Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

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Fancy Goods Quilts

I recently attended a lecture given by Barbara Brackman at the MOKA Quilt study group on the links between Kentucky and Missouri quilts. Shortly after, I attended an exhibition curated by Leah Zieber and Arlene Stevens at the Pasadena Museum of History which featured a group of quilts made of fancy goods (silk, satin, and velvet.) It was wonderful to see the actual textiles, to see in person some of the lessons learned from Brackman’s and others’ research.

Fancy Goods Quilts can be made in a typical pattern such as log cabin or in a disorganized collection of shapes known as a crazy quilt. Crazy quilts frequently have embroidered details, which some have commented, the quilter went crazy with all the embroidered designs. However, that may not have been the case. Instead, she may have simply purchased her machine embroidered items to applique onto her quilt.

Kursheedt’s Standard Embroidered Silk Appliques were to provide “satisfactory results, with little work.” The Schiffli embroidery machine which created these amazing embroidery designs was patented in 1863 and imported about 10 years later. The designs were created and sold to add embroidery to dresses, scarves, and coats, as well as household items such mats, pillows, and toilet sets. Designs included many different flowers, birds, and fruits. Simply cut out from the slip and applique onto your chosen textile, getting the beauty and design much more easily than embroidering by hand!