Ephemera Dedicated to Ornamental Embroidery Stitches 1884-85
By the early 1880’s Art Needlework and Fancy Work companies issued catalogs selling all sorts of designs for embroidery and fancy work – Mrs. Farnham, Patten Publishing Co., J.F. Ingalls, T.E. Parker and Chas. E. Bentley’s.
Many of these companies specializing in perforated stamping patterns began selling packages of waste fabrics of satin, silks and plushes, along with flosses to ladies enamored by the craze. Some of the kits had pre-stamped designs for working in out-line or Kensington-stitch embroidery. Sometimes they even included pre-embroidered floral sprays on satin. Flowers, birds, spider webs, Kate Greenaway figures, oriental fans and owls were some of the most popular motifs.
Right around our country’s centennial, ladies magazines published numerous articles on the latest needlework fad – Japanese or Crazy Patchwork.
By 1884, several of these companies published booklets dedicated to stitch designs and layout patterns for blocks: J.F. Ingalls, T.E. Parker and Chas. E, Bentley’s to name a few. Some merchandizing companies took advantage of the craze and published stitch booklets as advertisements for their stores: R.L. Spencer and Strawbridge & Clothier.
In the image are several of the booklets and a trade card, all date to 1884-85. These probably represent some of the first publications dedicated to ornamental embroidery stitches.
Clockwise starting from the upper right: Crazy Patchwork, published by Strawbridge & Clothier (cover and transfer design); Patchwork Stitches, published by the R.L. Spencer Co.; Ornamentals Stitches by T.E. Parker (cover and two sample pages); Fancy Designs for Ornamenting Oriental Work by Mrs. M. Haehnlen; Instructions for Patchwork by J.F. Ingalls; and the front and back of a Singer Sewing Machine trade card. [Note the images are not to scale.]
It is interesting to note that the T.E. Parker, J.F. Ingalls and the R.F. Spencer booklets share several of the same engravings. The Ingalls and Parker catalogs for perforated stamping patterns are also very similar, just as the Farnham and Bentley’s catalogs are much the same.
Also, the images in the Strawbridge and Clothier are also used by Weldon’s in their Guides to Practical Needlework. I suspect that the Bentley’s booklet, Crazy Stitches for Patchwork Quilts is similar to the Strawbridge one as it is described as have six 10-inch blocks with instructions. The Strawbridge booklet has six blocks also. [This is just a guess, since I do not have the Bentley booklet or an image of it.]
A book of Fancy Designs for Ornamenting Oriental Work (1884) Designed and Published by Mrs. M. Haehnlen, Chicago, Ill. Price 25 cents 24 pages (plus covers)
Crazy Patchwork (1884) Published by Strawbridge & Clothier, Philadelphia Price 25 cents 10 pages (plus covers)
Ornamental Stitches for Embroidery (1885) Presented by T.E. Parker, Lynn, Mass. Price 10 cents 14 pages (plus covers – tan in color) Dimensions: Approx. 4.25 x 4.5-inches
Instructions for Patchwork (1884) J.F. Ingalls, Lynn, Mass. Price 15 cents 32 pages (plus covers – grey in color) Dimensions: 4 x 6-inches
Patchwork Stitches and Ladies’ Fancy Work Guide (undated) Published by The R.L. Spencer Co., Hartford, Conn. Price 15 cents 16 pages (plus covers) Dimensions 1: 4.25 x 6.25-inches (orange-brown cover, light green pages) Dimensions 2: 5.5 x 8-inches (tan cover, light green pages)
Hello, its been a while since I posted - busy with kids and family life. Then to top it all off, I got pneumonia. I'm just getting over that thank goodness. I've given a few lectures on Crazy Patchwork Quilting this summer - using my library of more recent publications and my 19th century ephemera (more on that in a later post). Here is a compilation of my library - plus one I would love to add to my collection - Crazy Quilt Work Book by David K. Small (1997).
Louise's Listing of Crazy Quilt and Embroidery Books:
Dorothy Bond : Crazy Quilt Stitches (Spiral-bound - 1981) [Stitches]
Just recently, fellow ephemera collector and I did a trade. Connie Chunn, most respected expert on all things Ladies Art Company (LAC) related, had coveted a LAC company coupon I had in my collection for many years. We met via the Quilt History List and Ebay – we both shared similar tastes in collecting all things pertaining to the LAC. A few years ago, I shared with her a CD of images of the many LAC catalogs I had in my collection, plus the colored card patterns sold by the company – and the coupon.
Connie wanted to trade the LAC coupon for an original 'Bentley's Catalogue, Part One. Five Thousand Stamping Patterns." Copyrighted, 1886, by C. E. Bentley, 12 W. 14th Street, New York, (208 pages).
This past winter, I finally agreed to the trade. I know my coupon went to a good home, and I got a much sought catalog of embroidery patterns! The pages were very similar to the Mrs. T.G. Farnham’s Home Beautiful catalog offered by the Michigan Museum.
I decided to do a little comparing of the Bentley and Farnham catalogs and noted that the page numbering were in the same style, but the layouts for the pages were different. For example, on page 96 of Farnham’s catalog, the same image of children doing a tug-of-war is on page 82 of the Bentley’s catalog. The item id numbers are different, but both are priced at 50 cents.
It is interesting to note, that Bentley’s and Farnham’s were business neighbors - 10 West 14th Street (Farnham) and 12 West 14th Street (Bentley’s) in New York City. Looks like they shared patterns with each other – and possibly publishers too.
