Posts Written On June 2012

Simple Objects to Color – Lois Ehlert

This cute coloring book was published by Watkins-Strathmore in 1961.   I’m pretty sure, although I can find no documentation, that this must be the same Lois Ehlert who illustrated many popular children’s books beginning in the 1980s, including Color Zoo (1989), a Caldecott Honor Book.  She would have been 27 in 1961, and it seems unlikely there would be two children’s book illustrators named Lois Ehlert.   There are random, uncredited drawings in some of my old coloring books that I’m certain are early Eloise Wilkin and also Fern Bisel Peat, so it wouldn’t surprise me if these were the work of a young Lois Ehlert.  I like this quote from her web site:

My mother, a good seamstress, shared her fabric scraps with me and taught me to use her sewing machine when I was about eight years old. My dad had a basement workshop, which supplied me with scrap lumber and nails. So I always had a ready supply of art materials, but not necessarily traditional ones like paper and paint. In fact, colored construction paper was pale in tone compared to my bright cloth scraps.

And hey — my book has a drawing of a sewing machine.  Wouldn’t these make wonderful embroidery patterns?

Click images to enlarge.

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Walker’s Embroidery Transfers – Pots and Pans

These designs are from a sheet of Walker’s blue numo hot iron transfers — the ones on tissue paper with blue raised dots that are one use only.  The serial number for this sheet is 1598, and it came in an assortment with 3 other sheets.  Sometimes these numo transfers don’t look too great, even if they’ve never been used, because the ink gets brittle over time and the dots start to flake off.  I was lucky with this group of transfers, because they have never been used and are still in their factory folds.

I’ve seen lots of vintage pot and pan transfers that are anthropomorphic or decorated, but I think these simple designs are my favorites.  I’ll clean up the rest of the images on this sheet for next week’s embroidery transfer post.

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Aunt Priscilla Scrappy Patchwork Patterns

Because I have always loved scrappy quilts with lots of little pieces, these three patterns are all on my list of quilts to make.  I especially love the third pattern, which I hadn’t seen before.  There generally are not many directions in these old patterns, and in this case there aren’t any.  The first and third patterns are applique, and the second is pieced.   (Click twice for full size)

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Dean’s Rag Book Doll Quilt Top

For this little top I used two vintage cloth books published in the UK by Dean’s Rag Book Co.  The company began in 1903 producing small books printed on muslin that they advertised as “safe and washable” for baby.  Later they expanded into stuffed bears and cloth dolls.  Dean’s Rag Books were still being made as late as the 1960s, and I think my two books are from the later period — probably the 1950s.  They were both illustrated by Josephine Wilkinson, as you can see on the front page of each book, and neither of them has a title.  After looking at lots of Dean’s books online, I think Josephine’s graphics are my favorites.

My books each contained 6 illustrations printed on one side of a strip of muslin which was folded to make 3 pages.  They were also in mint condition, having never been washed or maybe even played with at all.  It was easy to remove the binding stitching and cut out the individual blocks for my quilt.  I’ve always wanted to do this with a cloth book, but most of them are either a combination of cloth mixed with paper, or they are treated with something that makes them stiff and a little brittle.  The Dean’s books are perfect, because they are just plain printed muslin.

The hardest part of putting this together was attempting to match up the gingham sashing and border; it’s not perfect, but I’m okay with it.  The six blocks on the left are from one book, and the six of the right are from the other.  The top now measures 22″ x 23″, but I might trim the top and bottom borders to make it square.

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