June7-8, 2008 - Colonial Quilters Quilt Show in Bethlehem , PA at the Moravian College , Main Street Campus. Visit here for more information.
June 12-14, 2008 - State Quilt Guild of NJ Quilt Convention at the NJ Convention and Expo Center in Edison , NJ . Visit www.njquilts.org for more information.
Visit me at either show, say hi, and let me know you got this email, and I will take $10 off your $30 purchase in my booth!
A Common Question: "How do I wash an antique quilt with inked signatures?"
These quilts with inked signatures are sometimes called Album Quilts, and most date to the mid 19th century. Autograph books or albums were very popular during this time. The signatures could have been collected for a variety of reasons: wedding gift, going away gift, friendship quilts, or to raise funds. Album quilts were made for decades, the earlier ones, usually were inked in pen in long hand or stamped with their signature. Closer to the late 19th century we find the signatures embroidered, like in Redwork Quilts.
But to answer your question, you probably have a very early quilt in your hands if it has an inked signature. DO NOT wash it. DO NOT dry clean it. Visit the American Quilters Society to find a Certified Quilt Appraiser in your area so you can discern its age if you need assistance, and they may be able to guide you further.
Feature Article: "Quilt Ephemera"
I love history. And like every quilt can tell a story, it's easier to read words on paper.
It's funny.I was collecting quilt ephemera long before I knew how to pronounce the word (EE-FEM-ER-RA). Ephemera are written or printed (usually) paper, that was probably not meant to be saved: commercial ads, matchbooks, receipts.and in the case of quilt ephemera: patterns, articles, newspaper clippings, catalogs, etc. These little glimpses into the past help quilt historians in many ways. It helps us date quilt patterns, and determine where the pattern originated from.
One of the earliest catalogs in my personal collection is dated mid 1890s from the Ladies Art Company titled "Diagrams of Quilt, Sofa, and Pin Cushion Patterns". This was probably never meant to be a collectible, but now is one of the more sort after pieces of quilt ephemera. Popular designers of ages ago, are also quite collectible: Ruby McKim, Anne Orr, Laura Wheeler. Some had their own pattern books, some were published in newspapers. Old Kansas City Star patterns help us date depression era patterns. Old batting wrappers from Mountain Mist help us to determine Mountain Mist patterns.
Newspaper clippings show when crazy quilts fell in and out of favor, and we know that fabric manufacturers advertised silk scraps specifically for crazy quilts in the 1890s.
Cardstock patterns for quilting and piecing can also be considered ephemera. I love being able to find a set of blocks with its original template accompanying it.
Recently, I purchased a box at auction of quilt fabrics, pieces, tops, etc. In it was a small box of fabrics, already cut, waiting to be pieced. Her pattern carefully folded, and the card stock template, included.the template was made out of an invitation to a military ball dated 1864! My heart leapt! I do realize that these pieces are probably not that old. The quilt maker probably had saved it for a time and just recycled it, like we recycle old newspapers for packing.
While I don't have any quilt ephemera for sale at this time, I kinda hoard it all to myself, justifying my collection with the threat to someday write a book, I do have a set of Grandmothers Flower Garden Quilt Blocks with it's template included, as well as a wonderful String Pieced Star Quilt Top with the 1888 newspaper still attached to it.
Material Pleasures, LLC