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Harry Reasoner according to the site http://us.imdb.com died in 1991 of cancer.


Suzanne M. Pratt


-------Original Message-------


From: Quilt History List

Date: 09/05/04 22:57:11

To: Quilt History List

Subject: [qhl] Really Strange Situation- do you have info. that can help?



At this point, I am wondering if the show even aired. Then, this

evening, yet another friend wrote to say that she believes that Mr.

Reasoner has been deceased for several years. Hmmm..... Suddenly, none

of this is making any sense, and if there is someone drinking Tequila,

it ain't me. I'm a "tee-totaller", more's the pity.



So glad you are all ok. Unbelievable that a tree could fall on the roof and you only suffered a couple of broken roof tiles. I grew up at the seashore (Atlantic City) and have lived through some fierce hurricanes too. Glad you are OK.

Judy, aka the Ringoes Kid judygrowpatmedia.net

----- Original Message ----- From: <Trimble4aol.com> To: "Quilt History List" <qhllyris.quiltropolis.com> Sent: Sunday, September 05, 2004 6:06 PM Subject: [qhl] Hurricane Frances -- OT

> Hi all, > > Thanks so much to all of you who emailed expressing your concern for those of > us in the path of Hurricane Frances. > > I can't speak for all of us in Florida, but I can tell you that we in the > southernmost part are very relieved. Frances has FINALLY gone on her merry way > and left us soggy, but otherwise unhurt, in her wake. The big windbag. We > were on the southern side of the hurricane, and a few miles south of the eye, so > all we got was 60mph winds (at most), which left lots of junk in the yard > (branches, leaves), trees down in a few others, and rain. The worst winds came > during the night, and the hardest rains, but we didn't get more than we could > handle. > > We had an early scare when the neighbor's tree fell on our roof just about > the time the winds started early yesterday, but several neighbors came to help > pull it down and haul it out back. The guys were all pretty soggy, but no > injuries. We only lost four roof tiles to that, so we count ourselves very > fortunate. > > The folks north of us did not/are not faring as well, I'm afraid. Our cable > is out today so I can't turn on the news to see what's happening anywhere > else. > > With luck, life will return to normal soon. We should have grocery stores > again Tuesday (like we all don't have enough food for an army!), gas at the > stations, and restaurants open again. I heard that the malls in Miami have > already opened today. > > Thanks again to all of you for sending us your good wishes! > Lori > in soggy, blowy, but only bruised south Florida > > > ---


Hawaiian quilt history also has a recycle theory but it's somewhat fuzzy as to whether the scrap bags they talk about have new or reused fabric in them. This quilt myth states that Hawaiians didn't make pieced quilts because ". . . in the old Hawaiian homes there were no scrap bags, for the holoku [often compared to a Mother Hubbard] were cut full and straight, taking the full width of the cloth and leaving little for quilt pieces." The argument continues, "To cut new materials into bits to be sewn together seemed a futile waste of time." These "facts" are stated in partial explanation of why Hawaiians developed their own unique applique patterns and quilting style.

Apparently, Hawaiians also received samples from the dry goods stores for their piecework as Xenia and Teddy discovered. Stella Jones, Hawaiian Quilts (1973), 10 mentions this as an alternative to cutting fabric bits.

Actually, Hawaiians did continue to make pieced quilts for daily use. The Hawaiian applique quilts usually served as their fancy quilts. Why the floral applique held such appeal and became uniquely Hawaiian in style has more to do with Hawaiian cultural values and little or nothing to do with scrap bags or aversion to cutting fabric into bits. ----- Laurie Woodard Hawaiian Quilt Research Project PO Box 691 Kailua, HI 96734



" Cotton is produced in large quantities from a tree that is about six yards in height, and bears during twenty years; but the cotton taken from trees that age is not adapted for spinning, but only for quilting."

Cotton from a tree? Could Marco Polo have been referring to Kapok which, I think, comes from a tree?

...a man name Doddridge,... "He also reports that linen cloth was placed in a wood trough, urine poured over, and the entire buried in the ground for months, to whiten the linen."

Yikes, wouldn't you end up with rotted shreds. I always heard of linen being whitened by laying it out on grass. I've seen photos with fields of linen staked out in Ireland.

Tracy Jamar



Tracy -- in days of old, cotton was oftened mentioned as being from a tree rather than a bush. However, Sea Island cotton plant grows well over 6 feet so maybe that's why tree was used if other cotton plants grew that tall. And in medevial ages, cotton was known as wool from a wool tree. Bush may not have been in the ancients' vocabulary.


I have to insert a little note here. I have quilts that were made by cutting up old clothes and not just from the leftover scraps. The original French seams are included in sections of one and the second one I have a letter from the maker telling how she cut up her husbands and sons Sunday suits that they had outgrown and worn out to make the quilt. So while I agree the majority of scrap quilts are more than likely leftovers there are some quilts that are absolutely without a doubt made from clothing.

