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Monday, August 20, 2012

It's been awhile......

Remember this fabric:
I decided to make the miniature quilt you see in the first photo.  Let me say that I had no desire whatsoever to make a miniature Union (4 eagle) quilt.  They aren't my favorite and just weren't on my to do list.  However, after much thought and research and my desire to use the wonderful George fabric in the best possible way, I kept coming back to the Union quilts.  These 4-eagle quilts probably originated in southeastern PA for the centennial celebration.  Quilt makers continued to make them long after, though.  My research didn't turn up any quilts with a double blue background, but it made sense to me and I might add, it was the best choice from my stash of 1870's era fabrics.  Of course, George is in the center and I appliqued the peace shields on the eagles.  The quilt is 13.875" square and the backing is the same fabric as the fabric used for the eagle wings. The quilt layout is true to the antique quilts and the half square triangle border was used in many of them.  I did change the orientation of them, as I like my borders to be symmetrical and often the corners on the antiques weren't.  Just a personal thing.  My quick 1870's PA research kept turning up pillowcases, so I made two of them to go with the quilt.  They are 2" x 3.375" each.  Everything is hand pieced and hand appliqued.  The quilt is hand quilted, but the pillowcases are not quilted at all.
Now for another subject:
I recently spent the day at a Quilt Study and got to chat with my friend Theresa who was full of questions for me - thought provoking ones.  Some day I will blog answers to them - if I can remember what they were!  Another lady and I chatted about creative inspiration.  Another good discussion.  But I will start with one from Theresa:  How do I date all my fabrics?  Wow, that is a really good one.  Correctly dating fabrics is key to making my miniatures successful and I have to say that it isn't easy.  Some fabrics and prints were so wildly popular, that the mills just kept cranking them out for decades. That is a good thing and that is a bad thing.  Harder to date them accurately, but if you get it wrong, it doesn't really hit the viewer in the eye.  The short answer is that I study, study, study all the time.  When I look at history quilt books, I try to date the quilt before I read when it was made.  If I miss it, I ask myself why and try to analyze what threw me off.  Also, fabrics feel different depending on their age.  You can bet if you find something "gauzy" it is close to 1900.  If you find something and say to yourself, "this is the nicest fabric I have ever felt" it is very early, say 1800 - 1840. You just develop a sense and an eye about fabrics, but it takes time and effort.  That is not to say that I don't come across fabrics all the time that I hesitate to date.  I may have a feeling about them, but until I am pretty sure, I don't use them in one of my quilts.  Theresa, don't hesitate to leave a comment if I didn't answer your question well enough.
Till next time..........
Sheila