Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

Kay Triplett, Curator for Quilt and Textile Collections, which manages the Poos Collection one of the largest privately held quilt and textile collection in the world. The Collection has an emphasis on pre-1860 quilts from France, Britain, and the United States. These antique bed coverings are divided into main categories: album quilts, wool quilts, paper pieced, white on white whole cloth quilts, red and green quilts, indigo quilts, and chintz quilts. Some age appropriate vintage fabric is also a part of the collection.

Famous Fabrics

Chintz fabric is a love, love, love of mine. So I spend a lot of time looking at these fabrics. Whenever there is an exhibit, a book, or a retreat on chintz, I try to make it a priority. When I was working on our book Chintz Quilts from the Poos Collection, I took the opportunity to assemble a list of fabrics that repeatedly appeared in quilts. I named it “Famous Fabrics” and I continue to track these beauties, whenever I see them. When Leah Zieber’s 2017 Chintz retreat was announced, you bet, I signed up! This year it was an opportunity to see the private collection of Sandy Sutton. (Sorry, but I’m not able to share any photos of the Sutton collection. Those are Sandy’s to share if she chooses.) However, everyone brings a “show...

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Paper Piecing Like You've Never Seen Before

Continuing our adventures in DC we were captivated by the Fan Quilt of Mt Carmel at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The quilt was made by the residents of Bourbon County, Kentucky originally named after the royal family of France who aided the US in the War of Independence. The Ladies Aid Society is prominently featured on the quilt with the President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer included, which leads me to speculate they had significant involvement in the creation of the quilt. I was particularly drawn to the “paper” faces in the quilt, identified by the museum as chromolithographic paper decals. Chromolithographic printing was in wide spread use after the civil war and it allowed the middle class also to hang art. It is a colored image printed by many applications of lithographic stones using...

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Artists of Huipils

So its fall and thoughts are turning to winter arriving soon…NOT! With most of the country experiencing hotter than normal temperatures, my thoughts keep drifting back to the clothes of Mexico. I did actually see more on the Baja peninsula than indigo. Although the indigo tunic attracted my eye, there were other garments which simply amazed me. These huipils are the traditional dress of indigenous women from central Mexico and Central America. The tunics are made of two or three pieces of hand woven fabric which are then stitched together allowing for an opening for the head. The sides if stitched together also leave an opening for arms. The garment can be short (worn more as a blouse) or long for a full length tunic. Huipil, 1875-1890, Warp-faced plain weave cotton; red cotton is dyed with...

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Everywhere I Go, I See Indigo

I am on my first trip to the Baja peninsula. The ocean is beautiful and the fish plentiful for scuba diving. Can we all start singing “Let’s go where the sky is blue…” I was pleasantly surprised to find the resort where I am staying had some beautiful “inland” Mexican clothing displayed, all hand embroidered. It wasn’t at all like the traditional folkloric costumes.  Instead, I was surprised to notice similarities to Yoruba and Igbo tribal clothing from West Africa. On one hand, the similarities might have been expected. Much of the world used simple looms for handwoven clothing and decorative textiles. Sewing narrow strips together is more manageable than trying to weave a large garment as one piece. Simple clothing designed to take advantage of the strip construction should be expected.    “Blue, blue, my...

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