Sharon in NC



Hello Pat, I'm a little confused about your original question. I'm not sure whether you are commenting on the use of recycled fabrics in antique quilts in general, or that quilts evolved from only the use of recycled fabrics?? Hope you will clarify. thanks, Laurette

> Thanks, Xenia. You make some excellent points. So many people fail to > realize that very early quilts were of the wholecloth type and that > pieced quilts were made from bolt fabrics.

> We can't make blanket statements in this case. :) However, in looking > for a general rule, the recycling theory is more often just that, a > theory. It makes some people pat themselves on the back for their > foremothers ability to "make do", and it make some others feel warm and > fuzzy to think that their ancestor /wore /part of a quilt/.



I'm not sure whether you are commenting on the use of recycled fabrics in antique quilts in general, or that quilts evolved from only the use of recycled fabrics?? Hope you will clarify. thanks, Laurette

Dear Laurette:

I suppose that I was making a more general observation/statement. Quilting did not evolve from the recycling of old clothes, as you well know. I am glad you asked for clarification of what I meant.

Sometimes presenters,like the person I heard who apparently, has had limited exposure to quilt history, will make broad, general statements based on assumptions or something that has been heard or read.

In some instances, telling only part of a story and not the rest provides a statement or a conclusion to the listener that is not necessarily correct. That was my concern.

(The other folks listening to the talk knew nothing about the subject of quilts and wanted to learn more. Unfortunately, the person giving the talk did not have a list of books so that they could explore on their own. They have children with whom they want to engage in making a quilt sometime). I did have some input to their question.

In New England, I have not seen quilts made from recycled clothing. I have seen Silk Crazy Quilts that have museum documentations which indicates that they were made by dressmakers, utilizing leftover scraps of "fancy fabrics". I have seen quilts made from Salesman's samples, too.

If other people, in different areas of the country, have seen quilts made from recycled clothing, then that is their experience, equally as valid as mine.

We also have to consider the "time-frame" when we speak about quilt history and look at when certain styles were popular, (whole cloth, geometrically pieced, crazy quilts, etc). Perhaps, the speaker's point of reference is her own community, or even her own family. Specific time periods were not mentioned.

To infer that most all quiltmaking (historically and regularly) utilized recycled scraps, trimmed from garments, is to leave out a tremendous amount of information. While I am bothered by what the presenter stated, (especially the idea of a part of a flannel shirt being made into a quilt, as if that were the norm), I am more concerned that she or anyone speaking on the subject of quilt history would not present a fuller picture. Perhaps she didn't know the difference.

I understand the limitation of (her) time (10 or 15 minutes) and how sometimes, we are limited to what amounts to "sound bites". This makes our task, as historians, even more difficult. I am sure that no one sets out to share misinformation when speaking about quilt history.

We all need each other as a community and I don't mean to sound critical. I just like people to do things well, and am extremely disappointed when they don't take the time to inform themselves. At the time, I wished that I better knew how to help without sounding overbearing. I just felt and feel kind of helpless, and actually, do not want to correct someone who is standing there, in good faith, trying to share the very little bit she seems to know about the subject. So, it is a moral dilemma, I suppose.

The nicest part about studying quilt history is that there is so much to learn....and to remember...and to research....and to share.... We all grow as we go along. Even nicer than that are the lifetime friendships we make along the way.

Have a great day!

Pat Cummings www.quiltersmuse.com



I vote with Cinda. I often find reverse applique easier.

Kathy Moore



Hello friends-'Jumped another rabbit' as we say here in NC when the subject changes abruptly! I recommend tea tree oil (the real stuff) for funguses (athletes foot etc.) and persistent ear problems. I always travel with it since I have a tender ear and flying acerbates problems. Formula for tender ear: 3 parts tea tree oil to 1 part sweet oil (simply refined olive oil). Mix in little glass bottle, take off top, and heat slightly in microwave till just warm (10-15 seconds). Lay down with a towel protecting the pillow. Use eye dropper if you have it or just carefully pour warm oil into ear and let it settle for 10 minutes. Use towel to absorb extra oil, then turn over and do other (always do both ears). If you do this before going to bed, you'll often lick that ear infection before it gets nasty. My Mom told me that Aussie soldiers in WWII had tea tree oil in their first aid kits and it was sucessful against 'jungle rot' when they used it. Again, when my parents shipped out to Cairo Egypt in 1947, tea tree oil was included in their tropical first aid supplies. Until the 1980s when tea tree oil started to be used in shampoos, it was not common here. Now the real stuff (expensive $8-15) is available in almost all health food stores and many pharmacies. Warning: it has a strong medicinal smell (from eucalyptus trees) but you get used to it. All you needed to know etc. and maybe some of our friends from Oz can give us more tea tree info? Pepper from the cloudy and windy NC coast


