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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Making Progress and a New Quilt!

The sewing room cleaned up is still in progress.  Will it ever end?  I'm going to the store to get some organization supplies.  Seems like the old way of doing things isn't working anymore.  While all of that is going on, I must keep working on new stuff, and I'm all ready to dive into a new project.  It's always so exciting, isn't it?  If it weren't, I suppose we wouldn't have so many UFO's!

I have been waiting for just the right project to come along to use the awesome fabric on the left.  It will be the border.  All I have is a fat quarter.  What in the world was I thinking only buying a fat quarter?  OMG!  The quilt is small....only about 20 inches finished, and because it's a directional fabric, I don't have enough for straight cuts (for want of a 3.5 inch strip.  Sigh.)   So...I'll "make-do" and  piece where I have to.  Split seams are the most common type of make-do.....narry every antique quilt has them.  I'll be honoring our quilting heritage!

I'm pretty sure the light print on the right will be "the one".  Still not 100% sure, but I'll audition it on my design wall for a day or two (while I keep sorting and purging!)  The fabrics appear a bit washed out from the saturated, luscious colors they really are.  I'm certain it's not the camera, but the photographer.  I'm woefully inept with capturing the look I really want.  Maybe in another life, I'll learn how to take a decent photo!

This yet unnamed quilt is for Journey Five.  I'll post progress.  The Pin Money and Prairie Wovens & Dobbies sample yardage should be arriving soon, so we'll be in full sewing mode here.  Better finish the sewing room!!  
In the meantime.....I thought you'd a enjoy more 1800's trivia!  

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1800's Trivia

One of my favorite antique collectibles are butter molds.

There's something so domestic and dear about them.  

Butter molds were used mostly in the 17th & 18th centuries at a time when the only way to have butter was to churn it yourself.  (1762 is the earliest documented date for a butter mold in America.)  Women churned and packed butter to sell for extra money, and the butter molds served not only as a unit of measure, but imprinted the butter with a design that would identifying her butter from the rest.  A brand, if you will.

They are truly folk art as they were carved by hand, usually from maple because maple held up very well to all the use and washing.

They came in a variety of shapes and sizes.....some quite crude with no design, and others beautiful works of art!  

Butter molds have three basic parts:

The outer shell, the stamp or die design, and the plunger.  

Butter molds allowed the butter to be free-standing, served as a measure forming the correct amount of butter.

The plunger pressed the stamp onto the top of the butter and pushed the butter from the shell.

But it's the stamp design that makes these treen wonders so collectible!

As you can see in the photos, every kind of motif, flora, fauna, bird and farm animal was depicted on butter stamps.  This rare, lovely design with the word 'Union' is one of the best I've ever seen.  

Once the butter was ready, the inside of the mold was dusted with flour.  It was packed very tightly inside of the shell.  Butter paddles helped immensely with this task as you wouldn't want any air or liquid trapped inside your butter lest it turn rancid.  

When the butter was firmly packed, it was ejected from the mold and wrapped in wet muslin, ready to take to the market.  Not all butters were alike!  If your butter was exceptional (or not!), the design of your stamp quickly identified your butter from the rest, an artful and easy way if identification.  

The butter molds at the right are from my collection.  I look for a design I like, and a wonderful patina to the wood.  The smaller, butter pat molds are harder to find, and of course, more expensive.  I was very lucky to find the pat mold with my initial several years ago, which is fun. 

When I hold a butter mold, I can't help but feel the wear, to be linked to the hands of the woman who used this wonderful piece to package and market her butter.  Who carved the wood and stamp design?  Did they have any clue what a beautiful piece of art they were creating?  

I recently discovered "lollipop" butter stamps.  They, too, come in a wide variety of design motifs.  I hope to find one or two to add to my collection!

I hope you've enjoyed this bit of 1800's trivia.  

What kind of American Folk Art do you collect?

I know there's a lot of kindred spirits like me out there, collecting and caring for these pieces for our lifetime.  
And...it's my pleasure to do so!



  1. Wow! Those are some gorgeous butter molds! The designs on those make for great designs for hooked rugs too! The lolipop molds are new to me too... in fact, I was not aware of the butter pat molds either. What an education I'm getting with my morning coffee today! :-) Absolutely LOVE the fabric gatherings you've shown... especially the first. Grey is quickly becoming my go-to pull-it-all-together color... Can't wait to see what you stitch up with it!

  2. Hi there! I'm a newbie quilter, and I'm enjoying reading your posts. Your butter molds are just beautiful! I don't have any of those, but I do collect mortar and pestle sets with a preference for the older brass and cast iron ones.
    Have a great day!

  3. oh what yummy fabrics, i can't wait to see your little quilt project!! oh, oh, oh, i do love those delightful butter molds.. they are all ssoo beautiful & unique!!! my current collecting obsession is antique quilts & Victorian buttons.. love them!!

  4. Thank you for sharing your collection of butter molds they are wonderful. You inspired me to get my one out and display.

  5. Love seeing the butter molds - gosh my grgran had many, wonder what happened to them.

  6. I love that black/gold/red fabric. I got a nice piece of it in an online scrapbag purchase and have loved including it in my little scrap quilts.
    Great butter molds. I am drawn to wood creations for any purpose and these are beautiful and functional. That is a winning combination!

  7. I love those butter molds. The designs are wonderful! I collect darning eggs, and just recently started displaying them. They'd been stashed in drawers for years and years! :o)

  8. Love the fabrics, and can't wait to see the quilt. I know what you mean about fat quarters - if only we could see into the future while shopping. I have many that I wish were much bigger pieces. Still, I think it is the best way for us fabric collectors to build our stash for antique-looking scrap quilts.

    Thanks for posting about the butter molds - fascinating! And each one a perfect work of art. Unfortunately I don't have room in the house for collecting Americana - too much fabric, yarn, fleeces and spinning fiber!

    I've just recently taken up blogging again after a 2-year break - quilting also. I'm searching for the blogs I used to read as well as new ones. Yours is new to me, and I've been reading for the last couple weeks. I really enjoy seeing what you are up to, as we have the same interests.

    Please come visit me if you have time at www.quiltingisstillmypassion.blogspot.com.

  9. I am in love with all of that fabric. What line of fabric is that ?? I would love some fat quarters

  10. Love the fabrics especially the neutral with the red berries. Will look forward to seeing your completed quilt.

    Your post on butter molds was really interesting. I have one mold and one butter paddle both from a vacation in Canada. I do love the patina of the woods. I was not familiar with the "lollipop" butter stamp - will be on the lookout for one of those. I tend to have many different vintage kitchen items but not usually multiples.

    Well, back to my sewing room - to sew not clean!


  11. Your fabric selections are really YuM! They are sure to work into something beautiful. I really enjoyed the butter molds, what a fantastic selection! Do you ever use them? They look something like a few cookie presses I have...just an idea ~

  12. Not a collector myself but love reading about your interests. Thanks

  13. Your fabrics are beautiful....can't wait to see the quilt with them in it.
    Reading about your collection of butter molds brought back my memories of how much I enjoyed going to my aunts and having some of her fresh churned butter. It was the best and nothing in the stores tastes quite like it.

  14. Your butter molds are just wonderful and your fabrics choice is spectacular.Can´t wait to see your new project.Have a fun weekend!

  15. I, too, would LOVE you to post which lines of fabrics those are (designers and fabric line names). I MUST GET ME SOME!!!!!

  16. I really enjoyed your post regarding the butter molds. I love to learn about history and to see the old butter molds that you have collected was exciting! Thank you!

  17. Good post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Appreciate it!
    Robinets de Baignoire