns that offered mail order patterns and old quilts. Small photos of the original newspaper column pattern or quilt adorn each of the 9 quilt patterns featured in this book.

The patterns are from the columns  Nancy Page Quilt Club and Household Arts by Alice Brooks, and one is a McCall's wedding ring pattern., as seen on the book's cover.  Two signature quilt patterns are reproduced. One is from a 1931 quilt with embroidered names, and the other one is made into a contemporary quilt minus signatures.

The quilts chosen are familiar but I seldom see them reproduced at shows or on exhibit, which is nice. The patterns range in difficulty from beginner to experienced quilter. Most of them are mid range to advanced. The more difficult quilts contain curves, applique, and bias edges.

A variety of border treatments were made popular in the  Colonial Revival period between the World Wars  and are reflected in these patterns. Borders include the ice cream cone, prairie points, scallops, tiny half square triangles and the curved vine of petals (think of one Dresden plate petal).

Kay and Karen wrote a quilt stitch pattern book recently, Fancy to Frugal, authentic quilt patterns of the '30s. Here they are describing quilting  from the same time period, although Link to the '30s shows suggested quilting patterns for the borders and white or plain fabric blocks in the quilt.

These two books give you access to excellent patterns and ideas to pull from to make your own combinations of borders and blocks or to reproduce your own favorites. The templates are arranged on pages without overlapping each other for easy tracing, and illustrations are easy to see and understand. Their strip or rotary piecing directions are also easy to follow.

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1 comment:

Anne Copeland said...

I love this, Kim. You know, the quilt patterns of the 30s ARE a welcome sight today, because just like in the 30s, they bring a lot of happiness in a time of economic stabilities that was with us also back then. I think those bright colors and scrappy beauties were women's way of showing hope and good cheer during an otherwise dark and dreary time.

My friend, Beverly Dunivent, designed a line of 30s fabrics back quite a few years ago now and it was called Butterfly Hope fabrics. The butterflies were definitely a symbol of hope and joy and of transformation, something we can all definitely relate to.

Someone gave me some tiny Sunbonnet Sue appliqués recently, and I was thinking how much fun it would be to put them into a humorous, but pretty little quilt, and they made me feel very happy inside just the way you felt when you saw the 30s pattern quilts.

Ah, nothing quite as soothing or comforting as a good quilt. Peace and many blessings, Annie

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