In following the line of questioning with regard to the recycle of clothing for use in quilts; as part of the Connecticut Quilt Search Project documenting over 4000 quilts in this state, it did occur. We featured quite a few examples of quilts with recycled textiles in our publication. I can't give you the statistical evidence from the Project-at-large because we didn't keep that data, however, we did find quilts made with fabrics used in clothing and clothing itself. Perhaps, this is the reason not more of them survived the centuries but they are there. Bed and window hangings were another common way of reusing textiles in quilts. We have examples of those kinds of quilts also. They span a time period of hundred years. "Calico and Chintz: Early American Quilts from the Smithsonian American Art Museum" (the quilts from the Patricia Smith collection) will be opening up in Youngstown, OH this month. It was just shown in Portland, ME. If you look very closely at some of the finest quilts in that exhibit you can still see the fold lines of the hems and the tiny holes of the stitches that held those hems. I totally missed this the first two times I saw the exhibit, once, years ago at the Renwick Museum and then again in Portland. Thanks to Lorie Chase, she pointed it out to me on my second walk-around in Portland. After being shown, I identified the same markings in other quilts from the exhibit. How did I miss it? I asked myself! That group of quilts is so phenomenal and the fabrics are so drop-dead gorgeous that you become entranced by them and overlook other clues important to their history. The nineteenth-century newspaper articles about Crazy quilts that I shared over the past year, tell stories of young ladies coveting men's cravats and the linings of their jackets and hats. They go on to explain that the ladies went so far as to woo these well-adorned gentlemen just to acquire the fabrics for their crazy quilts. And how about the cowboy quilts of the southwest (Shoguns?spelling), the hired man's quilt (featured in Quilts and Quiltmakers), the waggas of Australia, and maybe the haps of Pennsylvania. These were utilitarian in purpose and made with recycled items. Often, we wondered why fabrics in a given quilt wear or fade at different rates. Too often, we attribute this to the construction and weave of the pieces, or the dyes used to color them. Recycling may be another consideration. If a piece of fabric is living its second or third life pieced into a quilt, its durability could certainly be in question. We all pull from our knowledge bank of experiences and bring that knowledge to this list. That is what makes QHL so great! These are some observations from mine. Have a great Labor Day, from Connecticut where the leaves are beginning to fall from the trees. Already! sue reich


Here comes contrary, so watch out.

I know quilts that are, in fact, made from used clothing, and quilters who sometimes used such fabrics in their quilts. Nor are these exceptional in the area where I live/grew up.

There were two reasons that accounted for this practice: sentimentality and financial need.

I've known people who would "take part of Mama's dress" to put in a patchwork quilt, especially those like the Double Wedding Ring that used lots of pieces of varied fabrics---or a child's garment or some special friend's garment.

I've also known quilters who used the less worn parts of garments along with fabrics from their scrapbags to construct quilts for everyday use. This was in the late forties, the fifties, and early sixties in the Deep South. I am sure it occurred in the 20's and 30's as well.

While members have taken it for granted that everyone sewed garments for the family, that is not true for many in the Deep South, especially for African-Americans. In many such families there is no tradition of home clothing construction, something that surprised me when I began to recognize it. I don't know if it stemmed from the inability to purchase a sewing machine. I'm sure merchants did not always extend credit to African-American women, particularly those who were the sole heads of households; and the wages for domestics were unimaginably low in many cases. Possibly it is the same reason many women do not sew clothing today--most of these women worked outside the home and probably had little time in which to get their house work done. Often they depended on hand-me-downs from their employers' families.

I can recall one such family who was part of a group that passed a sewing machine around amongst family and friends. My mother cited that as evidence of ambition and "gumption."

I also recall white women of poor or modest financial means who did not sew garments for themselves or their children. They were generally looked down on as lazy and unambitious by other women in the community, since home sewing was an act of economy that also had the advantage of providing proper fit and high quality, individualized garments. Machines were easy to obtain for this group. My mother, who was brilliant, a raconteur, a graduate of college when many women were not, always believed the families of such women had hookworms and lice, and I was cautioned not to sit next to their children on the school bus. Judging from photographs and accounts by people like James Agee, I'm sure this phenomenon occurred in the Southern Highlands as well.

I was extremely proud of my own mother's skills in sewing and rejoiced in the compliments her embellishments and sophisticated techniques (smocking, finely bound buttonholes, inner-lined suit jackets, etc) gained for me over the years. Before I entered school, I had made a doll dress "on my fingers," and by the time I entered high school, I was making garments to go with those Capezio flats and Bass Weejuns we wore. The ability to sew well conferred status among middle-class southern women of that era, I believe.

As I've read the posts related to recycling, I've realized that I do not recall anyone in our semi- rural community who quilted (my mother did not take up quilt making until I began quiltmaking) in the early fifties who would have thought of purchasing more than good domestic and perhaps a dab of fabric for sashing, borders,and binding---even if their means permitted. The Depression and WW II had created a salvage mentality. And by then, people like most of the women in my family were basking in inexpensive wool blankets and chenille and other bedspreads. They sent out scraps to quiltmakers who would assemble them any old which way and fill them with thick batts to provide those 5 quilts that so many of us recall sleeping under. Often these women simply recovered older, worn quilts with feedsack fabric (I recently discovered the first quilt I had ever encountered, a "sunflower" Dresden Plate with French knots in center, under such fabric).

