Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

Ooh là là, Chintz!


The second part of the Quilt History Retreat focused on Chintz; a longtime favorite of the Triplett Sisters. Well, not just the Triplett Sisters, who doesn’t love Chintz? (Okay, I do understand that there are some people that don’t like chintz, but given that fabrics beauty, it is really hard for me to comprehend.)   Chintz first made its way to Europe in 1498, when a Portuguese explorer named Vasco da Gama returned with the fabric from India. Shortly thereafter the popularity of the imported fabric led to a decline in profits of the French fabric and therefore it was banned in 1698. Which of course meant traders or smugglers continued to bring it into the country anyway.   In 1734, a French officer M. de Beaulieu sent home letters and actual samples of chintz fabric...
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C’est magnifique…oh là là!


After more than 2 years because of Covid cancellations, the annual Zieber Quilt History Retreat was finally able to meet again. This year the theme was Viva La France, with guest speaker Sandy Sutton and her textiles. Besides being an avid textile and quilt collector, her son lives in the Alsace region of France, which means she has lots of opportunities to acquire the textiles there. We started the retreat with an examination of "Toile de Jouy" or cloth from Jouy-en-Josas a town/suburb SW of Paris. (Note, when purchasing the train ticket to visit, be sure you use the full name of the town. When Kay and I visited the site, I almost got arrested/thrown off the train because she’d accidently purchased my ticket incorrectly for Jouy. Thankfully the train conductor took pity on me when...
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Quilt Blocks


When did the use of quilt blocks originate? Is it American in origin? When I was teaching a workshop in the Netherlands, I was asked this question, and I didn’t know the answer. Sometimes these questions provide me with a new research topic. One museum expert that was present at the class stated it was American in origin. Another person thought it began about mid-19th century with the Baltimore Album Quilts. I wanted data before making any statements. Occasionally I’ve looked for academic articles about the topic or read history of quilting books to see their answers. I’ve never written about it because I never really felt I had a solid answer. I decided the best way to get the answer was to track quilts by date. Then the answer wouldn’t be about “best guess.” Barbara...
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Peru: Indigo


The story of indigo has a long history, parts which aren’t always acknowledged. India and Japan have long been acknowledged for their contributions to cultivation and use of indigo. Kay and I tried to shed light on the African contribution to the story of indigo in our book Indigo Quilts from the Poos Collection. If you aren’t familiar with this book, here is a link to learn more. Now it is time to add Peru to the story or perhaps it would be more accurate to say “add it back into” the story of indigo. Archaeologists at the Huaca Prieta ceremonial mound site have uncovered scraps of indigo dyed fabric. These multiple scraps of fabric are believed to be about 6,200 years old and place a new date on indigo used on still intact fabric. Prior...
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Military Textiles Update


A couple of times after I’ve given the Early American Military Textiles presentation, I’ve had someone mention to me another potential textile to include. I’m always happy to add to the research and log of textiles. After the blog series, I was contacted by Ragi Marino to see if I was aware of a “soldier’s blanket” at the Texas Civil War Museum.   Ragi re-created the textile as an AQSG Study Quilt. This interesting quilt is another reminder of why quilts made of military textiles are not always recognized as such. Uniforms weren’t standardized, with soldiers wearing what they had. In the War of 1812, well past American infancy, soldiers were still wearing military garb from other countries with updated buttons and insignias.  In the case of this “blanket” the fabrics were from a later version...
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