Tuesday, January 19, 2016

More Mingei Museum quilts

So glad you could join me again as we tour the quilts recently on display at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park, San Diego, CA. Let's head up to the second floor!
Charm Quilt - Thousand Pyramids 1880s

Up here we find on display wonderful folk art items from each of the 50 states.  The first quilt is this amazing scrap quilt from Connecticut.  See how the top and bottom rows are done with just muslin and grey print to make a border, while the rest is a delightful scrappy mix?

Our next quilt is from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  This signature quilt has the names of members of the Bean family embroidered on each block in a lovely cross-stitch.  So different from the usual running stitch embroidered signatures that one usually sees on a quilt.

The colors are unusually vibrant for a quilt of this age and it is in excellent condition.  It is also unusually loosely quilted for a quilt dated 1858.  I would have guessed 1970's at first glance.

Signature Quilt - Bean Family 1858

Album Quilt - Mrs. Stephen MacDonald (Sarah Jane Trigg)
1850, Ellicott City, Maryland
Maryland Historical Society Collection
Here is a wonderful Baltimore Album quilt from Maryland. I am constantly amazed at this style of quilt.  The detailed applique truly is a work of art, and something I never would have the patience to attempt.  

Which block is your favorite?  The eagle in the second row, the wreath of grapes in the top row, or the floral basket next to it are three of my favorites.

A little farther along we find this Hexagon Star quilt from Virginia.  Tightly quilted in diagonal parallel lines, this quilt is scrappy and fun.  It's called a charm quilt, which indicates no two fabrics in the hexagons are alike.  I didn't check to see if that was true, but I found one red hexagon that was a 'make do,' with a little seaming to add a bit more of a different fabric to make it fit.  Our quilting sisters didn't hesitate to make little fixes like that, and they didn't hide them in the corners either!

Hexagon Stars Charm Quilt 1880s
Nearby, from West Virginia, is this sweet 1920's quilt made from a published pattern.  I love the log cabin center medallion and the fence post borders.  Such soft colors!  It is densely quilted with cross-hatching and scallops.  Another puzzle for me, as this one is also labeled as a signature quilt.  I'm so used to that meaning a quilt with multiple names on it, but clearly that is not the case here.
Signature Quilt - Cora Teets 1920's - 1030's
West Virginia

Housetop Quilt 1920's
Gees Bend, Alabama
Oh my!  Here's a quilt from Gee's Bend, Alabama! This distinctive quilting style, which began on a cotton plantation owned by Joseph Gee, and attained international attention about 10 years ago, mixes bold colors, asymmetry and improvisation.  A uniquely African American art.  

This quilt is a bit more subdued in color than many others of it's style.  What do you think the "A" in the center is for?  Alabama?  

Here's another in a similar style.  This one is called the Hired Man's Quilt and was made in Louisiana by an African American quilt maker. Very densely quilted, this quilt has a pleasing mixture of solids and scraps in soft, worn colors.  Looking at the photo, I see something I did not see in the museum.  The initials B. K. might be seen amid the plaids.
Hired Man's Quilt  c. 1925 Louisiana
One more quilt in this group, and it's very unusual.  It's made from Socks!  Yes, stocking tops.  The W.B. Davis Hosiery Factory in Fort Payne, Alabama made socks.  The 'tops' were made separately from the 'feet' and were sold by the pound.  Ida Jones, the maker of this quilt, acquired the tops from her sister-in-law who worked at the factory.  The backing was acquired from the Agricultural Extension office as part of a New Deal program to aid farm women. Ida made two sock top quilts.  The other one is in the Smithsonian Institution.  High praise indeed, Ida! The knit fabrics must have been tough to work with but I imagine it is one soft, cuddly quilt. The sock tops are hand quilted in an overall basket-weave.

Sock Top Quilt, Ida Jones
Fyffe, Alabama 1934
Alabama Department of Archives and History
That's all for now.  One more museum post to come next week.  Thanks for joining me!

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