Bottom line: I suspect some quilts were always products of the salvage art. They were seen as utilitarian and have been lost with time, but I feel sure they existed. And in some places, they were saved.

Like many of the writers to this list, I was reared in a home conscious of using good materials in time-intensive work. Yet I went to school with and knew many children of families for whom constraints of means or ambition led them to used the good parts of worn clothing to make quilts.




Hi List,

I recently received an advertising package from The Craftgard (registered symbol) Co. of St. George, Utah (www.craftgard.com) One of the products they carry is Quiltgard (trademark symbol), "Fabric protector with UV sunscreen. Repels liquid spills, preserves fabric for longer life, helps retard fading. Ideal for quilts and most textiles. Acid-free." Does anyone have experience with this product (or company)? Do we know if the IQSC is researching fabric protectants as they did fusibles?

Thanks in advance -

Andi in Keota, Iowa



Wow, Sue and Gail:

Great information. You know, I also attended the Calico & Chintz exhibit when it was in Maine and I never noticed that some fabrics were recycled.

You've both presented detailed testimony and raw data (examples of quilts made from recycled clothing). From all of this field data that you have amassed, do you have any specific, overall conclusion that could be summed up in a succinct statement, if only relative to your state, about this practice and these quilts?

Hope more will contribute their thoughts, too. This is great! Sharon from NC has seen a number of quilts like this, too, so the evidence is mounting in favor of this practice being more widespread than first imagined. Thanks.



Thanks Pat. I agree that quiltmaking did not evolve from only the recycling of old clothing.

In studying quilt history it should be noted, however, that recycling fabrics has always been a natural use of textiles in the home. I have seen a lot of early 1800's (and later of course) quilts that have fabrics with telltale seams or holes that indicate previous stitching. This is especially true with scrap quilts. Not that we can tell if whole quilts were made from these recycled fabrics, but still without doubt, they were used in some quilts.

If there is one certainty about quilt making it is that quilts are/were made for different reasons by different types of quiltmakers. So while the mainstream of quilters will make a quilt from purchased fabrics, there are always those who will differ, and I think that has probably always been the case.

Old clothing was used in quilts when there was a shortage of funds to purchase new fabric, and it was necessary to make quilts for warmth. We don't notice these quilts, because they were utility quilts and have worn out, or are just not the type of quilt that is sold or collected. This is one reason old ratty looking quilts should be studied, along with the gorgeous museum quality quilt. By not including these quilts in our studies, we may be missing an important part of quilt making history.

I worked in a quilt shop teaching quilt making for several years and heard a lot of family quilt making history while there. Usually these were older women who had mothers and grandmother's quilting in the early part of the 20th. C.

Some folks just will not purchase new fabrics for quilts, having learned early on to recycle fabrics, and will use only use portions of old clothing for the patchwork, and good used sheets for the backing. One lady has a whole roomful of used clothing that was given to her, or that she purchased from thrift stores, that is used for her quiltmaking. She takes pride in salvaging good fabric from clothing and making a new quilt.

There were people that looked with disdain on purchasing new fabric for quiltmaking, and would not buy it, stating that quilts should be made from scraps as their mothers had always made them. One lady said her mother would turn over in her grave, if she purchased new fabric for a quilt, LOL.

Another lady would not purchase fabrics for her quilt making, and only used fabrics given to her, but she liked a variety and would come in and go through the scrap basket for freebies. This basket was made of small remnants and scraps if fabrics and kept by the shop owner who let anyone take any fabrics they could use. She was a busy quiltmaker and made things for sale and the shop owner would put some of her quilts in the shop to sell for her.

On the subject of speakers who give incomplete information. I have heard several of them too and think that they just do not realize how little they know, and how much they have yet to learn.

I hope I will always be learning about quilts and quilt making. Laurette

> I suppose that I was making a more general observation/statement. Quilting did not evolve from the recycling of old clothes, as you well know. I am glad you asked for clarification of what I meant. > We also have to consider the "time-frame" when we speak about quilt history and look at when certain styles were popular, (whole cloth, geometrically pieced, crazy quilts, etc). Perhaps, the speaker's point of reference is her own community, or even her own family. > To infer that most all quiltmaking (historically and regularly) utilized recycled scraps, trimmed from garments, is to leave out a tremendous amount of information. While I am bothered by what the presenter stated, (especially the idea of a part of a flannel shirt being made into a quilt, as if that were the norm), I am more concerned that she or anyone speaking on the subject of quilt history would not present a fuller picture. Perhaps she didn't know the difference.


