Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

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BAS - Crib Quilts

Continuing our adventure in DC, we took a side trip to the Baltimore Appliqué Society (BAS). The Appliqué Society was founded in 1993 “to preserve antique quilts and promote the art of appliqué.” (To accent or not, that is the question?  My sister is a huge fan of the accent mark on the “e”, which is the French word meaning “applied.” The word absorbed into English is frequently seen without the accent, but since the word is French, I will honor the original spelling.) Since Baltimore is the home of the Baltimore Album Quilt, (what a shock!) it is appropriate that BAS preserves the techniques used to create those masterpiece BAQs.

This night’s lecture was by our friend Polly Mello a previous president of the BAS and a gifted appliquer. (Accent not required, since it is a made up word, not yet recognized by the Dictionary.  Sigh! Perhaps the BAS needs to add that to their list in their efforts to preserve this wonderful art form.) Polly’s presentation was on crib quilts...and there some fine examples to see.

Polly presented a wide variety of crib quilts, some which were patterns re-sized versions of adult quilts, like the Ocean Waves with the tiny triangles. Other Crib Quilts were larger quilts cut down and repurposed for crib quilts. (Could somebody explain to me how you could cut not one, not two, but three Chintz medallions in half, even if for a treasured child?) The final category of crib quilts were as designers began to create patterns specifically for the market of crib quilts.

These designers offered patterns of alphabets with an object to match the letter or cute animals frequently for red work embroidery. Ruby Mckim and Kate Greenaway were two of the artists represented in her quilt collection. (Contrary to popular myth Walt Disney was not the first to offer companion products to sell more items beyond the original book, film, or story.) Polly had an amazing collection of crib quilts to view, but she also has books, pitchers, printed fabric, patterns, dolls and more that coordinated with these original designs geared for youth and sales. If you have the opportunity to see one of Polly’s programs, don’t hesitate.  You’ll walk away having enjoyed lots of eye candy and learned more about quilts in the process.