Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Photographing Your Antique Quilt Collection

So last night I was looking at a quilt reference book called the Index of Aunt Martha quilt patterns by Rose Lea Alboum. I was looking to see if the doll patterns I posted about were maybe from Aunt Martha.

But I found something else, a quilt I own.  I was able to go to my pictures and verify that, yes this is the quilt in my collection. I was very excited by the find.

Rosy Wreath

Which made me so happy that I have photographed my antique quilt collection. Even if you only have one antique quilt, please get busy and photograph your quilt. Take the time to get them photographed for your own records.  Then you will have them available to share easily on a website, email, or facebook pages. I have a huge collection of quilts and have been organizing and photographing them since retirement.  There is no way I can keep track of them without a visual aid.  I spend hours just looking at my own quilt pictures.  That is the reason I started the FB group Quilts-Vintage and Antique in 2009.  I really wanted others to see my quilts, which will never be in a museum or book.  I also thought “I know there are others who have antique quilts they love and would like others to see”.  You only reach so many people with trunk shows. The FB group is now over 1600 members and over 5000 pictures of vintage and antique quilts. The group page has been instrumental in identifying quilts and patterns. There has been many connection made between owners of quilts that have the same family history, or a quilts made by the same person. It is this networking that is so exciting in the quilt world. And it is not going away. The digital age is here to stay. I do not feel proprietary in regards to my quilts or the information I have gathered.   I am their care giver and guardian for a while. After all what good does any of it do if we can not pass the information to others interested quilts and their history. Who will come after me? 

There are many different programs you can use to store your digital photos on your computer.  My personal favorite is Picasa by Google.  It is free to download, I like the way I can have albums and then files within the album. They easily get imported directly to Picasa from my camera. I can crop them, straighten them, add text, print them, email them, export them, and include a watermark on them.  I am not the best photographer, but I am getting better.  And I love to look at my quilts on my computer or my iPad.  I am now going through old paper photos of quilts I no longer have and scanning them so they will be digital on my computer.

I understand all your excuses for not photographing your quilt.  Probably the biggest is no space to take the photo.  Digital pictures are so easy to take and store on your computer.  Outside on a clothesline is a great place to photograph quilts.  Enlist the help of two friends or family members to hold your quilt while you photograph.  If you have a lot of quilts, invest in a quilt stand and some clips to hold your quilts. Take it to your quilt guild meeting and ask for help.  Ask your local quilt store if you can bring it in to photograph.  You can get reasonable good pictures. The worst place is on a floor or bed.

I can hear some of you now, but my quilt is nothing special.  It is special to you.  Please share your antique and vintage quilts somewhere, anywhere.  Don’t hide them under the bed.  Yes, you know who you are!!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Red and Green Quilt

Recently I had the chance to do some antique quilt shopping in Massachusetts. I did not want to purchase this quilt and it is all my husband’s fault that it now resides in Arizona.  I had found a couple of quilts I wanted and was purchasing them, when DH came back holding this quilt, which we had looked at, and I had rejected.  I saw it only as an unfinished project, which I have way more than I will ever finish in two life times. But here he comes up the aisle with this quilt and insist that we buy it.  He liked the red and green and the price.  As a quilt maker, as well as an antique quilt collector, I knew it would be a real challenge to put a binding on the quilt, and besides it had this kind of weird extra piece.  I wasn’t real sure what the maker had intended. Now that I have had a chance to look at the quilt, I am still not real happy that we bought the quilt. But we did figure out what the extra piece was for.

Actually it was, at one time, a part of the original design of the quilt. But someone, at sometime, cut it off the quilt. The piece fits perfectly. It is very hard to date a quilt with solid colors, but the original construction dates it earlier than I would have thought.  Second quarter of the 19th century, I think. It looks like it would fit a twin bed perfectly with just the right drop around four posters. What do you think?

 15.5 inch x 15.5 inch block without any sashing. A very pretty, well done design, all hand pieced.
I could not find this in BB Encyclopedia, I admit I don't know how to use it with much success.  
My eye/brain has a hard time recognizing a pattern from a black and white drawing.

 Very thin cotton batting.

 Back of quilt, can you see the colored thread? Very nice 8 stitches to the inch quilting.

See the holes on the edge of the backing? Looks like it was quilted in a frame.

Would you try to put a binding on the quilt or leave as is? What would I do with the extra piece?  
It cannot be reattached.