Primrose Hill: month four…
It's a crisp, wintery morning in Primrose Hill and this month we are going to add some welcome cheer to gloomy January with a trip to the florists.
I mentioned last month that basket blocks are a great favourite with quilters, so this month I have a couple more for you: a darling little Market Basket, with a simple appliqued handle, and the larger, slightly ritzier cousin of the basket block, the Clematis Vase, which also has touches of applique to create the flower stems.
Vase motifs in quilts may be even older than basket blocks. There is a fascinating blog post by historian Barbara Brackman showing several examples of elegantly appliqued medallion quilts from newly independent America, with a single, large flower vase at their centre. This style reached its apogee in one of my favourite antique quilts: the triumph of applique, broderie perse and imagination that is the Phebe Warner coverlet, made at the turn of the nineteenth century and now preserved in the collection of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Barbara has written beautifully about this quilt too.
The Phebe Warner coverlet (c.1803), Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
While I was researching this blog post I also discovered that the Phebe Warner coverlet is included in the Google Arts & Culture collection, an online museum gallery of high resolution images that happens to be a decade old this February. It allows you to zoom in close - closer than you'd be allowed to in real life - and see every stitch and every snippet of fabric, from the gently curving stems to the embroidered faces of the sheep. It's utterly magical. Click here to explore.
Details of the The Phebe Warner coverlet (c.1803), Google Arts & Culture
But back to reality... my block patterns in issue 84 of Today's Quilter are *ahem* rather less challenging, but if you're new to applique I hope they'll encourage you to add a new technique to your repertoire ...who knows where it might take you!