Sunday, September 26, 2010

Quilts and Dolls

At the Study Day I was invited to join the Midwest Fabric Study Group, which is a group that studies fabric, quilts, and quilt history. My first meeting was last weekend in Worthington, Ohio. Worthington is a charming historic town founded in 1803, and many of the city's original commercial buildings and churches still stand today around the public square. Worthington is completely surrounded by Columbus, the state capital, but still remains a separate city. It was the perfect setting for our day of dolls and quilts.

The day was organized by Amy Korn, and we started by meeting at the Worthington Library for registration and refreshments. Amy had a nice display of doll quilts and books at the head of the room for us to check out while eating muffins and drinking coffee. She started the meeting at 10 by going over the day's schedule, and then gave her presentation on Doll and Crib Quilts. First she covered the history and uses of crib quilt. Quilts were used for padding on the floor, as a source of amusement and stimulation for children, and as a means of family bonding when older children learned sewing by making quilts for their younger siblings. While some quilts are badly worn from being used, some are in pristine condition, and Amy gave us some possible reasons for this. Some women made crib quilts, but then remained unmarried or childless, and infant mortality was high, resulting in some quilts not seeing much use.

In 1841 Catherine Beecher, sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, advocated that children sleep in their own cradle instead of their parent's bed. This resulted in the need for more children's quilts. At first, patterns from large quilts such as nine patch and honey bee were used. By the 20's and 30's, childhood scenes and pastel colors were in vogue.

Amy next gave us some of Mary Ghormley's tips for collecting doll quilts. The Ghormley collection of doll quilts is currently on display through Dec. 12 at the International Quilt Study Center in Lincoln, NE. To tell if a quilt is a true doll quilt you should check to see if the binding is original, if the the pattern to scale, is the whole pattern represented on the quilt, and not cut down, and does the quilting go to the edge of the piece. We also received a handout listing books and other resources for doll and crib quilts, including Small Endearments, A Child's Comfort, and the book on the Ghormley collection, Childhood Treasures, by Merikay Waldvogel.

Next we had show and tell, with members bringing dolls and quilts from their own collection. Cindy Claycamp brought several of her antique dolls, including this intriguing metal headed doll.

This Queen Anne style doll was made by Dale Drake and her daughter Andrea for Cindy.

And more of Cindy's dolls ~

We saw quilts that were appliqued,


and pieced.

There were many, many more quilts, and I will get lots more pictures up on my Flickr site in the next couple of days.

Our next presentation was Sheila Holland and her amazing miniature quilts. She had a wonderful display set up at the front of the room as a backdrop for her talk.

Her husband Vern handed out packets to us during the talk, and what treasures they held! All hand made by Sheila, she even pours her own beeswax, which is in the little box that I couldn't bear to open. She gave us samples of the needles and pins she uses, sample templates, and a booklet with her tips for making miniatures.

Sheila explained that a true miniature is a 1" to 12" ratio, meaning a 12" square of a large quilt is reduced to a 1" square. She said that she tries to make hers so that when you look at it you don't know it's a miniature, and she definitely succeeds at it.

She gave us tips on the right way to cut patterns, how to pick a batting, printing templates, and what needles and thread she uses. Then she showed us her portfolio, and it was amazing to see.

She also told us about a new light bulb that Ott-lite put out that works in a regular lamp.

Her presentation was so awesome and inspiring, I can't wait to try out her tips and see what I can do.

At this point we broke for lunch. I've spent a lot of time in Worthington, but never eaten at the La Chatelaine restaurant. It was my loss, as I highly recommend it if you are in the area. The seafood sausage baguette was wonderful, and I snagged the last flan, which was the envy of all at the table, and even a couple of people walking by!

After lunch we assembled at the Doll Museum at the Old Rectory to take a tour with docent Sue Whitaker. The Old Rectory was built in 1845 for St. John's Episcopal Church, and has been moved twice, the last to it's present location. They had the most unbelievable doll collection! Although we couldn't take pictures, I'm including pictures of dolls to represent the ones in their collection.

The most stunning was an Izannah Walker, which was in pristine condition. It looked like it was just painted, and in all original clothing, including red leather shoes. For all the information you could ever want on Izannah Walker and her dolls, visit Dixie Redmond's site, Izannah Walker Chronicles, devoted to all things Izannah. She has an online class on making your own Izannah currently going on, too.
The museum does have a picture of their Izannah on their website, so be sure to take a peek.

They had a Joel Ellis Springfield Wooden, which had some paint loss on the head, as do almost all examples of this doll. It's wooden head swells and contracts over time, making the paint flake off, but these are spectacular dolls, wooden with jointed limbs and cast metal hands and feet.

Next, a Greiner, a personal favorite. She was wearing an open cage hoop skirt.

They also had milliner's models, French Fashion dolls, wax dolls, and more. If you are a doll aficionado, this is definitely worth a visit.

The also currently have a Parade of Doll Homes exhibit, with doll house from Bliss, Gottschalk, and others. Here is another link to Moritz Gottschalk house. Be sure to click the link for more pictures.

