HANDCRAFTS, like all phases of human endeavor, rather run in varying cycles. Some of us were born in the Pyrography period and reared on hand painted plates with much beshaded backgrounds; others of us date back to the stork painted on velvet with a pressed pen technique, while all of mature age have survived the era of crochet boudoir caps, of tinfoil and glass paintings, and much be-beaded lamp shades! True, there have ever been crafts worth while, some arts where beauty ...
HANDCRAFTS, like all phases of human endeavor, rather run in varying cycles. Some of us were born in the Pyrography period and reared on hand painted plates with much beshaded backgrounds; others of us date back to the stork painted on velvet with a pressed pen technique, while all of mature age have survived the era of crochet boudoir caps, of tinfoil and glass paintings, and much be-beaded lamp shades!
True, there have ever been crafts worth while, some arts where beauty combined with purpose to create the "joys forever." Our treasure chests contain exquisitely fash- ioned needlework on garments, household linens and purely decorative pieces. There is hand-made lace of such dignity, and daintiness that it is sheer beauty, whenever used. There have been scattered gems of weaving, batik, pottery, and metal work, of basketry, woodcarving, tooled leather, decorative painting, and such for countless generations. Tradition tells us that after primitive man first shaped for use his rude bowls and jars, he very soon daubed them with crimson clay and purple berry juice—to add beauty.
We have devised an hundred ways to fabricate floor coverings, draperies, and bed- ding. Which brings us to quilts and the no end of fascinating patterns and tales in their history. Through all the changing fads of woven bead-belts or melon seed portieres our quilts have been always with us. A wholesome thing it is, too, that American women have so saved and planned and pieced. To have wrought beauty even from beautiful surroundings has not always been achieved; but to salvage beauty and usefulness from coarse waste materials was the everyday accomplishment of our pioneer mothers who hooked rugs and pieced quilts.
Some way we are apt to think of the quilt makers as mature or even old, but a sec- ond thought assures us they were often merely girls. Pioneer movements are not spon- sored by those who have passed life's meridian. It takes youth, with its unspoiled imag- inings to blaze trails, to leave the family hearth for the open road, to hazard security for chance. So most of the families who surged their way westward were young as the civilization which they were formulating. A girl-wife, driving an ox team, with her firstborn held close in her strong young arms or under her stronger young heart, was the heroine of the day. Not that they called her a heroine then; no; but her timid sister who stayed with "pa and ma" back in York State or Ca'lina may have spent the rest of her spinster days in envying willful Emily who rode away with John.
And the story of their wanderings, their few original possessions, their accumula- tions, the friendships formed, their abiding faith and the home established, is the story of patchwork quilts. Study the names of patterns and again you will know they were so christened by young ladies of imagination, sometimes devout, sometimes droll but always kindled by that divine spark of originality. Listen to this for a less-than-500- word history, all quilt names stitched in bed coverlets, which are more comforting, if not more enduring, than words graven in stone:
"London Roads, Ocean Wave, Lost Ship, Star and Compass; Charter Oak, Lafay- ette Orange Peel, Tail of Benjamin's Kite; Turkey Tracks, Bear's Paw, Indian Hatchet; Washington Pavement and Washington's Plumes; Dolly Madison Block, Whig Rose, Democrat Rose, Philadelphia Beauty, Virginia Star, Georgetown Circle; Horn of Plenty —Hovering Hawks! Mill Wheel, Churn Dash, Tea Leaves, Anvil, Brown Goose, Chips and Whetstones, Clamshell, Corn and Beans, the Log Cabin, Arrowheads. The Pine Tree and the Little Beech, Folded Love Letter, Swing-in-the-Center, Eight Hands 'Round'; Free Trade Block, 54-40 or Fight, Tippecanoe and Tyler Too, Clay's Choice, Little Giant, Mexican Rose, Lincoln's Platform. The North Wind, Hosanna, World without End, Delectable Mountains, Rose of Sharon, Wagon Tracks, Road to California, Snake Fence, Love Apple, Arkansas Traveler, Oklahoma Boomer, Kansas Troubles, Cactus Basket, Prairie Queen, Texas Treasure, Rising Sun, World's Fair, Mrs. Cleveland's Choice, Coxey's Camp, The Pickle Dish, and Cake Stand, Fanny's Fan, Pullman Puzzle— Hour Glass!"
We have not shown them all, only a hundred or so of them are contained in our pages, but we have found bits of interesting history about these and drafted patterns from which you can copy them. We have estimated the yardage, suggested ways of setting blocks together into tops and planned suitable quilting designs.
During years of experience there have been questions come to us concerning every phase of quilt making. We have tried to answer them all in this book, to tell you every practical, helpful angle in the game of quilt making.