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Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 10:03:45 -0500

From: "Lynne Humphries-Russ" <lynnehr@simplegiftspress.org>

I'm responding to the query regarding tape recording and transcribing

instruments from Karen Alexander. I'm posting to the entire list because

there may be others doing filed interviews who can use the information.

Besides being a novice quilter and quilt historian, I'm the membership

Secretary for Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region, a regional

non-profit organization whose mission is to promote the education of

current and future oral historians in Delaware, the District of

Columbia, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and

West Virginia. I'm currently involved in two major oral history projects

myself as the oral historian.

Any tape recorder you have is good so long as you can hear it if you are

not interested in preserving the tapes. If you want to be able to hear

EASILY and preserve the tapes for inclusion in a collection, then you

will need to spend about $400 for a good quality regular sized tape

recorder with a good table microphone. Any brand is fine; I use a Sony.

The transcribing machine needs to be one with a foot pedal. You will

drive yourself to distraction if it doesn't have one. It also should

have a counter and head phones for ease. Again, any brand and I use a

Sony, primarily because that's what I could find quickly when I needed

these machines. They have served well.

I highly recommend using a professional transcriber. I can recommend

several should anyone need them. Transcribing is an art. Anyone can have

the tools to be an artist; using those tools proficiently requires

practice, as we all well know in the quilting community!

There is a lot of debate within the oral history community about digital

recording. There are still a lot of unknowns about it. The general

consensus is to stick with the easiest and least intrusive for your

interviewee. If you are going to put your oral histories on the web,

hoever, you have to have it in a format that will easily translate


You can go on to the Oral History Association's web page at

www.dickinson.edu/organizations/OHA. This group is the national

organization which governs the standards for oral history in the United

States. You can download a lot of extremely useful information from that


If anyone needs more information or for a bibliography, feel free to

contact me. If I see the need, I will post to the list. Otherwise, I'll

respond privately.

Take care.

In soon to be snowy Central Maryland,

Lynne Humphries-Russ


Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 09:02:55 -0500

From: "Jeff Lesh" <jefflesh@netins.net>

The print from Concord that we've all bought is a medium-size

crowded floral print and at last market, Concord still printed it in a brown

and a navy ground. A Concord salesman once told me that print had gotten a

Coty award--it was the first cotton print to have over a million yards



Coming out of lurksvilIe to respond to this interesting thread about

quilting fabric designers, etc. I think I know what fabric this is that

you are referring to Pepper, but wondered if someone would scan it and put

on a website, so I can see it, so I am sure. I probably have a piece of

it, do you think? :)


From the cold, tundra, Iowa




Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 16:45:34 -0500

From: "John Cawley" <cawley@goeaston.net>

Fran's Vintage Friends met on Monday to feast on food and quilts--an

unbeatable combination. I'll actually be able to give you a couple of

references to pictures of things we saw. On p. 48 of the Adams County book

(The Hands That Made Them--if you don't have this book you are missing out

on a gallery of some of the most colorful quilts ever made) is a quilt

called Virginia Star with Flying Geese. The quilt came to FVF and the

picture doesn't begin to do it justice. It is pristine. The stars are

pieced of several different turkey reds and one buff and blue print which

appears yellow in the picture. The background fabric is as white and crisp

as new. The quilting is lavish. We counted 8-9 stitches per inch which may

not sound like much, but believe me it was perfect. We dated the quilt c.

1830; the maker married in 1831 and this is certainly special enough to have

been her wedding quilt.


A Vintage Friend from West Virginia brought a scrap top that was a gold

mine of 1860s fabrics. Go to Brackman's Quilts of the Civil War p. 19 to

see a crib quilt (from Kimberly Wulfert's collection) containing a Civil War

commemorative fabric. There's a detail on p. 30. The top we saw contains

this fabric.

We saw an elegant small quilt made of cigarette silks (tied, no batting)

with beautifully printed designs of flags, girls in various national

costumes, portraits of minor royalty of the early 20th century (King George

of Greece) and, my favorites, a Cornell hockey player and a Harvard hurdler.

There was a quilt from Maine made for a poster bed (T-shaped as Jeanette

Lasansky calls them) which contains a variety of chintzes (glaze intact),

Prussian blues, the famous pheasant fabric (say that fast five times!). You

could teach a class on dating early 19th century fabrics from this quilt. It

has suffered the attack of mice who chewed five or six holes, but it still

remains beautiful. Anyone of us would take it in a heartbeat, but its owner

loves it too.

Cinda on the Eastern Shore where it is snowing for the first time this

winter and my daffodils are just about to bloom!


