January 14, 2015

More old fabrics

Filed under: ◦Antique quilts,◦Fabrics,◦rickrack.com,◦Vintage — sharon @ 11:18 am

Besides quilt blocks, another item we come across from time to time is a bunch of precut pieces for quilts. Sometimes squares, triangles or diamonds, but this time we found a bunch of hexagons.
hexagon patches

All great fabrics from the 1880′s and 90′s, the hexagons measure 3 inches across, and right now are being offered on our eBay store. There are 75 different prints, plus a few extras.
hexagon patches

We have many more bits of old fabric, and we’ll be making up more assortments soon, including more hexagons and of course our perennial scrap offerings.
hexagon patches
hexagon patches
hexagon patches

June 10, 2014

Early Quilt Blocks Galore

Filed under: ◦Antique quilts,◦Fabrics,◦rickrack.com,◦Vintage — sharon @ 8:01 pm

One of the things we’ve been selling a lot lately has been antique quilt blocks. Here are a few pictures of ones that we’ve recently sold:
economy 9-patch blocks
4-patch blocks
round blocks
triangle blocks
star blocks

The variety of fabrics in these early blocks is fascinating; a collector or student of antique cotton fabrics would have to enjoy seeing many of these, as I have.  Among some of the blocks we’ve sold, the same fabrics have turned up repeatedly – in a few cases I believe the blocks were made by the same seamstress.

But we’re not close to running out.  Here are some of the blocks we currently have for sale on eBay:

variable star blocks
album patch blocks

And coming in the near future will be more album patch blocks, hexagon star blocks, and early ones with crescent moons and stars:
hexagon star blocks
moon & star blocks

There are many more still to be unearthed, so stay tuned to our eBay offerings.

And while we’re looking at early fabric, we found some that was never made into blocks – it’s also in our eBay store.
charm squares
Early fabric lovers, enjoy!

September 12, 2013

Two unusual fabrics

Filed under: ◦Fabrics,◦rickrack.com,◦Vintage — sharon @ 5:30 pm

Among the most interesting old fabrics we’ve seen in quite a while are two that we’re currently offering on eBay. One is this early native American print, showing chiefs in front of a tepee with basket and ceremonial pipe. Most of the 19th century fabric we’ve dealt with has been quilt or dress fabric, with some exceptions in the home décor field. But I’m not sure where this one fits in.

Only 24 inches selvedge width, and printed in rich browns, blues and red, it appears to me to be c. 1880. I have not seen another example of this fabric anywhere.
native americans fabric
The eBay listing for this fabric is here.

Our second, also very unusual fabric is this purple on white linen toile print, featuring the two sides of Ben Franklin’s medal celebrating American liberty, and the assistance of the French in the revolution. There is a toile pictured in Pierre Frey’s blog, dating from the late 18th century, that contains the same elements, but with scenes interspersed. Our fabric, while considerably more spare, contains most of the same structural elements without the scenes. Again we find no mention nor record of the existence of this particular fabric in our research.
purple toile fabric
The listing for the toile can be found here.

It all goes to show that when you look at, handle and deal with enough fabric and keep your eyes open, you can find some pretty amazing if not spectacular things.

May 24, 2013

Feedsack Friday – New Arrivals

Filed under: ◦Fabrics,◦Feedsack Friday,◦rickrack.com,◦Vintage — sharon @ 10:53 pm

Again, it’s the middle of our busy season, so I haven’t had much time to consider themes for this series, but there are a few feedsacks I’ve just gotten (most of which I hadn’t seen before), and so I thought I’d present a few here.

new feedsacknew feedsack
new feedsacknew feedsack
new feedsacknew feedsack

Several of these are currently available in my eBay store, along with some others – auctions ending Tuesday, May 28.

May 10, 2013

Feedsack Friday – Marking Time

Filed under: ◦Fabrics,◦Feedsack Friday,◦rickrack.com,◦Vintage — sharon @ 5:44 pm

As we’ve seen before, I never seem to have enough time to do everything to keep both this business and my home going, and of course, spring is the busiest season. So today I thought I’d show one of the feedsacks we bought at our spring show, this one is timely.
time feedsacktime feedsack

A border print feedsack that gives you the choice of several times of day, from five of six to three o’clock… and the hands are very nearly the same size, so the readings may be somewhat ambiguous.  I can’t remember seeing another feedsack featuring clock faces, but I’m sure there must be some.  Anyone? 

This one would make really cute kitchen curtains, and along with the other nineteen we bought at the show, it’s mint, still in sack form.

