Frans Vintage Friends

The intrepid members of Fran's Vintage Friends ventured into the teeth of the Nor'easter on Monday to meet in Myersville, MD. High winds on the Bay Bridge made the crossing particularly fun and we watched snow flurries all day, but the good stuff inside banished all thoughts of the weather.

Hazel Carter showed us a quilt just back from Sue Reich's "Happy Birthday America" exhibit. It's a modified 9-Patch with sashing of the Hail Columbia and peace shield fabric. Is that from the Grant campaign in 1868 or the Centennial? ? An album block top with cross-stitch names (1840) puzzled us with its unfamiliar fabrics.

Bunnie Jordan showed us an 1880 Chimney Sweep top with brown print setting blocks used cheddar as the background for the piecing. In the spirit of the season she produced a collection of bunny quilts and cradle covers (appliquéd and embroidered) from the 20s and 30s. We tried to think of other names that would inspire a special collection. The only suggestions we came up with were "Kitty" and "Cinderella." We saw an exquisitely quilted c.1850 MD quilt. The blocks were four bunches of grapes (red faded to brown). The grape motif is similar to designs found in some MD samplers.

We all need to go to the sampler exhibit at the MD Historical Society in Baltimore. Blocks made of 36 3/4" squares were put together as 4-Patches and combined with gray setting blocks (1890). A second quilt from the same auction had the same somber colors, but a much simpler design. A stunning four block Basket of Flowers quilt in red, yellow and green had us thinking 1850s until Debby Cooney's sharp eyes spotted "Dora Schndle 1884" in the quilting. My favorite of the day was an 1820s top with pieced Sunflowers alternating with appliquéd chintz. The quilt with T-corners was from the Philadelphia area. An Album, probably from Baltimore, dated 1848 had Designer II blocks. It came up in an auction on the Eastern Shore!!!! 

My identical-twin-separated-at-birth Suzanne had a Harriet Powers repro. She presented it rather apologetically until we all went crazy and congratulated her on her find. Her other triumph was a lovely PA German show towel dated 1799. Barb Garrett had several wishbone thimble holders and a delightful PA Four-Patch with colors bright enough to offset the gloomy weather. She also had some very nice red work although she denies being a collector of same.

I had braved the torrential downpour on Sunday to go to an antique show in Cambridge, MD. I'm so glad I did. I found a fraktur inscribed by the Footed Letter Scrivener who was the favorite of the women who owned the fraktur inscribed quilts that so fascinate me. I already own a fraktur by William Gross who inscribed the first fraktur quilt I bought. Another dealer had a leather Shaker sewing kit complete with scissors, thimble, threads, needles and some tatting. He had all the provenance tracing it to Sister Ethel Hudson the last survivor of the Canterbury Community. Now it's mine. Smalls require so much less room that quilts or even tops.

Cinda on the Eastern Shore still recovering from taking my grandchildren to the International Spy Museum. They loved it; I don't ever have to go again.

For more information, contact Fran Fitz at fjfitz@erols.com