Tuesday, March 28, 2017


If you have seen my blog recently, you may recall the stunning, mid-century modern black and white quilt made and signed by Barbara McKie in 1974. 

Well, here's an interesting and fun coincidence. There is a fabric print design just like Barbara's patchwork design, and it is in the Bible of fabric identification books, Eileen Trestain's "Dating Fabrics: A Color Guide". There are two editions of Dating Fabrics, and this neat little swatch is in the first, which covers the period from 1800 to 1960. The second edition covers the period from 1950 to 2000. Both books are essentials in quilt identification.

In the section covering the period from 1910 to 1935 in book one, the blue and white print appears on page 137, one up from the bottom on the left. My friend Janis Pearson pointed it out. Thank you, Janis, you have an eagle eye! It's fun to find a fabric print identical to such a cool quilt design.

I will have to ask Barbara if she'd ever seen the fabric before. I know she couldn't have seen it in "Dating Fabrics: A Color Guide" before making her quilt in 1974. Trestain's book was published in 1998.

Monday, March 27, 2017

memory lane

In the 1970s, I was in the Cub Scouts. One of the annual traditions was the Pinewood Derby, and I remember making a car one year. It was a complete disaster, and I think the wheels fell off, but it was a fun disaster. Every boy had his own idea about how to make the car, what shape it should be, what weights to put in it and how to decorate it.

There was a kit with a block of wood, plastic wheels, nails for axels, and some instructions. Now there's a wikipedia page and a web site! I really could've used that. My car was barely carved, had no weights in it, the wheels were not put on the right way, it was painted metallic blue, and I glued on a piece of pyrite, "fool's gold" as a big, honkin' hood ornament. Truly the thing looked ridiculous, and it probably went in the trash at some point. I remember the winning car, too. It medium light blue and was shaped like a pointy teardrop, looked professionally made. When I saw it, I realized some kids had grown-ups helping them, and that was OK, I guess. I was happier making my own car, even if the wheels fell off before it could reach the finish line.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

"Tree Owls"

Owls were "a thing" in the 1970s. They were everywhere.

Today it is hard to go vintage shopping without finding lots of them.

at a shop in Hillsboro, Oregon
Seen on Etsy
1970s quilt from Cincinnati, Ohio
There are so many owl latch hooked rugs available for sale, I could have a large collection of them in just a few keystrokes, but there was one I liked best-- the Bucilla "Tree Owls" rug.

Like most of the other latch hooked rugs of the period, the design came as a kit, complete with printed canvas and yarn. This design is a little unusual in its use of longer "Rya" yarn in addition to the shorter length yarn. Part of the design is done in the reverse, more like needlepoint, with no shag showing on the front in the background of the tree hollow. The leaves were made with the longer, Rya yarn.

Although there were lots of owls, there were very few of these Bucilla Tree Owls, and the charming design jumped out when I saw it. The rug was less than half the price of the only kit I saw, which had sold about a month ago on eBay.

I love how easy it is to identify these 1970s rug designs. It is especially satisfying to have finite, straightforward answers when quilt identification is often anything but simple. Interestingly, none of the vintage 1970s latch hooked rugs I have seen have inscriptions or any information about the makers.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Christmas came early

I found this neat little vintage Santa Claus latch hook rug on eBay, and thought it was probably a kit. Most of the latch hook rugs of the time were kits. Sure enough, it was.

It is a Wonder Art Creative Needlecrafts kit, Number 4895 "Santa Claus". I found the kit later in another online auction. It was interesting to see "RYA" on the package. Rya rugs are traditional Scandinavian rugs with long pile, think: shag.

I didn't buy the Santa Claus kit, but it was interesting to find out more about it. If there was a book on these late 20th century latch hook rug kits, I'd buy it.

Friday, March 24, 2017


When I was nine or ten years old, some time around the Bicentennial I was into all kinds of arts and crafts. One of my at-home projects was a latch-hooked rug. 

My rug had a tiger with a big head, long tail and little red hats that looked like shoes on its ears. The rug went in a garage sale decades ago, but recently I regretted it as I jogged my memory about the actual design. For some reason, I thought it was Tigger from Winnie the Pooh, but it was really more of a generic tiger cartoon design. I found one on eBay and bought it.

While I was looking, I saw other rugs. Many of them had eagles, and a lot of those were patriotic, Bicentennial rugs. They weren't very expensive.

A couple of the rugs were eagles without patriotic elements, simply eagles in natural settings. One had a border on two edges.

I even found a thunderbird! Complete with thunder clouds and lightning bolts! How cool is that?

So, it looks like I have a little collection of latch-hooked rugs now. I'll sell some but keep others. They go well with the 1970s quilts, and the Patriotic eagles go especially well with the Bicentennial quilts. I got my hands on a canvas, too, so maybe I'll make another one. Back when I made my tiger rug, I tried sewing around the same time. Making the rug was much easier for me, and more relaxing, almost zen-like. The funny thing is I'll have to watch a tutorial to recall how to do it.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Andrea Proudfoot's Alphabet Quilt

Recently I discovered this neat little alphabet quilt made by Andrea Proudfoot. It was on the Goodwill auction site.

It came with a blue ribbon from the Siskiyou Golden Fair in Yreka, California.

It also came with a very detailed, handwritten label on the back with information about how the quilt was designed and made.

One of the most intriguing details to my eye was the quilting in the lower section. She included a copyright, and I can't recall seeing anything like that before. I suppose in the early to middle 1990s, quiltmakers were thinking of protecting their design work. It just struck me as something unusual in a quilt.

A quick Google search yielded an obituary in the Mt. Shasta News, from December 2013. Andrea Proudfoot was a fascinating person, and she had a connection to Oregon. I would love to hear from anyone who knew her or remembers the fabric store in Oregon.


Andrea Hofer Proudfoot, aged 76, passed peacefully Saturday, November 23, 2013, after battling Parkinson's Disease for over 30 years. Andrea grew up in the Washington, DC area; and received her BA in Home Economics from the University of Maryland. She moved to Oregon and successfully owned and operated a fabric store. She designed and produced clothing, as well as developed a baby pack which she marketed throughout North America. She moved to Yreka, California in 1983 where she married Robert and lived in view of Mt. Shasta. She began a new career as a quilter. She marketed several of her designs and received awards for her completed quilts. This last phase of her life included many treatments that attempted to halt or diminish the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease. She participated in a fetal tissue implant study and, as a final part of the study, has donated her brain to Dr. Curt Freed of the University of Colorado.