An interesting box

It was probably 30 years ago when I was given this unassuming sturdy cardboard box –

the box

because I might, as someone who taught patchwork and quilting, be interested in the contents.  Four charred pieces of wood and a small carding brush were also passed on to me.  The wood was damaged well beyond it’s original use as the component parts of a small embroidery/quilting slate frame, the small carding brush still usable.

Inside the box?  Well, it’s a fascinating glimpse into a little bit of quilting circa late 1940s – carefully saved embroidery transfers, quilting transfers, home made templates and handwritten instructions for quilting which are well worth reading

the instructions

instructions page two

box contents

corner of transfer sheet

Briggs transfer

card templates

Deighton's quilting pattern

transfer detail

home made paper template

second paper pattern

card templates

card templates

card template

circular card label

Even a card label (apparently from a paraffin heater) had been kept to use as a circle template – thrift prevailed!

Italian quilting transfers

card templates

And looking through this box again has started me wondering if it would ever be possible to distil ” a quilting life” down to just one box of patterns and templates….?  These days we have so much of everything readily available, or just a few clicks away – it’s an interesting comparison don’t you think?

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11 thoughts on “An interesting box

  1. Thank you for posting these pictures, Barbara…I hope one day somebody will cherish my own box of selfmade cardboard templates and patterns the same way you do here. Indeed we have so many things readily available – but I must confess I prefer the “old-fashioned” ones because they show so much more of a quilter’s life.

  2. It’s interesting to look at old quilted items and try to identify the templates or patterns ….still looking for the patterns for some of the corded cushions I have, I’m sure that they are from patterns. Yes much easier, but not much originality sometimes…pippa

  3. What a wonderful little hoard, to think of someone sitting cutting out those templates using their imagination making some lovely things I’m sure, these days we are spoilt, freezer paper rotary cutters a vast selection of fabric, sewing machines that can a number of wonderful things but the biggest joy I get is looking at old quilts and being amazed at the fine work of the handstitcher, how lucky you are to have been given such a wonderful box of treasures, someone’s past their passion their treasured possessions that to me is priceless

  4. It’s all the extras that make it so very special. I wonder how much of the ‘hand made’ would find its way into the modern quilters box. It would probably need a shipping container for all the notions that quilters seem to find so essential today.

  5. It always seems so romantic to imagine the simpler life…using cardboard and paper bags and true scraps. (I
    doubt those working so hard to ‘make do’ thought of it as romantic!) Those earlier quilters worked so hard and employed resourcefulness just to arrive at our current starting line! I love quilters because you all teach me that the process is the goal…those pioneer quilters had a longer process and possibly deeper satisfaction because of it. Thank you, Barbara, for this glimpse.

  6. Wow what a perfect home it found. Yes I think I could get my supplies in one box but I would want to keep my rotary cutter. I prefer making things my own as best I can when it comes to quilting designs. In the USA quilting is getting too commercial and it turns me off. Meredith

  7. What a surprise to find a picture of a (for me very interesting box) with such wonderful content. I happen to be a quilter from Holland, living in Australia. My home town in Holland is Weert (as on your box) and the company “Limco” was the local slaughterhouse and if I remember correctly sausage factory. So some where along the line their must have been a dutch connection. When quilting I also use whatever presents itself as suitable to make templates and patterns from instead of going out and buying something. Must be Dutch triftyness.
    Thanks for this Barbara I loved reading your blog and being reminded of home.
    From Nel

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