Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Vintage Thingy Thursday: quilt top



This is post # 152 for my blog, so it's really time for another giveaway, but we'll have to wait. On to this week's vintage quilt item. Purchased off eBay in the last 6 months, I am pretty sure this crazy quilt top was made near Wabash, Indiana. That is because it is pieced on pages from a Wabash newspaper, March 1930.




Above you can see the date of March 3, 1930. It's hard to imagine how bleak this time was, about 6 months or so after the stock market crash of October 1929. Note also the ad for the store closing, selling 10 yards of muslin for 79 cents. But you still can't buy it if you have no job, and you have no cash.


Just LOOK at the prices here. Whole chickens actually have increased LESS in price percentage-wise, (0.35 to $1.19 lb for whole chicken, 240%, based on my local prices), than the hamburger has (0.25 to $2.69 lb or 976%). Again, time to be frugal when the husband has no job. And feeding a family is top priority, not buying muslin, or dresses, no matter how marked down.


Also note how this quilt was made, which may not be obvious in the first picture. Fabric scraps from earlier in the 1900's (note the dark blue and red and pink fabrics) have been placed on the newspaper foundation, and then their edges turned under, and machine top-sewed. Most quilters today would use a sew and flip method, as would quilters doing string-piecing on newspaper in the past. Or a hand applique stitch. Why this method?

I have another quilt top similar to this, feedsack pieces placed on a large striped feedsack, with edges turned under and machine top-stitched just like this. It's pretty wild-looking.

When I was starting out as a quilter in my late teens (many years ago!), I thought a crazy quilt was done this way, as I had never seen any, and the women of my family did not quilt.
So was this maker young, or inexperienced? Or was this a fad or style in the 1930's? I have not seen quilts like this in quilt history books.

viridian

22 comments:

Tara Beaulieu said...

What an interesting piece! I know nothing about quilting and I loved reading about the history and your knowledge of how these items were pieced together. Fascinating!

Stacey said...

I'm not a quilter (but desperately wish I were) so I'm not sure about your question. But your piece is an interesting look into early 20th c. textiles.

P. said...

Good questions about why the quilter chose that technique. It's if the pieces were appliqued onto the newspaper. Very interesting, but a lovely quilt and bit of history all the same!

LV said...

I enjoyed seeing and reading about all your vintage things today. Anything to do with a quilt, is an eye catcher for me.

Maureen said...

So very, very interesting. I am not a quilter either so the addition of paper to the back was something new to me.

Coloradolady said...

This is so interesting....I really love looking at all the newspaper ads....imagine indeed how bleak things must have been. This is a real piece of history, the fabrics and the back. Love it. Have a great VTT!

CC said...

I so love quilts and quilting. And like you, to do a crazy quilt or string quilt pieced on paper, I've always done the sew and flip. What a wonderful quilt top you have..it's fascinating not only looking at the fabric, but to actually be able to read part of the newspaper and realize that time in history was some of our hardest times..I wonder..who she was that took the time to make this top.Oooo,the stories our quilts could tell...
Happy VTT and thank you so much for showing this beautiful top.

CollectIn Texas Gal said...

I have a theory...the odd shapped pieces don't fit the usual string pieced method of that time, so in order to fit and cover the raw edge, the odd pieces' edges are turned under and stitched over the other pieces to cover their raw edges. I have seen this done in quilt tops on paper of this same age...it is not an accomplished quilters technique. I haven't seen it in any books either.

Postcardy said...

I love both the front and back of this quilt. I think the pieces are top-stitched to make maximum use of the small odd shaped scraps and the machine stitching was done because it was easier than hand applique.

thasnifty said...

The quilt is lovely. I know nothing about quilts, but I sure love looking at them and seeing the old fabrics.

Happy VTT too
-brightest blessings-
Karina

The Crazy Suburban Mom said...

Wow, This is the coolest thing. I don't do quilts so normally there isnt much for me to relate to on quilt posts. I would love to be able to do them but im not precise...but this was totally absorbing. to be able to find this kind of stuff out is ...wow. amazing!

Happy VTT
Tracy

quiltfool said...

That is a beautiful quilt top. I hope you enjoy it. Are you going to quilt it or leave it? That would be a hard decision. Lane

AshTreeCottage said...

I am just fascinated by this quilt. Thanks for a great post. I posted about a crazy quilt today too.

Love,
Susan and Bentley
xxoo

Debbie said...

I have never seen a quilt made on newspaper before! But I know that my mom made quilts for function not for design so hers may not have fit a specific technique either.

Charlotte said...

I have seen quilt tops like this made by my grandmother. I called my mother and asked her why this was done. She said because they had to use scraps that were not big enough to make a square, so they would sew the pieces onto newspaper or magazines so a square could be made. Makes sense to me :)

Carrie said...

This is fascinating...I havenever seen quilting done with a newspaper backing! Thanks for sharing...

Lydia said...

I am flabbergasted by this quilt! I never knew that quilts were made with paper backing (I am not a quilter but have a lovely one my mother made for me). So, using newspaper means that this quilt would never have been washed, and I'm surprised it held up this beautifully. Since old newspapers are quite collectible, and old quilts are certainly so, it would make this a double-whammy, I would think!

viridian said...

Lydia:
The newspaper is used as a foundation to help during construction of the top. The next step is to remove the paper, carefully. Then layer with batting and a backing and quilt to finish. This person never got to that next step. But yes, this is quite collectible. I'd have to pull the paper off to finish the quilt but do I want to do that? I'd lose this history.

Cynthia L. said...

What a wonderful find! You are a very lucky person to have such a great piece of history. I think that crazy quilts are wonderful and I am in the process of making one for myself. It is a slow process because I have so many other things going on too! Really enjoyed your blog - I will be coming back to see what else you find and create!

Becky said...

Oh Lydia, what to do indeed?! I would be tempted to hang/display it as it and flip it from time to time so I could gaze at both sides.

Nana Moon said...

This is a beautiful crazy quilt. The pieces of newspaper are quite a treasure! Happy (late) VTT!

BlessedCP said...

I had no idea newspaper was used to back quilts! The paper quality must have been better then because now newspaper yellow and become brittle in a short time. What a great find for you!

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