Tuesday, February 21, 2017

what a mess!

Stuff accumulates. It's the story of our lives. I moved around a lot when I lived back east, and our family always spent time in Maine in the summer. Mom and Dad eventually moved there. I moved to Portland, Oregon and brought all my stuff with me.

Before moving, I used to love going to the Englishtown Flea Market with a car full of stuff to sell on Saturday mornings in the summer. Made a wad of cash every time, but always ended up with boxes of stuff that didn't sell, and things I picked up from other dealers. I also loved driving over to Pennsylvania for the afternoon and exploring all the shops along the way.

Many of the things I picked up were part of the decor. That's what makes antiques and vintage objects so great. They are curiosities. When you love to collect, the only danger is when the stuff starts to pile up. I'm sure there are some boxes in the attic that haven't been opened for 20 years.

I am going through it all now, and the inside of my home looks like an estate sale gone wrong. What a mess! But it'll be a beautiful mess when I set up shop in my little glass case at the vintage store across town.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Case #F-3

Case #F-3, that's me. Starting March 1st, I will be one of the 100 dealers at a large vintage shop here in Portland. I'd been thinking about it for a long time. Ever since learning what an antiques dealer was, I thought it would be fun to be one.

Lately I have been on a massive cleaning and reorganizing spree around the house. I have a lot of things I do not need, and wanted to have a garage sale, but realized a lot of things are too good for that. So, now I've got an outlet.

pair of tastevins and white ironstone relish dishes
random objects and a set of three L.E. Smith Moon & Stars canisters in red
There will be a few quilty things, but mostly other types of items: pottery, glass, art, random objects. From 1984 to 1999, I moved around a lot, and collected a lot of things. Most of them were used or displayed in my home.

Looking forward to moving things into my space and starting to sell on March 1st. I will be planning some sales during the year, and will make sure to announce them here.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Saturday Auction Results

Yesterday I was ready to leave the house when an auction alert arrived in my e-mail box. It was from Copake Auction, Inc., in New York and it was for a lot I saved through Live Auctioneers. The lot was a T-shaped bedcover with a chevron design made of print fabrics.

Every time an interesting quilt comes up at auction lately, I ask myself, "Do I really need it?" Of course, with more than 400 quilts in the collection I do not need another one, but there was something about this one.

The auction description did not have much information. It said the quilt was made around 1880. I think it could be older, but need to see it in person before I can say.

The quilt shares many similarities with another quilt in my collection, an "Orange Peel" or "Robbing Peter to Pay Paul" from the 1830s, made in New England. I have a hunch the two quilts will have a similar feeling.

Dating fabrics can be a little tricky when considering 1830s vs. 1880s print fabrics in America. There were similar styles in the designs, and similar colors. I am studying Eileen Trestain's first "Dating Fabrics" book to see if there may be a clue. The fabrics and quilts of the 1830s and 1880s quilts share similarities. There were a lot of intricate, copperplate printed designs, darks and drabs.

Based on Trestain's book, the key to discerning between the two periods appears to be the specific combinations of colors seen in prints. We may never find the exact prints, but it's possible to find prints done with similar methods and colors. We'll see when it arrives. Stay tuned...

Saturday, February 18, 2017

yippie yi yay!

Yesterday I found this neat little cowboys and horses quilt in a vintage shop in Portland. It was in a pile with two other quilts, a Sunbonnet Sue and a Parasol Ladies, and it really jumped out. Although there are some condition issues, it was a pattern I hadn't seen before.

When I got home, I took some photos and sent them to my friend Gloria Nixon from Kansas. Gloria is author of the fabulous book "Rag Darlings, Dolls From the Feedsack Era" - get the book -  and she thought the motifs looked famliar. She found it in Barbara Brackman's Encyclopedia of Applique (#49.18), and also found sales and auction links with information and photos of the pattern.

It is called Cowboy Quilt, a Wheeler/Brooks design (#7353). I love how the pattern has a reference to the use of scraps. Good stuff! And good work, Gloria. You nailed it!

Gloria's name may be familiar to anyone who has read my New York Beauty book. She helped with research there, too. Such an amazing researcher, very evident throughout her book.

So, "yippie yi yay!" for Gloria. What an angel! It is wonderful having such a network of friends with deep and diverse interests in quilts, textiles, antiques and vintage collectibles. Not having all the answers is OK if you know who to ask.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Holy Hexagons! It's Here!

"Holy Hexagons" unknown maker, c. 1900, Pennsylvania
The doorbell rang some time after lunch yesterday, and I knew exactly what it was. The "Holy Hexagons" quilt! I waited for an eternity...well, maybe only 12 days...but it seemed like an eternity.

pre-1900s print fabrics in the mix - one of two lit candles!
In nearly 30 years of collecting, I've never seen anything like it. Pictorials are rare enough as it is. One made of hexagons? Let's just say I had to see it to believe it.

one of four keys - the Four Keys to Heaven?
There are clues, but hard to say if there is a way to decipher them without projecting or speculating. Motifs include a large central cross surrounded by four keys, two candles, two anchors, nine chalices, two buildings and many flowers.