March 19, 2013

A Long Absence

Filed under: ◦Antique quilts,◦Fabrics,◦rickrack.com,◦Vintage — sharon @ 9:38 pm

We have neglected this blog for a long time.  However, we are hoping to once again post at least periodically, and to sometimes resume our Feedsack Friday postings as well.  For now, I’d like to discuss the lowly 9-patch quilt.
9-patch blocks

A 9-patch block is one of the simplest building blocks in quilting, consisting of 9 equal squares assembled into a larger square.   With only straight seams, the 9-patch is often a favorite of the less experienced quilter.  But depending on fabric choices, arrangement of the blocks and other variations of placement, bordering, etc., the result can be a vast difference between 9-patch quilts.  Here are a few from our site:
9-patch on point
Here’s one with sashing, as shown in our sidebar:
And a couple more different arrangements of the 9-patch blocks:
And of course, the 9-patch is the source of the quilt we know as the “Irish Chain”.
9-patch chain
9-patch quilts are by far the most common in our inventory; hopefully we’ll soon be adding a number of them on the Quilt Pages of our website.

February 27, 2010 A Little Explanation

I’m sorry we haven’t been keeping up with our Feedsack Friday posts (nor any others for that matter) lately, but besides the several snowstorms, the usual hassles of business, and other day-to-day happenings, we’ve added something else. For the next 5 weeks, Bill will be spending 2 hours a day in a hyperbaric chamber, plus 1 1/2 hours of driving time. This seriously eats into our available work time, and unfortunately, the blog will suffer.

While I’m here, though, I thought I’d post a couple of pictures of some of the great vintage tablecloths we’ve added to our stock lately. These are all from California Hand Prints, and are some of our favorites. Clicking on any image will take you to the page for the tablecloth, where you can see more, or even buy it!
CHP Pansies Tablecloth

I think this pansy tablecloth is the best of all, but also like the gardenias below, and the primrose, too!
CHP Gardenias Tablecloth
CHP Primrose Tablecloth

While I’m thinking of it, I’ll also mention Sharon’s Facebook page, where we’ll occasionally post something new and different. Stop by and become a fan!

February 12, 2010 Feedsack Friday – New Arrivals

Filed under: ◦Fabrics,◦Feedsack Friday,◦rickrack.com,◦Vintage — sharon @ 3:46 pm

The last couple of weeks have been busier than most, what with various medical appointments, sales, and then two back-to-back accumulating snowstorms. So last week we missed Feedsack Friday, and this week again we’re ill-prepared. Rather than skip it altogether, though, I thought I’d feature a selection of new sacks we recently purchased from a central Pennsylvania estate, some of which, as always, we hadn’t seen before. So here’s a selection of some of the new ones. First, some geometrics:
new sacknew sacknew sack
new sacknew sacknew sack

And then some interesting florals:
new sacknew sacknew sack
new sacknew sacknew sack

Many of these, and other new arrivals, are now available on our website, Sharon’s Antiques: Vintage Fabrics – New Arrivals.

December 22, 2009 The Vintage Business

Filed under: ◦Antique quilts,◦Fabrics,◦rickrack.com,◦Vintage — sharon @ 3:31 pm

I posted recently a post called Vintage Vintage, about the misuse of the word to designate items that aren’t really older, just inspired by older things or made to an older design. And I’ve probably mentioned before how absurd and difficult it can be to try to make a business of selling things that must be sought out and found individually, and offered for sale in whatever condition their age and experience has given them. How much more simple – and businesslike – it is to be able to order things by the dozen, bright and shiny new, and sell them one after another, never having to change the picture or advertising copy.

How much simpler, yes, but where does the joy come in? And that is the word that makes the difference. For some of us (you know who you are!) it’s all about finding that special vintage item, one with character, color, warmth, the love hand-crafted into it! It’s why we keep going to antique shows, flea markets, estate auctions and yard sales – hoping for that brief moment of elation, our heart skipping a beat on finding something wonderfully special. For instance, this Turkey red tablecloth from the Victorian era sets a festive tone for the holidays that can’t be matched by mass-produced, synthetic goods.
Turkey red tablecloth

Because we are privileged to live in a time of abundance, in an area whose history provides such a wealth of things made and saved, preserved and treasured for generations, we have been able to enjoy this feeling of discovery more frequently than many people, and that enjoyment has accounted for a rather large accumulation of vintage treasure. This is the wealth from which our business was conceived and born, but the joy of the find is still the spark that motivates all that we offer. Hopefully the joy is passed on with many of the special items we’ve been blessed to offer.