Hello Andi, The Craftgard company sent me the data from the independently performed research and testing that was done on their products, and perhaps you could ask them for it as I did. I'm not a scientist by any means of the imagination, however, if I read the independent test results correctly, they do have a basis for their claims. Most interesting was the testing that showed that fabric treated with their product would last longer before wearing out!! If I remember correctly they used a machine that simulated wear on fabric, testing treated and untreated fabrics. NAYY, just thought it was interesting. Laurette


Laurette -- did Craftgard specify the type of fabric tested? I'm thinking that sturdier cloth such as osnaburg- based or standard muslin types would hold up better in actual life as well as in testing than fineheirloom fabrics such as the Swisses. Also, how much longer is long? especially if a fabric is not subject to much wear or exposure?? I love some of the glittering generalities in promotional hype. :-D


Joan, I would have to look for the information they sent me and it was a while ago. But whatever the fabrics were, they were tested both ways, treated and untreated.

I don't want to seem to be representing this company or any of their claims, just wanted to day that I sent for information and they did send it to me. It would be best for any who are interested in it to send for and interpret the information themselves. ;-)

This is the site with their products. www.craftgard.com



Kapok comes from a tall tree in the Magnolia family that grows in Africa, The Amazon region and the East Indies. Six yards would be about 36 feet. It could be Marco Polo's reference.


Judy, aka the Ringoes Kid judygrowpatmedia.net


I'll take the challenge. I do lots of applique and I consider reverse applique harder. I think it's the worry of the underneath fabric not reaching to every point, plus there are usually more inside points than actual points. I remember doing letters in reverse applique on a complex quilt, complete with serifs, and those darn inside points were a difficulty. I chose reverse because when I do points in regular applique they tend to bend to the right (I'm a lefty) and I wanted a really sharp look. Maybe I just proved the reverse, and confirmed Cinda's theory? It is, of course, rarer, so would appear less often, making it seem for the "expert". Jean in MN


Might I add that this lovely quilt that Teddy took to Xenia's, she nearly STOLE out from under me <vbg>! I am only kidding, of course, but you do have to watch your quilt buddies when you shop, don't you?

We were able to positively date one quilt I own that has an odd seaweed sort of print (large, more like cauliflower) in it (mine has only cauliflower and muslin) by the other fabrics in her quilt. Until that time no one I had shown my quilt to had been able to pinpoint a definite timeframe, we "thought" but weren't sure.

For me, that alone made it worthwhile that Teddy got the quilt and I didn't!


In a message dated 9/6/2004 12:17:19 AM Eastern Standard Time, qhllyris.quiltropolis.com writes: And here's another type of "recycling." Just before Teddy Pruett and I headed for Lincoln, NE, for my seminar on quilt identification this summer, she told the list about an indigo/red/brown prints quilt she had found in Florida. I insisted she bring it to my house, in preparation for the class, and for the drive to Nebraska.

Teddy threw her quilt out on the floor and I goggled! I immediately brought out a quilt I had intended to take for the class; they were nearly identical! Then I showed Teddy a packet of fabric samples from the Arnold Print Works, the fall 1887 line of 108 indigo prints. These would have been sent to drygoods stores as an inducement to order for retail. When Teddy and I "tracked" the indigoes on both quilts, not only did they match, but they also appeared among the samples.

Obviously, astute quiltmakers could beg these 2"x3" rectangle samples from their local drygoods merchant when the buying season was over, and work them into their quilts. Another lesson learned


I didn't have time to write earlier regarding the posts on the 'recycled quilts'. Having had some time to think about it, and also read some other comments... I do think that there are 'regional' differences in this aspect of quilting, as in other aspects. I have done some research on Amish quilts & quilters. From what I have learned, the Amish didn't quilt before they came to the US, and they didn't start quilting until their farms were established & they were living 'above' a subsistence level. 

The early Amish quilts, from "out East" (spoken as an Iowan/Midwesterner), were mostly made from large pieces of cloth... Center Diamonds & Bars quilts, for example. These are somewhat comparable to the early American quilts (late 1700-1840s, maybe)... where you also have large pieces of fabric used, and these type of quilts were made by women in an economic class who could afford both the fabric and the time to make them. As people moved West, the "block" style of quilts became popular... probably for a variety of reasons... but being able to work on a 12" block instead of a bed-size piece was one thing... and smaller pieces of fabric meant they could use scraps. Amish quilts from the Indiana to Iowa areas are usually "block" type quilts... made when the makers were still in a lesser economic level. And also influenced by their neighbors/family members & what they were making at the time. 

I was a regional coordinator for the Iowa Quilts Research Project, and we didn't see many quilts made in Iowa until long after the Civil War. We saw quilts that were brought to Iowa that were older. So, I think when we ponder the "recycle theory" there are a lot of different ways to think about it. I think there has probably always been a 'trickle down effect' - the rich man's wife has a bed chamber outfitted with expensive fabrics, the work possibly hired to sew the quilts, valances, canopies, etc. A middleclass woman tried to emulate that look as best she can afford (an early version of Sensible Chic or Design on a Dime, VBG!!) I do feel our ancestors had to be resourceful, and I don't think they wasted much (Laura Ingalls Wilder said "the only thing we didn't use (when they butchered a hog) was the squeal") 

I've read about clothing that was cut down for younger/smaller wearers, clothing that was modified to try to stay with current design trends, etc. Another aspect is that simple piecing was how young girls were taught to sew... four patches and nine patches... and probably the expensive yard goods were not cut up for that... scrapbags were often mentioned & used- and these probably had fabric from garments, whether leftover from construction, or cut down, etc. 

