Monday, September 23, 2013

Vintage Series II - Fan...or Faux?

We're revisiting the Vintage Series this post, featuring the fan.  Some of you may just enjoy the pictures, and others will savor the history right along with me.  Either way, I invite you to stay a while.

Besides, who could resist a good book with a comfortable quilt?  So, linger and read a bit here on what makes that quilt so appealing...
Marin Hanson, in writing about Nancy Cabot and Her ‘Exotic’ Quilt Patterns, tells us "in the 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s, quilt designers had an affinity for exotic or oriental patterns. In the era of Charlie Chan in the movie theaters, the words “oriental” and “exotic” were often used interchangeably and quilt patterns that had an exotic flair were all the rage."
"One designer who heavily promoted this trend was Nancy Cabot, the pseudonymous quilt pattern columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Because her column was widely syndicated, quiltmakers all over the country would have been familiar with her exotic patterns, which ranged from Japanese Poppy to Chinese Gongs to Persian Poinsettia. Often, however, many of Cabot’s patterns were exotic in name only. As with other early twentieth century designers, she recycled traditional patterns and gave them new names, likely in the hopes of adding appeal for a new generation."
"Fan motifs had been around at least since the late-nineteenth century Crazy quilt craze. They were transformed into repeat block patterns and became popular in the early twentieth century, with names like Grandmother’s Fan and Imperial Fan. Cabot took variations of these and gave them exotic names". 
One of these that Cabot renamed was the Chinese Fan (c. 1943), a gorgeous predominantly pink one I've featured as the background of my blog site.  (Can't see it using your iPhone, tablet or email?  Check it out on my blog by clicking on Regardless of the origin of its name, I simply like it! The fan variation quilt in the pictures shown with this post is lovely, as well, and deserves a fan or two, no pun intended.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Grand Re-Opening Open House!

My downtown studio is now open for business!
To celebrate, my Grand Re-Opening will be held
Tuesday, October 1st
Noon to 3:00
Open house (come when you can - working
quilters come during your lunch hour)
Carpooling highly recommended
Door prizes
Light hors d'oeuvres
Bottomless fresh lemonade, because...
...that's what you make out of lemons!

Connie Potter
Ponderosa Patchworks

Monday, September 9, 2013

A Step Back in Time - Vintage Series I

A dear friend of mine owns a late 19th century home in the center of town....

She graciously consented to a photo shoot on her property featuring my vintage quilt collection.  All quilts shown in this post were quilted by me.  The quilt above - Southern Belle, c. 1920's - was purchased as a set of 12 blocks and is the only quilt I've sewn entirely with period materials.  Using a vintage pattern, each block was set in blue sashings and framed with a snow cone border.  
Here's a bit of history on the Southern Belle, (aka Colonial Lady and Umbrella Girl), a design that was originally used in the "Quilt Code" of the Underground Railroad. According to Traditional Quiltworks"Free women in the North wore long dresses with Sue bonnets". The earliest "Sunbonnet baby" figures are in redwork embroidery, and date to around 1905. The "Sue" appliqué block didn’t appear until 50 years after the Underground Railroad disbanded; the earliest known "sunbonnet" appliqué quilt (by Marie Webster, called Sunbonnet Lassies or Keepsake) was first published in the Ladies Home Journal in January 1911. Quilt historian Barbara Brackman notes that the Sunbonnet appliqué pattern "did not trickle down to the quilt-making public until the late 1920s".

Ahh, the Nine-Patch Variant.  This quilt top was found antiquing at a local shop.  I was intrigued with it because I own a very special one that my maternal grandmother hand-pieced and hand-quilted. More on that quilt later!  No history as yet on this design, but I hope to have a tidbit or two when I reveal my grandmother's quilt later in this Vintage Series.
Who can deny the romanticism of a Double Wedding Ring quilt? Again, the quilt top was found antiquing and I quilted it using patterns especially for Double Wedding Ring quilts.  
History of this design:  Some consider this pattern among one of the oldest, while others insist that there was no historical mention of it until the 1920s, at least in the U.S.  It’s no surprise that many Double Wedding Ring quilts have become family heirlooms – made by grandmothers and mothers for their children and grandchildren. There is a folklore belief that a newly wed couple will be protected from bad dreams and bad luck, and their marriage will be a blessed one if they sleep under a Double Wedding Ring quilt received as a wedding gift.

There is a lot of symbolism behind this pattern – some point to the “gimmal ring,” a betrothal ring popular in 15th-16th centuries. The Gimmal ring was two rings fitted together to form one; the two parts were worn separately by the engaged couple, and during the wedding ceremony the rings were interlocked to be worn by the wife. The infinity of Celtic Knot and Roman etching patterns with interlocking rings also comes to mind when we look at a Double Wedding Ring quilt, and the message of eternal love inevitably follows.

The part I loved most in the quilting of this quilt was the rings, which were done non-stop in continuous curve.  Quite the feat to attempt and accomplish.

I absolutely love vintage quilts.  I had so much pleasure taking these photos and wish to thank my good friend once again for her lovely home as backdrop.
Look for another edition to the Vintage Series in the weeks to come!  
And later this week I'll be sending you a personal invitation to my Grand Re-Opening!