Toward the top is a rainbow, peaked like a roof. At the bottom is what looks like a pair of bones...or is it HH? Holy Hexagons! It couldn't be...or could it?


Stunning. Hopefully I can learn more about the quilt by putting it out there. That's one of my secrets, by the way. Share generously, and somehow it will come back as knowledge. The more people who see it, the better the chances of finding that hidden source of information. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

2017 QuiltCon Magazine

The 2017 issue of QuiltCon Magazine is now available as a digital download and print pre-order. For the third year in a row, I am in the magazine.

The 2015 issue QuiltCon Magazine included two quilts from my collection
In 2015, two of my vintage 1970s quilts appeared in the magazine as part of the feature on special exhibits. Last year, I contributed a four-page feature article about the history of improvisational quiltmaking in America.

From the feature article in 2016 QuiltCon Magazine
From the feature article in 2016 QuiltCon Magazine
This year, it is a seven-page article about American mid-century quilts. It is nice to have a presence in all three issues of the magazine so far. I very much appreciate the opportunity to share antique and vintage quilts with the Modern Quiltmaking community.

About the article, today's quiltmakers are inspired by all types of mid-century modern objects and design, but the quilts of the mid-century period are still a bit of a mystery. There was less quiltmaking activity in the 50s and 60s than there had been in the 30s and 40s, fewer quilts made, and these quilts didn't exactly flood the marketplace when other mid-century collectibles became popular during the last decade or two.

What do mid-century American quilts look like? Often outside the box of mid-century modern style, the quilts show signs of modernism, such as geometry headed toward minimalism. To read more about it, get QuiltCon Magazine. Check the Shop section of the Modern Quilt Guild web site, or get the digital download or print edition from the Interweave shop.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Little Turtle Hawaii comforter

 This charming little comforter came from an eBay seller in North Carolina, but it was made by a small company in Kailua, Hawaii called Little Turtle Hawaii.

Not sure when it was made, but probably in the last 20 years. I have seen one or two other Little Turtle Hawaii items out there, but not too many. 33" x 42".

Saturday, February 11, 2017

mod quilt top

In yesterday's blog, I mentioned finding a mod quilt top at Union Vintage in Beaverton. Well, here it is. I think it was made around 1980, lots of mod fabrics but also some that look new wave. The "argyle" print in four colorways and the floating black squares, also in four colorways, look a bit more new nave than mod. Looks like a deep stash though. A lot of the prints look like 60s and 70s.

The cowboy print is especially fetching. Conversation prints always are, but people love cowboys.

Lots of floral prints, paisleys, mod plaids and even a couple Hawaiian or Polynesian prints.

I love the brown and orange daisy and polka dot circle print. Very hip!

Most of the fabrics are heavier weight than the typical quilt fabrics. They are almost more like decorator or upholstery fabrics.

The top is 85" x 102" and in perfect condition. No plans for it. I just couldn't resist. It was a good deal. If anyone's interested, let me know. First come first serve. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Friday on the Fringe

Yesterday I dropped off a rack full of clothing at Men's Wearhouse for their National Suit Drive. The charity benefits at-risk men transitioning into the workforce, and Men's Wearhouse officially holds the event in the summer, but they accept donations all year. Thank goodness for that! I'm working on cleaning out a closet full of clothing meant for a much larger man, formerly me.

at Union Vintage in Beaverton
On the way home, I noticed a pair of vintage shops along Canyon Road in Beaverton, so I stopped and went in.

Union Vintage in Beaverton
The first one was called Union Vintage, and the place had a cool vibe. I bought a mod quilt top there. More about that one another day.

Curiosities Vintage in Beaverton
at Curiosities Vintage, Beaverton
The second shop, Curiosities Vintage, was a co-op or collective with many dealers. The funny thing about this place and the other is I have gone past many times and didn't realize what was there. For some reason, I thought the shops were faux vintage decorative goods. One of them may have been more like that in the past, but both shops are full of vintage objects now.

at Curiosities Vintage in Beaverton
I found a Polynesian bedspread with fringe in one of the first booths at Curiosities. At first, I wasn't sure if it was a bedspread or a table cloth, but the more I looked at it the more it seemed like a bedspread...so that's what I'm calling it.

I also wasn't sure if I was looking at a mass-produced object or a homemade one. It's nicely finished, but something tells me it's homemade.

It is 66" x 87 & 1/2" and was made of two pieces of fabric. The seam is off-center, and the fabrics do not line up along the seam, evident in the third dark brown band from the right.

This piece will go with the Hawaiian group. Although it is not a scrap quilt, it's another type of bedcover from the period, and it shows off large pieces of Hawaiian fabric. I love the green fringe.