March 14, 2013

March 13, 2009 Feedsack Friday – Promotion!

One of the things that made the feedsack phenomenon what it was, was the incredible amount of promotion that went into the idea of recycling the bags into other products. But few companies that produced the bags had many ways of publicizing their products. Today we find their advertising in relatively few places – on logo feedsacks (the plain ones with advertising labels) or on paper labels that remain on the printed sacks.

One of the popular bag makers was the Werthan Company of Nashville, TN. We’ve had a number of their sacks, and the ones with paper labels do have their advertixing. Here’s a detail from a Werthan “Banded Bag”:
banded bag
And another with a different label has only the simple printed legend, Werthan Bags Nashville:
werthan bag

You may also remember the Werthan Co. from the film Driving Miss Daisy. But you may not have seen some of their other, more clever promotional items.

Here’s a needle book advertising the merits of Werthan Bags:
Werthan needle book
Werthan needle book

The other items we’re presenting today are actually made from Werthan feedsack fabric. First, a miniature feedsack with the Werthan label:
Werthan needle bookWerthan needle book

Finally, something to appeal to the younger set. I’m not sure if these were actually available printed on sacks, or if this was a specialty advertising item only. Here’s Pokey the Pony:
Werthan needle book
Werthan needle book

Werthan is still in business, now making paper bags for the pet food industry; their old cotton/bag mill has been converted to residential lofts.

March 9, 2009 A star of a different color

A couple of weeks ago I posted a quilt that was a 1930’s variation on a traditional pattern. So again today, a quilt we just found last week here in Berks County, PA. This time it’s a lone star, or Star of Bethlehem, in anything but traditional color and form.
1930's star
This came from an estate where quilting was a family affair; there were two sons who had each made their own redwork quilt at the age of 16. Do you know any 16 year old boys making any quilts today??
Anyway, I love the color choices, and the way the star is framed. The quilt does boast an altogether 1930’s character in it’s geometric layout. Oh, and the back is a great color contrast…
1930's star
More pictures of this quilt can be seen here.

March 6, 2009 Feedsdack Friday – Harbingers

With a warm spell expected this weekend (finally!), perhaps we’ll see the first robin of the season. I know I actually heard the call of a mourning dove the other day. Which brings us to this week’s feedsack Friday topic, those harbingers of spring, the birds. Not larger fowl, but small and mid-size birds appear on a number of feedsacks.
Bluebirds and other songbirds appear in birdhouses, on a see-saw and in a multi-colored flock:
birds feedsackbirds feedsackbirds feedsack

Some we can identify, but others are difficult.
birds feedsackbirds feedsackbirds feedsack

And there are pet birds – cage birds and tropical ones.
birds feedsackbirds feedsackbirds feedsack

Not too many this week, though some of these did, as before, come in several different colorways. I hope we start to see them outdoors this weekend.

February 27, 2009 Feedsack Friday – Our Checkered Past

The first patent issued for feedsacks made from printed material was issued in 1924. The George Plant Milling Co. of St. Louis sold Gingham Girl Flour in red checked bags. It took a number of years after that until more printed sacks began to appear, but it was a beginning. We know the end result; more than 18,000 different feedsack print patterns!

I imagine that the first red gingham bags looked something like one of these:
gingham feedsackgingham feedsack

We have no way of knowing at this late date, barring any sack that should turn up retaining the Gingham Girl label, whether it was a straight or diagonal check, or the exact scale of the print. Since the first ones, colors have included the entire rainbow and scales have ranged from quite large to tiny. Examples of some of the larger checks:
checked feedsackchecked feedsackchecked feedsack
checked feedsackchecked feedsackchecked feedsack

Here are some in medium scale for you to check out:
checked feedsackchecked feedsackchecked feedsack

We noticed that there seems to be a broader range of color available as the scale gets smaller:
checked feedsackchecked feedsackchecked feedsack
checked feedsackchecked feedsackchecked feedsack
(more…)

February 20, 2009 Feedsack Friday – Paisley Prints

This week’s feedsack Friday subject is Paisley prints. Paisley is a very old pattern, the “twisted teardrop” shape has been known since at least the 17th century in India and Persia. The western name, Paisley, comes from a town in Scotland where weavers and dyers adapted the pattern to the Victorian shawls that were made there.

Since that time paisley has never completely gone out of style, having peaked again in the hippie years, and making something of a resurgence again at present. The feedsack era was certainly no exception; there must be hundreds of paisley variations in feedsacks, from traditional interpretations to all sorts of combinations with other images, mostly floral.
paisley feedsackpaisley feedsackpaisley feedsack

Sometimes large paisley motifs dominate the design, other times they are small and just one element in an overall pattern.
paisley feedsackpaisley feedsackpaisley feedsack
paisley feedsackpaisley feedsackpaisley feedsack

Perhaps you remember paisley patterns on those ubiquitous red bandanas. Well, the red bandanas also made their way into feedsack design:
paisley feedsackpaisley feedsack

Sometimes the paisley pattern is composed completely of flowers:
paisley feedsackpaisley feedsackpaisley feedsack

I couldn’t resist these whimsical designs with paisley decorated bubbles:
paisley feedsackpaisley feedsackpaisley feedsack
(more…)

February 17, 2009 Different strokes

Filed under: ◦Antique quilts,◦Fabrics,◦Vintage — sharon @ 2:38 pm

Though antique and vintage quilts often share common factors, there is usually something that sets each one apart from the others. Any quilt not made from a kit involves choices on the quilter’s part as far as fabric selection, pattern, scale, quilting designs, and more. We are often intrigued and delighted most by quilts representing the more unconventional choices on the part of the maker. So it is with our subject today.

