Thursday, 31 October 2013

Quilt for October

This quilt is all about firsts. This was the first large (beyond dolls’ size) reproduction quilt I ever made, and the first with the square on point pattern. It was also the first I made with a documented line of materials from an historic quilt – the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History’s Rising Sun quilt* (1825-1835.) It was the inspiration for the first set of reproduction prints, namely, The Rising Sun * Smithsonian Institution, produced by RJR Fabrics in several different colourways. Lines based on other quilts would follow, and some have already been or will be seen in quilt form on this blog.

Green is my favourite colour, and the Rising Sun line had several greens to work with, including one to splash all over the quilt as the main square that contrasted with all of the other prints.

I had a terrible time with the knife edges, though, and learned to work more carefully when planning the dimensions and quilting so as to have enough material at the edges to make better folds.

The backing is also irregular with an uneven frame of green material around the mostly blue print. I ran out of both so I did the best I could which what was left and, perhaps, that is what someone would have done in the past. The idea that quilts were only made from scraps is a myth. Some certainly were but some were made of materials that were purchased for a specific quilt.

This quilt measures 58” by 48”, and is entirely hand pieced and hand quilted.

*More information about the quilt may be found at

Halloween Knitting

In keeping with this year’s theme of famous actresses who are knitting before or behind the camera, the exquisite Anjelica Huston reappears on this blog as Morticia with her needles.

Here is the finished garment – adorable!

Here is the original cartoon, "Darling!", which thrilled me as a child, and I have never stopped loving the work of Charles Addams.

These images were found on various sources on the Internet, and were not documented, and, therefore, I cannot give credit to them.

Famous Knitters – Barbara Bel Geddes

Barbara Bel Geddes (October 31, 1922 – August 8, 2005)

Stage and screen actress, author and artist. My two favourite performances of hers are in Vertigo (1958) and the classic episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, “Lamb to the Slaughter” (1958.)

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Portfolio for Knitted Items

(Click on the image to enlarge the view)
After some years of doing living history demonstrations, I realized that I needed a way to display various very small knitted items so they would not fall on the ground or wander off with visitors or, perhaps, discourage touching like this arrangement:

When the film, Miss Potter (2006), came out, I was intrigued and inspired by the portfolio used in the film by Beatrix Potter to transport her drawings from her home to her publisher. I don’t know if Miss Potter had such a portfolio in real life – is there one like it and connected to her that exists in a museum?

I had also long been fascinated by 19th century books of collections and instructions which had miniature samples of items in the book such as these: 

Whether the tiny objects were, in fact, a row by row rendition of the accompanying pattern or, like mine, an abbreviated version which is true to technique, I do not know. That is a research project for the future.

The resulting portfolio allows me to display and label items in a tidier and safer way. It was also a way to use up some of my vast collection of reproduction materials like these 19th century ones. The little flaps protect some samples and also offer more layers for display.

Seen above are two stockings with long heels and drawstring toes. Some other examples of pieces are:

Knitted Pattern for a Quilt, Octagons and Squares from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Number 54, Series 13, 1890, and the facsimile, Weldon’s Practical Needlework, published by Interweave Press, Volume 5, 2001

Narrow Vandyke Edging from Exercises in Knitting by Mrs. Cornelia Mee, London: David Bogue, Fleet Street, 1846.

Cyprus Edging from Weldon’s Practical Knitter, Series 14, Number 55, 1890, and the facsimile, Weldon’s Practical Needlework, Volume 5, Interweave Press, 2001. 
Metal straight pins hold all of the pieces in place.

The portfolio measures 42” long and 14 ½” tall, and is made up of fifteen different cotton prints. Some may look familiar to readers of this blog as I frequently use various parts of the portfolio for backgrounds in photographs of projects.  Sewn into the shape of a long rectangular sleeve with a flap made of fabric and then slipped over a long piece of cardboard cut from a large box, the portfolio is decorated and ties with grosgrain ribbon.

(Apologies for the odd formatting in this post)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Famous Knitters – Angela Lansbury

Angela Lansbury, CBE (October 16, 1925 - )

Always a delight – on stage or screen. Winsome or chilling, funny or heartbreaking, Miss Lansbury has played so many unforgettable characters.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Famous Knitters - Carole Lombard

Carole Lombard (October 6, 1908 - January 16, 1942)

She looks like she knows what she is doing!

Again - nice shoes.