December 21, 2015

The Joy of Conversation Prints

I recently repaired a 1940s hexagon quilt.  It was made by the owner's mother when she was a teen.  It's a smallish quilt, quite likely made for a twin bed.  There are cottons, rayons, and also, I think, a couple of silks.  It's what is generally called a summer quilt because it has no batting.  It needed several hexagons patched and a whole new back.

To be honest, this mid-century period is just not my favorite design-wise.  This is true of the fabrics and colors in the quilts as well as furniture design, and so on.  In other words, when an estate sale is full of supposedly exciting mid-century items, I usually don't go.

But this quilt taught me that I actually do like some of the fabrics from this era!  This is a good thing, since quilts of this age are coming to me more and more often for repair.

I am in love with conversation prints!  The most succinct definition of conversation (aka conversational) prints I've found (Barbara Brackman's Clues in the Calico) is that they have renditions of recognizable objects other than flowers.

Here are some goodies from this quilt:

This one fabric is a mini-world tour:

The rest of the fabrics are solids, plaids, and stripes, and what I'd call dreamy florals, medium-sized flowers made with soft brush strokes.  These kinds of prints don't seem to be very popular among the companies that print reproduction fabrics.  I'm going to have to keep an eye out for them at estate sales.

I'm including quite a few photos of these dreamy florals, because it's a look that I haven't been familiar with.




Here are swatches of the fabrics I used to patch over the torn hexagons.

My final photo is just for fun - the inside of the top after I removed the very torn backing fabric.  I like the texture, a sea of color. 

I'm glad to find a way to find fun in the mid-century style!  It reminds me of the lightbulb moment I had one fall - that instead of regretting the end of summer and dreading the coming winter, I could start to enjoy cooking soups and stews and lasagnas and breads that just can't be done in the hot weather.  And now, I'm a much happier person during the cold months.  Not warmer, just happier!  

The next post has photos of conversation prints I've found in other quilts I've repaired.


  1. Love all of this Ann. @handystitcher

    1. Great! I'm glad you agree that the coincidence of this quilt and yours is very fun.