Thursday, April 9, 2009

March's Quilt History Group

Here is my nephew Ben with one of his Eye Spy quilts I made him.

Can you spot the tiny tomato on this plant yet? I took this picture about two weeks ago and already there are more out there...shouldn't be too long before they are turning red!

I enjoyed my Quilt History group again as usual...I had plans to type up my notes and info from the class so that I would have a record of my learning and others who may be interested could read it too but I have been SO busy that I am just getting to it now. I finished up my online class on the Arizona Constitution tonight--yay! I don't even need it anymore since I was one of the zillion teachers laid off in Arizona last Friday, but I paid for it so I finished it anyway.

We talked about Mountain Mist at our Quilt History meeting and I learned alot. Alot of the information our speaker gave us was from "The Origin of Mountain Mist Patterns" published in Uncoverings in 1995 by Merikay Waldvogel and from her own personal tour of the Mountain Mist collection when it was displayed in Columbus Ohio on October 2008.

Stearns and Foster was founded in 1846 because of the need for cotton batting that wouldn't tear or stretch. They built a mill in Cincinnati, Ohio where they had other poducts such as air filters, mattresses, horse leg wraps, medical supplies, quilted robes and upholstered furniture. They sold cotton batting in bulk as 50 pound bales and kept it in boxes to maintain the loft. They banded the rolls of batting with plain dark-blue tissue paper wrappers and retailers could put their information on them. In the 1920's there were eighteen names for this same cotton batting. They advertised "100 percent new cotton fiber with no second-hand material with a glazene finish to make it easy to cut and quilt" the glazene was apparently a water and flour mixture!

There were big changes in 1928 when the company bought Putnam-Hooker Co. which specialized in southern cotton products. Frederick Hooker took over the batting marketing for them. He made the outer wrapper colorful with 16 different quilt blocks and included a full size quilt block pattern on the inside of the wrapper to encourage sales. This was a huge marketing success. Some of the patterns in the wrapper were original designs by art teacher Margaret Hays of Chattanooga, Tennessee (though some say her sister helped or did them entirely). Others were updated version from old quilts, or name changes of well known patterns. The designs simplified over time perhaps as they got feedback from quilters about the difficulty of some of the patterns. (These ladies didn't have rotary cutters folks!)

The original printing dies for some of these patterns were on display at the M.M show and are really neat to see. I have a picture but couldn't find any online to put here. The dies were labled with letters for each wrapper and when one was retired it was often replaced with a different pattern. Pattern C--the Shamrock was published in 1928 but was difficult and was discontinued and isn't listed with their patterns available for sale.

There were a total of 130 patterns available and while they were not the first pattern incentive that went along with batting (in 1919 Rock River Cotton Company out of Janesville, Wisconsin included a pattern with their batting) it was quite successful. They also hired a woman for to be Phoebe Edwards Lloyd who answered quilters questions and got fan mail. Three gals and even Hooker took turns at being Phoebe though the original had used part of her grandmother's name for eight years before turning it over. Hooker stayed with the company until 1956 (27 years) and people remember him as a fabulous, smiling, hardworking man.
So that is a bit of the history we talked about...there was much more but you get the idea. If you are still with me at this point (thanks!) we got two or three more bluework blocks to do (I still had one to go from last time since the skin on my thumb wore off and I tried to remedy it with little plastic cots which made it worse!) and we got one simple block to sew that I plan to get to tomorrow along with a zillion other odds and ends.
I am going to quilt camp next weekend so I brainstormed a list of things I need to get together for that...lots of prepping stuff. I think I am overly ambitious about what I can get done in 2.5 days! More on that tomorrow I am sure.
I also went to a tablerunner of the month class at another shop in town. Barb is the teacher and I was the only student this month. She is FABULOUS! Seriously I learned a ton and the price was right so thank you to the gal that sent me to this shop for classes. She taught me how to do applique on my machine and it looks SO MUCH better than the stuff I have done on my own. Pics on that tomorrow too. I have to finish it but getting there!


Miss 376 said...

So glad you found a class that you enjoyed, it makes all the difference. Your tomatoes are coming on a treat

scraphappy said...

So sorry to hear that you were laid off. I hope that they will end up rehiring most of y'all again. I don't know what they are planning to do without teachers next year! I'm imagining the class sizes we might all be facing.
Thanks for the history of Mountain Mist. I've noticed the patterns on the bag, and it's nice to know the history of it.