Greetings, It is with sadness that I let you know that Verna R. (Pinch) Niemann, the daughter of William Bray Pinch passed away on January 29, 2008, she was 81years old. Her daughter-in-law Amy is working to bring back the much loved designs from the Rainbow Quilt Block Company of Cleveland, Ohio.
On a happier note, Pam, a fellow member of QHL (Quilt History List), sent me images of a summer spread and pillow cases her mother-in-law made, that I thought you might enjoy them. The summer spread has Sunbonnet motifs and the pillow cases have some Teddy Bears and Kewpies on them.
Pam pointed her MIL Alwynne, of Lake Placid Florida, to the blog, to which she wrote: "Louise tells of the Broome County quilting club, I perked up. I was born in Binghamton, NY which I think is in Broome County. She also mentions Johnson City. My great aunt lived there & I'd visit her. I was encouraged to bring my trumpet for Aunt Belle played the piano & we'd ride the bus to evening church so I could play. "
Pam is in Illinois, Alwynne is in Florida, and I am in New York - and the internet brought us together. It truly is a small world.
A bit of departure of my normal postings, but I have had several requests to post some of the works I make. As you know I do quilt a bit of hand embroidery. I also like other hand work: crazy quilts and beading. Here is an example of a tote bag I made in 2006. It was a challenge from the Art Q mini-group I belong to. It is a small group of quilters that meet at each other’s homes every month. We like to try new and innovative techniques and create art quilt projects for our enjoyment.
Every year we try and have a challenge. In 2006, we decided to do a color scheme challenge. We finally chose Salmon, Olive and Teal as our color choice. We put types of ‘ingredients’ on slips of paper and passed around a hat and picked one out.
The following are the guidelines used we for the challenge:
1. Each participant will be assigned an ‘ingredient’ to provide. You will have ‘ingredients’ from everyone, including yourself, plus the original focus fabric. Ingredients: Cotton Fabrics, Glitzy Fabrics, Fibers/Yarns, Beads/Embellishments.
2. Our color scheme will be SALMON–TEAL–OLIVE. You may add other colors to your final creation; however, you piece should contain all three challenge colors.
3. You can create ANYTHING you want (wearable art, accessories, wall hanging, a doll, etc.)
4. You must use some of EVERY ingredient (but not all of every ingredient).
After recieving the 'ingredients' - they screamed sea creatures to me. Every evening for about four months I stitched the fishes while my sons did their homework. I applied the seaweed using fusible applique and machine stiched into place. After that, the fibers were hand-couched to the jeans background. [Yes, the bag is made from an old pair of jeans.] The 3-D creatures were finally sewn into place, along with the fish beads and shells.
It is always a conversation piece when I go to quilt shows or shop hops. I hope you enjoy it too.
Rainbow Quilt Block Company 4915 Wichita Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio
The Rainbow Quilt Block Company was founded by William Pinch. He touted himself on his fliers as the “Quilt Block Specialist” and “Maker of Pretty Quilt Blocks.” His early designs were often sets of children’s quilt motifs, such as Teddy Bears, Kewpies, Sunbonnets and Dutch Kiddies, and came in sets of 12. The blocks were also sold at dry goods stores individually or in kits. These were mainly 9-inch blocks.
The name ‘Rainbow’ came from a process Mr. Pinch developed in printing the blocks in the color they were to be embroidered – red, yellow, brown, green, blue, etc. [Later blocks, that I have seen do not have the different colors stamped on them – only blue.] The company also had designs of state flowers, birds and with both, for the 48 states that were in the union at that time. These patterns were sold by the company and as subscriber premiums for Needlecraft Magazine (Needlecraft/Home Arts) from Augusta, Maine.
Mr. Pinch also designed many blocks that combined embroidery and appliqué. They had designs stamped on each background block – typically 12-18 inches, and each of the colored appliqué pieces. The pieces were button-hole stitched into place and embroidered with details. These types of blocks were sold individually and as kits of 12 at dry goods stores, such as F.W. Woolworth.
The company sold quilt kits and blocks separately, with and without the floss. Fine strong white muslin was used for the quilt blocks, and “Fruit of the Loom” cotton was used for the appliqué. For half the price, along with return postage, customers could send in their own cloth for printing, and Mr. Pinch supplied the appliqué pieces.
Mr. Pinch’s daughter, Verna continued selling the quilt block patterns well into the 1970’s from her home in Florida. Her children (Mr. Pinch’s grandchildren) have agreed that it’s time to re-release the patterns.
They have formed The Rainbow Quilt Block Company LLC and have reserved domain names for the company. There are over 1,100 designs that Amy (a granddaughter-in-law) is scanning and digitizing from the 10 plus boxes Verna had saved of the original Mr. Pinch patterns. As of January 2008, Amy has around 200 of them ready.
A web designer is currently working on a web page and they have plans to sell the patterns as iron-on transfers. I will post more on this as the company moves forward.
Several members of AQSG are doing research on this company, the founder and their patterns.
William Bray Pinch
William Bray Pinch was born on April 20, 1880 in Cleveland Ohio. He was married to Signe Ingeborg Dahlman. He died in January 1972. William was the son of Alpha Warren Pinch and Sarah Adelaid Ferin.
I was taught to embroider when I was 6 years old at my mother's knee. I have over 45 years experience - you do the math! I have been quilting with a passion since 2000, and have been teaching since 2002 at several of the local quilt shops. I currently teach Redwork and Crazy Quilting at Quilters Haven in Owego, NY.
I have been a member of three local quilting guilds:
Common Threads (also president for 2 yrs),
Broome County Quilters and
I have also been a member of AQSG - American Quilt Study Group.
I am back to work full time - so I joined the 2013 Crazy Quilt Journal Project - an on-line group.