I think a lot of the quilts made by young girls (at least the quilts we saw in the IQRP) were hand pieced blocks, but they were often set together on a sewing machine, hand quilted (simply) and then sometimes the binding was done by machine (back over front & stitched in place). These would not have been the gorgeous applique or masterpiece quilts that were kept for good... but were the everyday bedding that got used & sometimes used up. LIW talked about tacking quilts up over the door to help keep out the winter cold, quilts used to wrap/bury the dead... it is interesting to think about all the quilts that are "gone"... for each quilt we still have to study & admire... how many others have vanished from use/abuse. OK, have rambled on way too long, but an interesting topic :) TTYL, Karan


> In New England, I have not seen quilts made from recycled clothing. I have seen Silk Crazy Quilts that have museum documentations which indicates that they were made by dressmakers, utilizing leftover scraps of "fancy fabrics". I have seen quilts made from Salesman's samples, too. > > Pat Cummings > www.quiltersmuse.com >

Dear Pat and all,

I have seen quilts with fabric recycled from clothing and written documentation of such many times in my study of early New England quilts. For example: in 1833, Sally Brown of Plymouth, Vermont wrote in her diary that she "began to piece a bed quilt out of two old calico gowns." And then there is the 1842 essay "The Patchwork Quilt" that was published in _The Lowell Offering_: "Looking to the uninterested observer like a miscellaneous collection of odd bits and ends of calico, but to me it is a precious reliquary of past treasures.... Gentle friends! It contains a piece of each of my childhood's calico gowns, and of my mother's and sisters...." In my work recently for the Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut, I found a wonderful letter written by Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) to his mother-in-law thanking her for the silk quilt made out of his wife Livy's childhood dresses. (Okay, so that quilt was made in Elmira, New York, not New England, but it was still a great bit of documentation.)

So, those are just a few bits of written documentation--I have also seen quilts pieced of fabrics with old fold lines and needle holes indicating the fabric was once a garment. There's a great silk brocade quilt at the MFA in Boston that was made from an 18th-century gown.

I think it was a common practice even here in New England to make quilts out of fabrics recycled from clothing--particularly after 1820 or so.

Best, Lynne


Lynne's post reminds me that the 1726 McCord quilt up in Montreal is pieced of dress scraps, some of them dating from the early 17th century. *thwaps self for not remembering*

Karen Evans


The (dated) 1718 silk coverlet proudly owned by the Quilters Guild of the British Isles contains re-cyled clothing. http://www.quiltersguild.org.uk/   Those who studied it and reported to the British Quilt Study Group found evidence of unpicked seams, existing seams, and a section of fabric showing evidence of the decorative slashing or pink of dress fabric of the 17th century.

But this extraordinary decorative silk coverlet seems not to be the product of utility thrift, rather a desire to work with and show off exquisite fabrics. The problem with the 'patchwork was originally thrifty recycling' statement seems to be the sub-text that goes with it from our modern perspective, with the implication that it was an activity for the poverty-stricken. The maker(s) of the 1718 coverlet definitely didn't come into that category <G>.

Speaking of modern perspectives, Xenia mentioned the quilt artist Mary Fogg, whose work she admired so much at the UK Festival of Quilts show. Mary has spent a lifetime collecting clothing from charity shops and employing her fine art training to produce painterly yet warm and useable quilts from tweeds, woollens, corduroys, even sixties lurex dresses. I don't think that comes under the category of peverty-stricken thrift either.

Sally W

-- Sally ('Tatters') Ward


Thanks for the great information, Lynne. I really appreciate your having taken the time to write. Due to all of these posts, we are beginning to get a more complete picture, and I am so happy that so many are joining in this fascinating discussion.

I never have a need to be personally correct about anything, as much as I have a need to learn and understand the truth. I'm so happy to have started this thread because I think we are all learning a lot.

Pat Cummings


I never have a need to be personally correct about anything, as much as I have a need to learn and understand the truth. I'm so happy to have started this thread because I think we are all learning a lot.

Pat Cummings

I thank you for starting this discussion as well. I have learned a lot and found it fascinating.

Has Lynne written a book on early New England quilts? If so what is the title I am very interested in New England quilts and would love to learn more. Do you know of any books on New England quilts ......want to make sure I have them all in my library!!!!! Thanks, Kathie in NJ


Pepper asked: >>> maybe some of our friends from Oz can give us more tea tree info?

Here is an Australian link that may be of interest: http://www.oilsofnature.com.au/

There is also for sale an 87-page booklet on the medicinal uses: http://www.australia-fare.com/soap7.htm

and the crowning glory is this site: http://www.emufire.com.au/html/E_haemorrhoid.htm

Truly more than you ever wished to know.