One especially tantalizing type of find is that of the unused item, preserved in its original package, still adorned with paper labels or price tags, put away for a rainy day that never came. Again we have been lucky to find many of these, and love having them to offer on our website, like these two tablecloth sets:
Wilendur tableclothPrints Charming tablecloth

Or these aprons:
MWT apronMWT apron

But even lacking like-new condition and original labels, it’s still a thrill to find something old that has somehow avoided the ravages of time, that has become the exception and survived unscathed, or only showing slight traces of the history that used up most of its contemporaries. This is the case with so many of the quilts we find in our area, the ones that were only for nice, and were carefully stored away for generations while the workaday bedding bore the brunt of the wear and tear. So that an item lovingly crafted 150 years ago can still look like this:
Whig rose quilt

So it is that we enjoy our business because we enjoy the beauty of the items, the connection with the past, and the linking of the past with people of today besides ourselves who appreciate the many qualities we nostalgically revere of days gone by.

I suppose it’s naive of me to have assumed that pristine condition in a vintage items is a desirable quality, though I’d be willing to bet that to most collectors, it is. And so in my naivete, I was surprised to recently receive this email:

Hello & Merry Christmas~
I want to start with telling you how much I did enjoy your aprons choices. I would like to interject though that you should take a little more care in your photography of the items you are advertising to sell……

It is quite obvious to me, and probably others that collect aprons that your items are reproductions and not actually VINTAGE APRONS. Look at the photographs- the aprons are pristine, unwashed, unused and have never been worn before! It can be easily deduced by any aficionado that these aprons are copies that had just been sewn probably from either migrant workers or from a foreign country for pennies on the dollar. I suggest that you wash them then partially iron them to give that a slightly worn look before photographing them.

This is just a suggestion…. I did alert a family member that was thinking of ordering from you that these aprons were not authentic vintage aprons. I’m probably not the first person to do so…..

And another immediately following:

I just took a look at your FAQ page- it is SUCH a lie that these are authentic VINTAGE products- you might want to think about changing your wording… it is totally false!!!

So we have come full circle. Apparently wear and tear is a desired commodity; pristine condition an impossibility! If I were to take these missives to heart, I’d have to change my whole philosophy. It’s not that I don’t find joy in things that have been used, on the contrary I have a special place in my heart for items that have been mended and patched, sometimes patched on top of patches, feeling the value that their owners obviously placed on them over the generations.

The Christmas greeting I received above bothers me more because I’ve been so careful to be honest, to represent what I sell as accurately as possible, and despite all of that been taken to task for gross dishonesty – for lying – based on scant and faulty evidence. Heaven knows I don’t think my pictures are all that good, and all too often the aprons are wrinkly or show a spot or something. But why, if I were selling repros, would I only have ONE of EACH?? I’m crazy enough to be in the vintage business, not crazy enough to try to pretend that new is vintage. Oh yes, and though my business is based on recycling at its best – re-use rather than new manufacture, I’ve been accused of abusing slave labor!

We spoke with this lady on the telephone, and wished her a Merry Christmas also. I think I overcame her skepticism and convinced her that we’re just a couple of people trying to make a living and preserve the best of earlier times, not to hoodwink anyone into buying shoddy merchandise produced in labor camps.

The vintage business. It is crazy, labor intensive, more a hobby than a business really. I’ve been told before that one or another of my items was new, not vintage, and had to point out that the maker whose label adorned the product had not been in business for decades. I’ve also been taken to task for having too great a markup, since the item I was selling for $30 had the tag still on showing that I had paid only $1.29. That tag was also from a store that was out of business before I was in.

Christmas hankyI won’t be changing my business model. It’s all right there and plainly visible to an unbiased view. I have often wondered about people who find deception in everything they read or hear. I have no problem with common sense, value it highly in fact, and am the last one to accept everything at face value. But if you look, really look, you can see the difference, can’t you?

Wishing all my readers the most joyous of Christmases, or happiest of whatever holidays you may celebrate!

December 11, 2009 Feedsack Friday – Solidarity

Filed under: Vintage, rickrack.com, Fabrics, Feedsack Friday — Bill @ 4:31 pm

Quilters and others often look for fabrics in solid colors to offset or contrast with print fabrics, and for some reason solid colored feedsacks seem to be among the scarcest. We don’t find them in the same bright colors of the printed sacks; for instance, I have yet to see one in that bright lime green, nor in vivid red. Mostly what we see are subtle shades, pastels and the like. In fact, the very subltlety of the colors makes it difficult for us to post a true representation of the color on our site. We’ve been sold out of solids for a while, but here are some we’ve come across that we’re adding to our stock.
solid sacksolid sacksolid sack
solid sacksolid sacksolid sack

This time we found no yellows, nor pinks – but we have seen them before, along with others…
solid sacksolid sacksolid sack
solid sacksolid sacksolid sack

Of course, there are many, many more. One thing we’ve also found is that some folks home-dyed plain white sacks to use for their projects, but I believe that all of these were factory colors. I do have one in apricot, and one in green, with lettering from the label still on them.