Hi Everyone:

I sure hope I have my "plain text" setting correct. AOL 6.0 sure can mess up

my emails to lists. Hopefully this will arrive to you correctly.

Barbara Brackman has a new pattern out called "Underground Railroad." It is

a well done pattern and inside the package is a good historical explanation

of how the quilt pattern got its name. Buying the pattern is worth it even

if you are just interested in her perspective on whether quilts were used as

"signs" in the underground railroad system. She gives an explanation on how

the underground railroad quilt myth got started and why these quilts/patterns

are not from the pre-Civil War era. The pattern is published by the

Sunflower Pattern Co-operative in Lawrence, Kansas (785-843-9233). I saw the

pattern today in a quilt shop -- it is fairly new on the market but is

available. It is something you could share with schools, etc., who are

promoting inaccurate quilt history on the subject.

Kathy in Ozark



Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 13:13:02 -0500

From: "John Cawley" <cawley@goeaston.net>

I forgot something very interesting. The Friends were making fun of me

because I actually took notes on this. We saw a "Crockmeter," a device for

testing a textile's color fastness to rubbing. It was a wooden device with

pins for attaching fabric to a piece of wood; a second piece was attached by

a kind of accordian hinge operated by a handle which when turned rubs the

top piece against the fabric anchored by the pins. We put a piece of

bleached muslin down first and then a sample of hand-dyed fabric over it (no

crocking). The tool had a metal label from "The American Association of

Textile Chemists and Colorists, Lowell Textile Institute" and a U.S. patent

#. It was well made, but we had the feeling that it had not been

mass-produced. Perhaps only enough were made for use by students at the

Lowell Textile Institute. Curious.

Cinda on the Eastern Shore where yesterdays snow is melting very fast.


Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 13:34:51 -0500

From: "John Cawley" <cawley@goeaston.net>

Ever since I saw the exhibit of politically inspired quilts at the

Brandywine Museum I've been desperate to continue the tradition by

commemorating the 2000 Presidential election with a quilt. The problem is

that I have been unable to locate any suitable fabric for such a project.

In the old days there were campaign ribbons, cotton bunting, handkerchiefs

and bandanas. Now it seems the only political textiles are T-shirts and I

don't want to deal with a stretchy poly-cotton fabric. Anybody have any

ideas about where I might find something suitable? I don't care if its

Gore/Lieberman or Bush/Cheyney just so it's election 2000.

Cinda on the Eastern Shore


Date: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 15:50:49 -0600

From: Xenia Cord <xecord@netusa1.net>

Cinda laments the lack of political textiles associated with the recent

election. I concur, and on the eve of the inauguration my DH and I were

invited to a very political party, by our very political friends.

Problem is, I am one of maybe 3 registered Democrats in our county, and

the host and hostess are hip deep in Republican politics.

Sooo...with the help of a friend who has a machine that embroiders

letters, I created several bits of fabric lettered "hanging chad,"

"dimpled chad," "pregnant chad." I worked these into a crazy quilt

style vest made from my collection of patriotic and political fabrics.

Since we were invited to dress "Texan" or in "Florida mall chic," I

wore the vest with a red silk broomstick skirt and matching shirt, and

red boots! Sort of a kick a-- outfit! Later I gave the vest to a

friend who collects political items, for use in an exhibit next year.

So, Cinda - in the absence of appropriate fabrics, make your own!

Xeniaate: Fri, 23 Feb 2001 20:13:18 -0800

From: "M. Geiss-Mooney" <mgmooney@home.net>

The CrockMeter is actually a tool used for the crocking standard test

for the American Association of Textile Chemists & Colorists (AATCC) to

this day - it and the standard are used extensively in the textile

industry world-wide even to this day! (And yes, I am a member of AATCC!)

Margaret Geiss-Mooney

Textile Conservator


Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001 08:23:38 -0500

From: "Marlene O'Bryant-Seabrook" <marlobs@awod.com>



I have not seen the Barbara Brackman Underground Railroad 

pattern/information, but, I have concern about the following two lines 

in the post that I read this morning .

She gives an explanation on how the underground railroad quilt myth got 

started ...

It is something you could share with schools, etc., who are promoting 

inaccurate quilt history on the subject.

Myths are very much like the "passing the secret" games that I played 

as a child. They are, also, almost impossible to trace to an absolute 

starting point. Much of the history which involved African Americans 

was transmitted orally. What documented proof is there on HOW the myth 

got started? I have spent the greater portion of my life as an 

educator and I personally asked Jacqueline Tobin to always inform her 

audiences that the Ozella Williams story was "a" family's story, not 

"the" African American story. Now, I ask that teachers who present the 

Barbara Brackman information state that this is very likely the way that 

the myth started or something of that nature which is less absolute. No 

one knows for certain, "HOW".

