Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

To Dye: The Barks


In our last blog we briefly discussed quercitron (bark primarily from the Eastern Black Oak in the US) used in combination with cochineal. But quercitron was used on its own to create a color fast yellow. In the US local mills advertised the grinding of barks, which could be used for home dyeing or mulch. To see an 1844 ad about a Bark and Grist Mill follow this link.   In England the use of quercitron inspired a whole color scheme known as “drab style.” The 15 year patent for the dye ran out in 1799, which caused the drab style to be particularly fashionable in fabrics until 1807. Quercitron was used for block printed chintzs until about 1815.   Cedar and tanbark are two additional barks that are used for dyeing which creates a deep...
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To Die for Dye: Cochineal


When I give my program Red & Green Quilts for Xmas…NOT!, I usually don’t talk about cochineal. Instead, I tend to focus on Turkey red, a popular color fast dye in the 19th century. Shame on me! Here thousands of cochineal insects were literally dying to create a fabulous color red and I neglected to discuss. Cochineal is a dye that was and is still in use today. In fact, cochineal dyes are returning in popularity because they are natural, and water soluble yet resistant to degradation. In the 16th century the Spanish Conquest of the Aztec Empire introduced cochineal to societies on both sides of the Atlantic. In Europe there was no comparable color, the closest being crimson from the Kermes vermilio insect. Once the European market discovered carmine, the demand increased significantly. Even the Pope...
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Bird in a Basket


As many of you may be aware, I’ve tracked the Bird in a Basket fabric for some time. It has been printed as a toile, in different colorways, and sometimes as a pillar print. It was on my list to research at some point. Trust me when I say, there are way too many topics of interest for me to research in my lifetime. However, I was really interested in it because it was next on our list of potential antique fabrics to reproduce as a column chintz.   (Sidenote, we’d like to have an idea of who would be interested in a reproduction of this Bird in a Basket as a Pillar Print. If you are, please send me an email to Info@quiltandtextilecollections.com with the number of yards. If we have enough interest…we’ll reproduce it!)...
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How to Research – Part II


Research never ends. Even when you think you’ve exhausted the resources available and come to realistic conclusions. Remember, research NEVER ends. There are new documents uncovered, or new papers added online (particularly during the pandemic), and new textiles or quilts uncovered. Sometimes an expert you relied upon concluded something that is no longer supported by your new research, because…research never ENDS. It is an important rule to remember in researching, that periodically revisiting a research topic you are passionate about is vital. Our research on Chintz fabric that was the subject of our Chintz Quilts book has continued for more than 10 years. This year at the request of the Mingei International Museum we also began re-visiting our indigo research of more than 10 years. Which brings me to our book Hidden Treasures that included research...
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How to do Research


Right now, my world is being dominated by research which I enjoy. Research is the underpinning of those interested in antique quilts and quilt history. Of course, you can simply admire the beauty of the quilt, the artistry of the quilter, and the amazing fabric used in the quilt. However, if the quilt includes a name…look out we’re off to do research, especially if it is a signature quilt with lots of names.   Genealogy websites are very useful tools in this instance. The most frequently used site for this type of research is Ancestry.com, which is great for historical records, but don’t forget MyHeritage which has a global database, or LegacyTree if you want to hire a genealogist. Your local library may have free access to these databases as well as other sources to consider....
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