Welcome to My Red Cape. Long ago in another time my husband Jack and I lived in a little old red house. It was the stuff of dreams to us for the few years that we were there. I live there still a number of hours every day in imagination, with old dolls and paintings and fabrics and feather trees. I draw inspiration and happiness from the memories of that space in time and share some of it here with friends who remember how to step with Alice through the looking glass and take delight in whimsies and antiquities.

For more than sixty years I have studied, collected, repaired, and bought and sold antique dolls. They have been back ground music in my life at every stage, sometimes louder, sometimes subdued, but always there with me. To see only the posts about dolls on this blog, click the banner on the right titled Dolls for My Red Cape. Keep clicking “Older Posts” to see more. Some of the posts featuring rug hooking are gathered under the banner For Cathy. From time to time items are offered for sale under the banner “O’Neill’s Antiques” which was our shop name for many years. ~Edyth O’Neill

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Dolls Have Quilts!

Desirable early doll quilts and crib quilts are much more rare than full size examples. I have made very few, choosing to collect old ones.  One must also be careful not to purchase without realizing it, merely a cut down re hemmed piece from a larger quilt.

I made my first and only full size quilt the year I was twenty three. It is a red and white one in Bear's Paw pattern. I pieced it lovingly by hand and sent it out to a local lady to quilt it for me by the piece rather than the less expensive clam shell.  She charged nine dollars plus the cost of the thread and did a perfect job. My daughter Beth has that quilt now.

That was also the year I began to collect antique dolls while living on a ranch in West Central Texas, far from pavement much less an antique shop. 
The interest in early printed fabrics found in doll clothing and quilts has run along always with my interest in old dolls.

The variations of Log Cabin with their beautiful old pattern names are still favorites for me as they are for so many other textile lovers. The early log cabin shown on the borders of this blog is set in a pattern called Court House Steps. Pineapple Log Cabin sometimes called Windmill Blades is shown below in a full size quilt.


No wonder that I loved dearly the little navy and white crib quilt I bought from Martha Waldie's shop in Dallas years back. It featured the well known indigo cotton with tiny white all over stars. I believe it dates to the civil war era or a bit before.   So many of my favorite things have come from the third quarter of the nineteenth century including the German wax over papier mache doll with wooden arms and legs.

Perhaps the most often found"set" for Log Cabin is Sunshine and Shadow. A small piece of Sunshine and Shadow backs up one of my doll cases below.

 A number of China head dolls are gathered in an old hooded cradle. The cradle is lined with a large fine example of Sunshine and Shadow

A big Greiner girl and a German papier mache boy are shown below along with a very worn doll quilt. Even threadbare the graphics are still pleasing.

The few examples I have here do not begin to show the pleasure to be had hunting really old doll quilts.  A big Greiner doll with original finish and stamped  letters low on her back shoulder plate "Patent Head" is shown below with two nice early doll quilts behind her. I love the red and brown color way for these.
 The baby dress on the doll is from the Musselman collection sold at several Pennsylvania auctions in the 1980's.    The little dress dates about 1835.  There were four lots of them and I kept my bidder's paddle in the air until I owned three of them.  All of but one of these textiles are gone now, but the Patent head Greiner is still with me on another body and repainted.  This Philadelphia made doll's mark is considered to be the earliest Greiner mark before the paper labels were put on them.
The pieced doll size pockets and tiny sewing roll up and strawberry in the  lower part of the photograph were treasures made by friend Johnetta B. 

MAIDA Today has a good post on Doll Quilts some taken in my  home. Go enjoy. Then Please come back!

A nice site to study traditional quilt patterns is http://wwqsg.blogspot.com/  

Look at this one for precious early printed cottons in a dated quilt!
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