Saturday, May 23, 2015

Sewickley Valley Historical Society's GAR Quilt

Appliqued GAR badge,
detail of a remarkable Pennsylvania 
Civil-War commemorative quilt.

The quilt is attributed to Sarah Bright Anderson Lea (About 1833-1918.) Collection: Sewickley Valley Historical Society. They date it as 1890 based on the stars in a flag on the reverse side.

The center is an appliqued window with Victorian woodwork and flower pots
on the sill. Lady Liberty is at the top under a shower of stars. The bearded men look
to be late-19th century dignitaries.

More embroidery under the sill shows a camp of tents with scenes of army life.

Detail of the left hand side.

Above the window is a stuffed eagle with more figures.

Along the sides are  regimental patches.

The symbols were a popular identification image
at Grand Army of the Republic reunions.

Souvenir flag from a Chicago reunion in 1900

Souvenir GAR bandana

Flags with corp badges also decorated G.A.R. halls.

The family and the museum speculate that the quilt was made "in connection with a celebration or commemoration sponsored by the G. A. R." Sarah's husband Benjamin Franklin Lea (About 1843-February 15, 1918) was a private in Company A, 101st Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment. 

Allegheny City is the North Side, north of Pittsburgh's
Allegheny River

He joined G. A. R. Post No. 162 in Allegheny City north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 19, 1889. He and Sarah lived in the Fineview neighborhood in the municipality of Allegheny City that was absorbed by Pittsburgh in 1907.

"Dinner in the Grove"
Reunion of the 101st and 103rd Pennsylvania Volunteers 1904

The flag of the 101st Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteers

The battle between the Monitor and the Merrimac 
is recalled at the center bottom of the quilt.

Benjamin (and presumably Sarah) is buried in Union Dale Cemetery in Pittsburgh. They died within weeks of each other in early 1918.

See more about the quilt here:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Stars in a Time Warp 19: Serpentine Stripes

Reproduction star by Becky Brown

Vintage block, 1820-1850

Serpentine stripes, which snake along the fabric's surface, were quite popular in the first half of the 19th century. 

Vintage flowers set in a striped set, but a serpentine striped set.

We're changing our focus here, going back into the 1800-1840 era, when serpentine stripes were IT.

Detail of a cotton dress about 1820 from
Charles A. Whitaker auctions

Early Medallion framed by triangles of stripes---serpentine 
and straight (neat stripes, about which more later)

Serpentine stripe reproduction by Becky Brown

Vintage block, 1820-1840
Combination of a serpentine stripe with an indigo neat stripe.

Serpentine stripes add fussy-cut effects to hexagons
as in this early quilt. Also notice the border. 

It's 4 diamonds, 3 shaded one way, 1 another.

Valerie's purple repro block included a serpentine stripe in the center.

Another reproduction star by Becky
She and Valerie have the same print in different colorways.

Vintage block, 1820-1840-
Note the unusual shape that is pieced of the serpentine stripes. It fits with hexagons
and offers more fussy-cutting possibilities.

Rainbow shading in a serpentine stripe

Girl, about 1840

Undulating stripes soften the lines of the dress so curved stripes might have been a fashion demand. But rollers printed these stripes easily and well, so the fad could also have been caused merely by the novelty of the cylinder print machines.

Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection
at the University of Wisconsin

Detail of an early 19th-century scrap quilt. 
Curvy stripes add to the busyness of the classic chintz look.

Mill book with illustrations for fabric about 1825.


Turkey red and a purple stripe by Becky Brown
The purple looks like the 1825 swatches

Terry Thompson and I reproduced this print for Coral Gardens
back in the '90s.

Sharon and Jason Yenter have a lovely example
in their Circa 1825 line for In the Beginning...

used here in a reproduction from Busy Thimble blog

Nancy Gere may be the queen of serpentine stripes.
She reproduces them often and well.

Lori at Humble Quilts used that blue stripe above.

A reproduction dress seen at Hearts Full of Joy blog.

SF's block using a popular repro print.

It was in the Sarah Johnson line from the Shelburne Museum

Here it is again in Old Virginia by Mariann Simmons. The print is rather strange and
quite accurate.

A recent repro from Mary Koval's Edith

Val has a piece of another old favorite

What to Do With Your Stack of Stars?
Make Blocks of Different Sizes

Star Happy Quilts by Judy Martin

We're working with 6" stars but you could be making 3", 9" or 12" stars too. With a little bit
of extra setting fabric you can give these vintage-looking stars a more contemporary look.

America by Leere Aldrich

Winter Blues
from A Year of Cozy Comforts by Dawn Heese.
Dawn alternated a large star with a 9-patch pieced of small stars.

Your 6-inch stars in a Nine Patch block would finish to 18".
If you alternated 5 big stars (finishing to 18") and 4 nine patches.....

You'd need only 20 small stars to wind up with a 54" quilt.
The nine patches are called Cluster of Stars and are BlockBase pattern #1710.
Those big stars would be an excellent spot for a Serpentine Stripe.

One More Thing About Serpentine Stripes

The Smithsonian's History  Museum owns a quilt made
by Martha Washington and her granddaughter Eliza Custis.
The brown stripe in the center border is supposed to be one
of Martha's dresses

That serpentine stripe was reproduced during the Centennial in 1876. Note the stripes going both ways. It's a rather basic print, possibly American manufactured. It's probably a little too primitive to be commercially viable today. But now you know what to look for if you are channeling Martha.

Read more about the quilt here:

Repro by Becky Brown. 
She's added seams to the center
square to fussy-cut the serpentine stripe.

Read more about serpentine stripes in my book America's Printed Fabric, pages 37-39