I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Monday, February 5, 2018

"Antebellum Album Quilt ~Schoolgirl Diaries, Letters and Album Quilts

Hello, everyone, another cold Monday here. Tonight the wind is a bit less and the air is so invigorating, the sky is [trite but true] like black velvet scattered with a million brilliant diamonds.
In Friday's post I showed you my finished top for the historic quilt-along on Barbara Brackman's blog. Her new sewalong has begun, much anticipated by me since I skipped 2017. This year's history/ story is about the lives, letters and album quilts made by young girls before the Civil War, in both the North and the South, though presumably there was no such rigid division as early as 1840, unless we face reality and call the states Slave and Free?

It was a fad back in the 1840s and 1850s to make signature or friendship quilts. Each of one's girlfriends would make a block and sign it, as a remembrance of school days and classmates.

Sort of like we used to sign yearbooks, I guess. Or remember those funny autograph hounds, cotton dachshunds. I was pretty surprised when one of my kids got one for a party gift, who knew they still exist?
But now I have the quandary of What my Album quilt should look like. Not a scrap quilt; these were spoiled, pampered, very well to do young ladies who could easily afford to buy a certain color that the honoree might demand.
A designated palette is in order. I have three ideas:

1-Taupe/mud/neutral, with light ground text fabric for the light.

The selvedge here shows the colors I would be using.

I got this group of prints specifically for this project last fall. And I added a few greyer prints, and a fun bird print for fussy cutting.

But, though I love dry-mud color or taupe, I fear this might appear very dull and sad in a quilt. And I def do not want the accent color to be mustard, I don't think a grey and yellow modern palette works at all. [And I hate it.] The accent will need to be black.

But still. Yawn?

then 2- These authentic brilliant prints are from a group called Jamestown, which is confusing as Jamestown reeks of 1600 taupe and starving colonists. The allusion of the name escapes me. The colors are so ''me'', so fun and lively. But perhaps anachronistic? Seems to me they date from about 1875-90 or so.

And picturing them made up I am seeing a truly hideous quilt, even if again lightened with the white ground writing print.

3- Blue. Indigo blue. Oh okay,let's make this a beautiful and usable, if crushingly boring blue and white quilt. My [imaginary]schoolgirl loves blue and simply asked her girls to make blue blocks. She's a bit less of a lahdidah princess of the old south, maybe she is from  Ohio or Illinois. New York? I don't have a photo of blues, but here is Bitty, similarly blue and ''white', and blue hearts:

My quilt will have alternating spacer blocks for a total of  25? blocks. The spacers will be Double Nine Patch or Four Patch Nine Patch. In the sewalong Pinterest board Brackman shows a  spacer, but it isn't yet mentioned. Too fussy for me; the nine patch variations will make a strong diagonal secondary pattern too. Like this:

And last to consider. Each month we will be given an antique signature block photo, to copy and use if we wish.

I'm pretty sure I will use these, though that leaves a big light hole in the center of each block. I don't have a light box for tracing so I printed the writing on my computer, on muslin. Supposedly printer ink is water soluble but I've had good luck with ironing well then spraying it with matte acrylic sealant. I also will enhance the writing between ironing and spraying, using Pigma pens.

I wasted a sheet of the printer fabric making and experimental square for the washing machine test.

So what do you all think!?

Mo chimes in, "Moooom, does this t shirt make my butt look fat?" He doesn't like quilts until they're at the lying on stage.

Opinions, please. While we decide, I will be sewing the 40-odd Flying Geese for my Fall Festival quilt. It has waited patiently for many months to be finished.



gone to the beach...

thinking of summer days...