It’s an applique pattern known as oak leaf and reel, or sometimes just oak leaf. In the 19th century, when this pattern was most common, the traditional fabric choices included red and green on white, or two color quilts with just one contrasting color on white, usually red or indigo. That’s why finding this quilt brought a smile to our faces.
Oak leaf quilt

I’ve seen lots of double wedding ring, Dresden plate and Sunbonnet Sue quilts done in 1930’s prints, but this is the first one I’ve seen using those fabrics for a traditional applique pattern like this.
Oak leaf quilt
Oak leaf quilt
Oak leaf quilt
Oak leaf quilt

OK, it’s definitely not what we’re used to, but certainly delightful in it’s own right!

February 14, 2009 Happy Valentine’s Day!

Filed under: ◦Family,◦Friends,◦Vintage — sharon @ 2:37 pm

This little vintage pitcher from Czecheslovakia just sits in our bathroom most of the time, sometimes with an added rose or two from the garden. It’s damaged, and wouldn’t sell for much if anything, but it’s fine for me and the whimsical decoration always brightens my day when I look at it, and it’s perfect for Valentine’s day!
Czech pitcher

February 13, 2009 Feedsack Friday – Presidents’ Day

OK, when we were kids, there were two separate holidays in February, Lincoln’s Birthday on the 12th and Washington’s on the 22nd. In order not to give government and bank employees too many days off, and not to slight one president or the other, the two holidays have been combined into one since 1968. But I still remember fondly all the cherry pies associated with the Washington’s Birthday holiday, based, of course, on the popular myth of George having chopped down his dad’s cherry tree.

At any rate. to honor the holiday, this week we’re featuring feedsacks with a cherry theme. And there are many – from realistic bright red, juicy looking ones to the utterly fantastic. Some of the more mouth-watering ones:
cherries feedsackcherries feedsackcherries feedsack

But of course fabric designers do not feel constrained to realism, and all sorts of variations on a cherry theme can result.
cherries feedsackcherries feedsackcherries feedsack

Who knew cherries could be blue? Here are more in combination with various leaves and flowers:
cherries feedsackcherries feedsackcherries feedsack
cherries feedsackcherries feedsackcherries feedsack

We’ve limited ourselves this week to cherries; though they’re often combined with other fruit on feedsacks, for those you may have to wait until “Fruit salad Friday.”

cherries feedsackcherries feedsackcherries feedsack
cherries feedsackcherries feedsackcherries feedsack

As you can see, there are various colorways of many designs, and the variety is nearly endless. We’re not finished yet… (more…)

February 10, 2009 The future arrives….

Filed under: General,◦Country Living,◦Family,◦Friends — sharon @ 2:12 pm

We’ve been living in the past for so long, little changes seem to take on huge significance in our lives. For years we didn’t watch television at all, then for 4 years or so we watched only a 15 inch black and white. Now that we’ve been using a 17 inch Sony color set for the last 5 years or so, I’m afraid we’ve passed the point of no return.

Living, as we do, pretty far out in the country, and using only the rabbit ears antenna attached to the set, we’ve had to settle for a total of four broadcast channels to get our television fix. With the coming of all-digital TV later this year, and the impossibility of rabbit ears pulling in any channel at all out here in the sticks, we’ve finally entered the 20th century (I know the calendar says we’re in the 21st, but give us time.) and gotten a satellite receiver.

progress
This may explain why we’ve posted fewer blog entries lately, as we play with the myriad choices never before available. After years of running our website with only a dial-up connection, and last year’s switch (finally) to DSL, now this satellite thingy, soon our Luddite friends won’t know us at all. And who knows what will become of us if this awful progress should continue?

February 6, 2009 My Feedsack Valentine – Feedsack Friday

Filed under: ◦Fabrics,◦Feedsack Friday,◦rickrack.com,◦Vintage — sharon @ 2:02 pm

Just over a week until the big day, the occasion of gifts of candy and flowers and everything with a heart motif, so this week we’re beginning the celebration with feedsacks for the romantic, each decorated with hearts and most with flowers. First, three colorways of this valentine feedsack with lacy hearts, bows and scattered rosebuds and tiny hearts:
hearts and flowershearts and flowershearts and flowers

All of the next three feature hearts in red, but blue plays an important part two, in the flowers of the first and third and the background of the one in the middle.
hearts and flowershearts and flowershearts and flowers

Next, a pair with yellow hearts enclosing roses, alternating with hearts composed of flowers in the same color as the roses….
hearts and flowershearts and flowers

Three more with hearts and flowers:
hearts and flowershearts and flowershearts and flowers

The next two use hearts as part of a folk art motif, so they are perhaps less appropriate for Valentine’s day, but the final one looks like it was made just for the occasion.
hearts and flowershearts and flowershearts and flowers

One more thing; we often notice that vintage fabrics that are not feedsack were printed in the same patterns as feedsacks. In the case of our Valentine’s day special selections, we have two examples currently on the novelty fabrics section of our website:
hearts and flowers fabrichearts and flowers fabric