September 26, 2012

1900 crazy quilt

I've been readying a crazy quilt top for hanging, and thought I'd share some photos with you.  Like the six-pointed star quilt and the hippie crazy quilt, this is a wonderful collection of fabrics of its era, a good reference collection of colors and print styles.  

I think this quilt was made in or around the first decade of the 1900s.  Like any scrap bag quilt, there are several decades of fabrics represented.  The majority of these fabrics date to the 1890s and 19-oughts, and with some maybe from the 1880s.  

Hallmarks of this era are two color prints and prints with less fine detailing than those from earlier in the 1800s.  Many of these prints are on a solid rather than a detailed background. The so-called "mourning prints", black on white prints with enough patterning to look like black and grey, also date to this era.  There are also some "double pinks" which were popular for so many decades that they are not a very good time marker.  The color palette of red, brown, black, navy, and the lighter "cadet blue" is pretty common for these decades.  The reds, as here, can be quite bright by comparison to reds earlier in the 1800s.  

This is a quilt top, never finished, and therefore probably never used.  So it presents all these fabrics in pretty much their original colors.  It's a great reminder that keeping a quilt away from the fading and stresses of everyday use, washing, and daylight can really make a difference in the longevity of the quilt.

And check out the purple and green on black prints in these two blocks - so very 1890s.

A book I find very helpful for learning about fabrics through the decades is Dating Fabrics: A color guide 1800-1960 by Eileen Trestain.  It has pages and pages of swatch-sized photos for each stylistic era, arranged according to color.

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