This is my first post to the list - just a quilt lover from Melbourne Australia. I am somewhat overcome with all the knowledge and experience on this list but I am enjoying it immensely. Regards Janet



The two books that pop to mind are:

Northern Comfort: New England's Early Quilts: 1780 - 1850 by Lynne Z. Bassett and Jack Larkin (Rutledge Hill Press: copyright Old Sturbridge Village, 1998).

Quilts and Quiltmakers: Covering Connecticut, The Connecticut Quilt Search Project, (Schiffer Publishing: 2002)

and another that I can't find at the moment in my home library: New England Quilts by Jennifer Gilbert. (Jennifer was curator of the New England Quilt Museum in Lowell and is now Executive Director).

These are all wonderful books!



A few more books about New England quilts are:

Richard Cleveland and Donna Bister, _Plain and Fancy: Vermont's People and Their Quilts as a Reflection of America_ (The Quilt Digest Press, 1991). Linda Welters and Margaret Ordonez, eds. _Down by the Old Mill Stream: Quilts in Rhode Island_ (The Kent State University Press, 2000). Lynne Z. Bassett, ed. _What's New England About New England Quilts? Proceedings of a Symposium at Old Sturbridge Village (OSV 1999).

The citation for Jenny Gilbert's book is: _The New England Quilt Museum Quilts, Featuring the Story of the Mill Girls_ (C & T Publishing, 1999).

If I may also plug an essay that I wrote: "'A Dull Business Alone': Cooperative Quilting in New England, 1750-1850," in _Textiles in New England II: Four Centuries of Material Life, The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklife Annual Proceedings 1999_ (Boston University Press, 2001).

Happy reading, Kathie!

Best, Lynne


On the question of reverse applique being "harder" than regular applique, it's my experience that one is no more difficult than the other. There IS a difference however because it is much easier to do a good job applqueing to a solid background. If you make a placement mistake, you can simply rip out and reposition. If, however, you make a placement mistake in reverse applique, you have cut into the big background piece and will have to think of something creative to hide it. (A butterfly???) Denise Nordberg in NE Pennsylvania where the sun is shining

While at Walgreen's yesterday, I checked out the contents of foot creams. Most contain some form of urea. Specifically, FLEXITOL (made in Australia) "contains 25% chemically synthesized urea" and lanolin.

One aspect of quilts that has not entered into this discussion is sewing thread. Patchwork requires a lot of thread. According to Jenny Yearous in "Stitches in Time: The Development of Sewing Thread in the Nineteenth Century and Beyond" in Uncoverings 1998, "before 1800, textiles were sewn with silk or linen thread and rarely, homespun cotton or wool thread." Generally then, I think, the expense of the thread alone would prohibit anyone but the upper classes making quilts.


Laurette and all -- here is the reply from Craftguard regarding its repellant. I am not a chemist so not quite sure about the oil even though it is acid free. Also this product is not a surface protector but is a permeate [i think that's a legit word :-D ] so becomes a property of the fabric. It is still not clear to me if this will cause any damage in the long run. If Meg is on this list or the museum people can ask their conservationists to enlighten, hopefully they can give a clearer answer.

The primary ingredient in Craftgard is petroleum distillate. It is acid-free and ideal for any fiber-based fabric. Instead of coating the surface of the fabric, Craftgard wicks into the fiber and bonds to it so it won't wear off from use. This type of protection will strengthen the fibers and as such extend the life of the fabric acting as a preserver, as well as repelling liquid, soil and grease -- especially oils that transfer from handling or use.


I don't know what Quiltgard is, perhaps it is similar to Craftguard.

Quiltgard, UV Fabric Protector (sunscreen for your quilts) used and recommended by Caryl Bryer Fallert.

She sells it on her website, http://www.bryerpatch.com


Hmm,.... I remember a discussion we had here some time ago regarding flame retardant treatment for quilts. Seems to me that a petroleum distillate would achieve the opposite effect.... so maybe we can't protect from UV damage and fire at the same time.

I think I'll keep using neither.


Sharon -- yes, I vaguely remember various threads on protectants, and it seemed while they might be fine for today's modern polys and cottons and for craft items, there are no long-term assurances. My questions concerning heirloom and fine fabrics went unanswered as well as duration of protectant. An acid-free product doesn't eliminate acid buildup in fabric so I think your decision to keep using neither is right on. :-D

Christine -- Possibly Craftguard makes Quiltguard. Quiltgard is sold everywhere, even at Joannes.