Marlene O'Bryant-Seabrook


Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001 18:32:18 -0600

From: Gail Ingram <GIngram@tcainternet.com>


A lot of our foremothers did, in fact, use scraps from clothing construction to make tops for quilts that were utilitarian as well as attractive. Growing up in Central Louisiana in the late forties and fifties, I knew women who never purchased fabric for quiltmaking. Every piece, including the backing

(usually from the printed feedsacks in which the feed for farm chickens and

cattle came), was "saved." Only the batts were purchased­­and sometimes

those were worn-out quilts, recycled.

My mother and others, who had grown up using quilts and preferred them to

blankets for warmth but did not quilt themselves, purchased quilts for

bedcovers from these women. I can recall my mother purchasing muslin

("yellow domestic" is the term everyone used for it) to give to a woman who

was making some quilts for her so there would be a little more artistry in


When my mother returned to making quilt tops after her children were grown

and I had determined to make quilts as coverlets for my home's beds, she

turned to a well-stocked scrap bag. And when it came time to put away all

those flared and gathered skirts I had worn in the late fifties and early

sixties, I carefully cut them up to save for the quilt tops I had always

dreamed of making.

The general aftermath of the Civil War for the southern states was poverty.

Although most did not conceive of themselves as "poor," most were. Economy

was practiced assiduously. Scraps from homesewing were prized, passed down

(My mother inherited her grandmother's scrap bag), and exchanged. As I look

at the quilts I have inherited from several generations of "foremothers," I

take great pride in the ingenuity with which they manipulated remnants from

their sewing to make scrap quilts that were both practical and beautiful. My

own daughter will be able to remember the dresses I sewed for her when she

was a child from the quilts I made during those child-rearing days, when I

had more time than money at my disposal. My own love of scrap quilts is

linked to the sense of scraps and economy as a valued part of quiltmaking I

picked up from sleeping under all those "utility" scrap quilts in childhood.

That is not to say there were not quilts that were planned and executed with

fabrics selected specifically for the quilt, but those were the "best"

quilts, the ones kept in storage and brought out for ceremonial occasions or

laid on the guest bed in a room where shades were drawn against the damaging

effects of sun. And where I grew up, there were not many of those.

I remember being shocked in the mid-80's when a friend who is a folklife

researcher and I curated a quilt show to find so many of these "best"

quilts. As we talked with their owners, nearly every one told the same

story: the quilt was singular and atypical in their family's histories.

On several quilt-looking trips to the Midwest, I have been surprised at the

number of vintage "everyday" quilts which were made completely from new

cloth. My personal experience is that one could never find so many in the

Deep South.

Now, having said all that, I say this: a gulf yawns between the attitudes

of all those makers of scrap quilts and the "so fun" attitude of the

article. But maybe the woman who spent a day in upscale shops purchasing

ingredients for the soaps she spent a day making will develop a greater

appreciation for the product. Still, I wonder: reckon she had a maid doing

the cooking while she shopped and made soap?

from the hills of North Louisiana, where the daffodils, oriental magnolias,

and pear trees are gorgeous




Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001 20:36:22 EST

From: Trimble4@aol.com


In a message dated 2/24/01 7:34:57 PM Eastern Standard Time,

GIngram@tcainternet.com writes:

<< I remember being shocked in the mid-80's when a friend who is a folklife

researcher and I curated a quilt show to find so many of these "best"

quilts. As we talked with their owners, nearly every one told the same

story: the quilt was singular and atypical in their family's histories.


Hello all,

I'm new to your group, so I hope I won't be out of line in responding to the

current thread.

My grandmother was a quilter (my teacher) who did make her share of utility quilts and "best" quilts. She worked for years and years in a shirt factory and collected the scraps of plaids for her quilts. Many of her "made-up" quilts are those that I remember being most beautiful (a Lone Star out of bright, vibrant plaids, for example). Sadly, they are not the quilts that survived, except in my memory. Each of my siblings and I received one of her "best" quilts, and I wouldn't trade mine for anything. But what wouldn't I give to recover one of those "less best" quilts?

To my eye, the utility quilt may not be the best example of a quilter's

artistry, but it is the best clue to the quilter herself. Sometimes we show

our grace in the simple art of everyday survival, and it is this that touches

me most. When I find the old, barely salvageable quilt stuffed in a barrel

in a shop (or worse), I am saddened to think that what I consider the "meat"

of the quilter's life has been so casually tossed aside. And yet, it is the

utility quilt that is most loved and used. Just something that interests



Still covered with snow in Massachusetts