Feathers from Paper to Fabric

During my “off-season” where I don’t have any pressing deadlines, I have been dabbling in a wholecloth that seeks to reproduce a bed-sized Calamanco quilt that was made in 1800 in America by an unknown quilter, at a smaller scale.

[Calamanco (also spelled calimanco) is a sturdy glazed fabric which was popular in Britain and America during the 18th and 19th Centuries, and which gave its name to quilts made from it. The name comes from a Spanish term for worsted (long fiber wool).  The glaze (or sheen) was produced by rubbing the cloth with a stone, or by applying egg white or wax to the surface.]                                   ~from www.historyofquilts.com

Armed with only a picture of the quilt, I set out to draw the design onto a nice weight vellum sheet.  Then I came across a picture in another book with a beautiful feather border,  also by an unknown quilter in 1930.  So, I added that border to surround the Calamanco design.  Lastly, I added my own designed feather border to cap off the overall design.  Thus it is a wholecloth quilt with designs spanning three centuries.

I finally got the whole quilt top pinned — you can see the sea of pins in these snippets!

Vellum was used so that I can easily transfer the design onto the fabric using a lightbox which my mentor Barbara has graciously loaned me.  It took me 15 hours to just do the transfer!!!

I am hoping I would be able to squeeze in a few stitches on this baby before the weekend is upon us.   Of course, I will update you with the progress with pictures as I work on this quilt inch by inch!  I hope to also show you the original pictures later from the books if my camera is able to capture them nicely.

I am thankful to those who have preserved these quilts.  I only wish we had better documentations of these blessed ladies who had produced such masterpieces for us to appreciate and enjoy.  Your mind goes, “The moral story is…. ?” Oh, you mean, what is the moral story of all this?  I guess, as my quilt teacher Barbara always insists — ALWAYS ATTACH A QUILT LABEL TO A COMPLETED QUILT!

10 thoughts on “Feathers from Paper to Fabric

  1. Wow! That is going to be another masterpiece!! I can’t wait to see the finished product.

    FYI…My grandson was born on 8/9!!!! :-)

  2. This is so beautiful! I love wholecloth quilts, and done a few small ones but nothing to this extent. What did you use for marking your designs on this quilt? That’s the biggest chore, isn’t it? My least favorite part of quilting. And I never seem to have just the right marking tool for the job.

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