Sharon's wrote:

>Hmm,.... I remember a discussion we had here some time ago regarding flame >retardant treatment for quilts. Seems to me that a petroleum distillate >would achieve the opposite effect.... so maybe we can't protect from UV >damage and fire at the same time. > >I think I'll keep using neither. >

In a message dated 9/7/2004 2:31:55 PM Eastern Standard Time, sister3603yahoo.com writes: While at Walgreen's yesterday, I checked out the contents of foot creams. Most contain some form of urea. Specifically, FLEXITOL (made in Australia) "contains 25% chemically synthesized urea" and lanolin. Thank you for your input on this subject. I have gotten many informative, interesting, and historically oriented replies to my question. It appears that there is more than a modicum of truth to the old info (what we called "old wive's tales in our house). I know that a lot of research has gone into evaluating some of the old remedies and it appears some have been proven to be on the right track. You learn something new everyday on this list every day. Just love it! Thanks again. Carol Grace


Hello all,

I am usually a dedicated lurker, but this is one I can chime in on. IMHO, I would have to say that I feel that reverse applique is about the same difficulty to execute as needle turn. However, I personally find it to be more relaxing for some reason. Just my two cents...

Happily Stitching Away,

Karen Portwood Oxford, OH


Nearly four hundred quilts from the Jonathan Holstein Collection were recently added to the International Quilt Study Center™s (IQSC) online image database - bringing the total to more than 1600 quilts. The Jonathan Holstein Collection, one of the most historically important collections in existence, includes the most exhibited, reproduced and seen of any American quilts. Of special note is the group of 58 quilts shown at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1971, more than 100 Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, and Midwestern Amish quilts, and a wide range of additional pieced and appliqué quilts and related quilt material. The IQSC™s online image database allows anyone, anywhere, anytime to search the Holstein Collection, as well as the 930-piece Ardis and Robert James Collection, the 156-piece Robert and Helen Cargo African-American Quilt Collection, and the 90-piece Sara Miller Amish Crib Quilt Collection. Searching capabilities include searching by pattern name, quiltmaker, location of origin, date, and predominant technique, among others. In addition, searching by exhibition name allows users to create a virtual quilt show on their computer screen. For instance, with a few clicks of the computer mouse, a visitor can view the Holstein Collection quilts that were featured in the 1971 exhibition œAbstract Design in American Quilts at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, long considered by quilt scholars as pivotal in igniting the quilt renaissance of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Visit the IQSC™s online image database at: http://quiltstudy.unl.edu

Carolyn Ducey Curator International Quilt Study Center HE 234, University of Nebraska Lincoln, NE 68583-0838 402/472-6301b


Pat Cummings has created a new section on her website devoted to opinions by guest contributors -- Jan Drescher and Leigh Fellner among those so far. Also letters from curators at an UGRR museum in Ripley OH.



Oh Marcia, Marcia, what ARE we going to do about you? First, that odd predeliction for rattlesnakes and now a calendar problem. And how long have you been a reborn Texan?

Okay, the DSQSG is one entity. It probably needs another name, but so far, its members have come mainly from western Alabama to Arkansan to DFW south--biggest number from TX, LA, AR, though there is promise more Mississippians will be joining us this coming year. It meets annually 1st or 2nd weekend in February. It is a gathering of utterly charming women (we had one or two men briefly last year) who meet to study quilts, textiles, quiltmaking, and to eat. Think of it as an area study group where folks just live farther apart than in Northeast. We have fewer people down here once you get outside those big TX cities, you know. More dispersed, so to speak--but with no dilution of the charm, wit, vivacity, and appetite.

The Conference on Southern Quilts is yet another thing altogether. It is hoped to be a big fat gathering of Southerners ranging from VA to Texas and what is left of Florida. That is where you will be holding forth on serpents. It meets September 16-17, 2005 at Metropolitan Library in Nashville, where a really lovely woman in the library has promised to bake sweet potato pies for one and all. It is being co-sponsored by the library and thus we may use their facilities free of charge. The Carolinians, Virginians (plain and West) and border staters and---well, the truth is, anyone can come to this one, though we will look at and focus on Quilts and Quiltmaking that was born and bred in the South. Will see what we find. The DSQSG and the Lynn Gorgeous-PepCory tag team's groups will join with the library in sponsoring this, mainly because those are the only southern study groups now organized.

Filled with sweetness & light, Mizrus Gail

> From: "Marcia Kaylakie" <marciarkearthlink.net> > Reply-To: "Quilt History List" <qhllyris.quiltropolis.com> > Date: Wed, 8 Sep 2004 15:52:22 -0500 > To: "Quilt History List" <qhllyris.quiltropolis.com> > Subject: [qhl] dates for Deep South Study Conference > > Dear Mizruz Gail, > Well, once again I am confused (like when am I not?) . I had held out the > month of September for a Deep South Quilt Study Group and wondered if the > Conference in Feb. 2005 was taking precedence on this date, or are the two > separate events? If Sept. is not going to happen, I need to release it to > book programs, etc. Just give me a holler in the next few days to let me > know, OK? Thanks, hugs, Me


Subject: Photos are up From: "J. G. Row" <JudyGrowpatmedia.net> Date: Wed, 8 Sep 2004 22:30:49 -0400 X-Message-Number: 1

Kris has told me that the photos from the SQSG May and July meetings (in Ringoes, and at the Montgomeryville Historic Society) are now up on the study group site on Quilthistory.com.

There are a lot of wonderful quilts to see there.

Judy, aka the Ringoes Kid judygrowpatmedia.net



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