Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

Amsterdam Adventures: Museum of Bags and Purses


Because I was teaching in the Netherlands, The Triplett Sisters recently had some wonderful adventures in Amsterdam. One of our first stops was a curious museum which honored all types of bags. According to Susan B. Anthony, “Every woman should have a purse of her own.” The Museum of Bags and Purses acknowledged that men should also have bags, since the oldest item in the collection was a man’s bag with secret pockets. It was wonderful to see the wide variety of handbags, but frequently we fail to recognize the needlework skill involved in many of these purses. Today’s blog will focus on “thigh pockets” purses hidden under the fabric of the dress. A slit in the dress allowed the wearer access to the items in the pockets. These pockets were from the 17th century to...

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Hawaiian Quilts


I was interested to attend the Kauai Quilt Show sponsored by Kauai Quilt Guild and the Nene Quilters to see if the traditional “Hawaiian” style of quilts was represented. As early as 1820 the Hawaiians learned to quilt from missionaries. The distinctive style is usually created using applique of a botanical nature, frequently in one or two bold solid colors. One early written record of the traditional style Hawaiian quilt is “Six Months in the Sandwich Islands” by Isabella Bird who visited Hawaii in 1870 and described a “floral center with surrounding arabesque.” During the westernization of Hawaii, cotton fabric had become available and as the resurgence in applique mid-nineteenth century occured, it also reached Hawaii. A second traditional Hawaiian style of quilts is known as a “flag quilt” which uses the flag and or royalty,...

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The Fabric of our Lives


Fabric plays an important role in our society. It provides protection from the elements through blankets, tents, and clothing. Textiles allow us to create our persona by what we wear or how we decorate our home. Unfortunately, fabric and construction allow others to judge or define us by how much money we choose to spend on clothing or décor or our stash. As quilters fabric plays a doubly important role in our lives. It is used for our art form. Fiber art is how we express ourselves, even communicate. Quilting is a way that we provide gifts or donate to charity. Although it is usually cotton, it can be wool, silk, velvet or any fabric of choice. Each of us has a fabric that is our passion or speaks to us. It can be the technique...

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It Takes Two to Tango


The exhibition was held at the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum showcasing quilts made by two people. According to the dictionary the phrase “it takes two to tango.” means, a situation or argument involving two people, both of them responsible for it. Certainly, in the case of these quilts, both parties are responsible, but there is no way it was an argument. Or if an argument occurred, it was clearly resolved. Instead we see true partnerships in quilt artistry. I expected to see all the quilts pieced or appliqued by one party and then quilted by the second party. However, in many cases the division of labor wasn’t clear cut…which definitely could lead to an argument. These quilts as a finished product were so copasetic, that clearly if a dance of discussion took place, it was resolved...

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Fabric in Fashion


Stop, before you decide not to read this blog because it doesn’t have any antique quilt photos! Take a deep breath and consider your love of fabric. Consider that dating a fabric in a quilt in many cases occurs because of the fabric is in a “costume” in a photo with a date on it or a designer’s notes. There is much to be learned and enjoyed from a costume exhibit. For the Fashionistas of the past, the textiles in their closets were one of their more valuable possessions. The New York City Museum at FIT, was the perfect place for the exhibition “Fabric in Fashion.” According to the FIT brochure, “the stylish eighteenth-century woman new the high cost of silk brocade imported from China, the difference between wool fabrics appropriate for menswear and women’s wear,...

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