Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

Lori Lee Triplett, Business Manager for Quilt and Textile Collections, has successfully combined a variety of passions which include research, writing, and performing into the quilt world. As a lecturer and instructor she brings her experience from stage, screen, and radio to make the presentations fun yet educational. She enjoys presenting at local quilt guilds, but also presents at national conferences and has made appearances internationally.

As the Quilt World Turns

Now that 35 plus quilts have been located in the style dubbed Northern Cut-out Applique, it is time to really focus on each quilt/coverlet/quilt top to see if we can figure out that quilt’s particular story as well as how that quilt ties together with other coverlets from the grouping. This is especially true since these coverlets have inscriptions on the blocks which provide additional information. It makes sense to start with the coverlet in the Poos Collection. The Machette/Taylor Coverlet is so named because of the two inscriptions located prominently on the quilt with matching dates of April 27th, 1840. We have a chart of all the inscriptions on the coverlet to help guide our research. Multiple Machette and Taylor family members have their names inscribed on the coverlet and all of the blocks with...

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Philadelphia Sewing Societies

In 1805, The Select Society published rules for the Philadelphia girl’s society as follows: “We are to meet at half-past two, to sew till eight…and that boys shall not be admitted until eight o’clock.” Sewing Societies in Philadelphia were extremely active and productive. The sewing groups went by many different names and served multiple different functions. Sewing Societies were so popular in Philadelphia that merchants ran newspaper ads to attract the societies as customers offering special prices on goods and fabrics such as flannels, woolens, calicoes [sic], muslins, and calico quilts. The Sewing Societies (also sometimes known as Dorcas Society) were usually associated with a benevolent mission (orphan, school, poor, hospital, missionary) and were frequently also associated with a church. The ladies used their sewing skills to create items to raise money selling at fairs and...

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Professional Quilters in Philadelphia

When we were researching quilters who made BAQ’s we were searching for evidence of who might have made a living creating those quilts or at least supplemented their income. Evidence of women who advertised as quilters or sold quilt blocks was limited, and therefore researchers tended to explore dressmakers or milliners as possibilities. In Philadelphia, the first reference to a quilter in a Philadelphia Business Directory occurs in 1820. Beulah Wilson was listed as a quilter on Poplar Lane near Front. She made a living as a quilter for more than 10 years. In the 1830 edition of the Business Directory, she added mantua maker along with quilter. Also, Mary Hopper and Jas. Strain were listed in later directories as quilters only. Ads in the Philadelphia newspaper seeking quilters for employment appeared in August 1846 to...

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Join the Quilting Fun in 2024!

Happy New Year! I’m having a hard time believing it is almost 2024. However, when I think of the quilting fun to come this year…I’m ready. I hope you are ready to join us too! Don’t forget that our 2023 Triplett Sisters Block of the Month Album Quilt with Half-Blocks was complex enough to continue into the new year. So, that means there is still plenty of time to join us! Everyone works at their own pace so you won’t be behind. If that quilt isn’t your style, The Triplett Sisters BOM for 2024 is just getting started and is very different in size and style. Prussian Blue Star Center Medallion is 40” x 40” and has some piecing making it a change of pace from our previous quilt. There is an option to make it...

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Quilting Supplies in Philadelphia

When I hunted for quilting supplies in Baltimore Maryland, the earliest references in the newspaper ads were 1849 for quilting scissors or Album blocks. (Here is a link to the article.) However, in Philadelphia, we see ads for “quiltings” and “double back quiltings” as early as 1832-33. A hunt for a 19th century dictionary or reference book to define the phrase didn’t magically appear, even after digging. I did find an ad that noted it was quilted fabric with 2 backings for extra warmth. By 1840s Dry Goods stores advertised, quilts and counterpanes for sale, as well as quilting frames. Starting in January 1842, there were ads for wadding and quilting cotton. This cotton batting was available in black or white sometimes for as cheap as 6 cents or 35 cents for a dozen. One reference...

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