Our next stop was the Orange-Johnson House, an historic house partly built in 1811, and is one of the oldest houses in it's original location in Central Ohio. This is another "must see" if you are in the area. A truly amazing selection of quilts awaited us, laid out on beds in three rooms. On the top of the first bed was a breathtaking signature quilt in red and white, with a red zig-zag design around the border. I quickly whipped up this block to show you the pattern, so be kind on my stitches. :)

There are several examples of this block used on quilts in the book Quilts of Virginia. The makers of one quilt called the pattern "Apple Pie Ridge Star," and it is found in several Quaker quilts. Quaker's migrated to the area around Winchester, Virginia from Hopewell, Pennsylvania, attracted to it's fertile land. They established Hopewill Meeting in 1734. The road running through the area along a ridge was call The Ridge Road. During the Revolutionary War, captured Hessian soldiers would walk along the road to the quaker settlement to eat the apple pies they baked, and the road's name was changed to Apple Pie Ridge Road by 1801.

This was a signature quilt, with the signatures written in the center of the Apple Pie blocks. In the center of the quilt is this block.

I did a little research, and the Wright's were a very prominent family in the Wilminton area in the mid-1700 to mid 1800's, and the Matriarch's name was Susan. The time frame is not right, but it would be interesting to do the genealogy and see if this was possibly made for a descendant, and to see if the signatures could be matched to the area as well.

In the next room were some heavily quilted and red and green quilts with elaborate stuffed work. Words cannot describe them, so I won't even try. In the third room was a red and green Prince's Feather quilt with an elaborate crest, with "M.T.B., Prince's Feather, Cambridge, Ohio" quilted and stuffed in the center. It was breathtaking. I couldn't help but think how much easier it would be on quilt historians if all quilt maker's had quilted the name of their pattern on their quilt!

That ended our fascinating and educational day, with so many rarely seen dolls, and so many spectacular quilts. Thanks to Amy Korn and Sheila Holland, for their presentations, and Amy for arranging the day. Special thanks to Sharon Pinka, who put me up for the weekend, and chauferred me around! We made a stop at Jo-Ann's on the way home, and I picked up one of Sheila's tips, a Xyron sticker maker, which she used to make her small templates adhere to the fabric. I'm still not sure how it works, but I can't wait to put it to use!


Jan said...

What a wonderful post! Were you able to sleep at night?! It was great to see these, thanks.

Beth said...

What an awesome pictorial display, Lisa! Did you take any dolls to share? Thanks so much for this quilt and doll appetizer :-)


Dorothy said...

Absolutely wonderful.

Kathie said...

what a great post, ah I love these doll quilts. As you know I have been making a few from Mary's book, now I have a few new ones as inspiration for my own collection of doll quilts.
I Love that apple pie ridge star quilt block, do you have a picture of the whole quilt?
oh thank you for sharing your day with us and I am going to have to look for those light bulbs too.

Lori said...

Wow! That sounds like a full day of wonderful quilts and dolls. I'm especially fond of crib quilts and it was good to read your post.
The dolls are so amazing and precious!!

YankeeQuilter said...

Thanks for sharing such a great post! What a wonderful day you had...

Linda said...

I so enjoyed reading your post and seeing the pictures! You gave an indication of the size of the miniature quilts, but was wondering the average size of the crib and doll quilts.

Also, thanks for the heads up on the light bulb from Ottlight.

Does Sheila Holland have a website or blog?

Sheila said...

Trying again to leave a comment. Your blog is so informative. Keep up the good work.

Lisa said...

Linda, I can't find an email address for you, but here is Sheila's blog address: I can give you sizes for various quilts if you will email me.

Taryn said...

Those miniatures are amazing!! The handout she gave you is such a treat. How special. Thanks for another great peek into a wonderful quilty day you had. Looking forward to your post about the red and green show coming up this weekend.

Janet said...

What a fantastic day, so inspiring to read about the doll and crib quilts as well as the miniatures. You came away with some real treasures from Shiela too. I hope we get the ott light bulbs here. I'm going to check out the flickr photos in the hopes you have some of the red and green quilts. Thanks for a wonderful post.

Heirlooms by Ashton House said...

What an informative post! I enjoyed the history that you incorporated into it and your photos were wonderful. It would have been so much fun to have participated in your study group meeting! I love both dolls and doll quilts, so it was quite a treat to read about it. Thank you so much for sharing your day with us!

Shasta said...

What a wonderful opportunity to see these beautiful things. I would love to go if they ever do this again. Is there a website or anything to get further information?

Anonymous said...

Lisa, oh what eye candy!! i was mesmerised as i read this amazing post..and just a tad green with envy i might add lol. i love and collect vintage quilts & quilt blocks. btw i wouldn't mind owning one of those darling vintage dolls either! now i'm going to go and check out the books you mentioned. cheers, Marian

Karen said...

I am so glad to have stumbled upon your blog. This post is wonderfully informative. So many beautiful pictures. I wish our own local study group was this active. I will be referring back to this post to visit the sites you referenced. I think it will keep me happily busy for some time.