Antiquities – Archives to Fabric!

As a textile designer, I relish in the fact that Quilting Treasures makes great use of our fabric and artwork archives.   It’s as though the history of our company is refreshed over and over with our fabric collections through our brand, Antiquities.  A few months ago, I blogged an introduction of the Antiquities brand and we have come a long way since then.  Our library of Antiquities fabrics has grown and we are excited to share some insight into how the fabrics are resurrected!

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Here is one of our archival books.  The writing here refers to the strike-off lot that the mill was printing.  This is a written record of the fabric production.

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And above, a slide show of one of the books with different illustrations the artists may have used or referenced when creating new fabric designs.   Notice the signature on the scroll illustration – 1843.  Fabulous!

These Antiquities collections start off with a swatch of fabric taken from one of our archival books.   Some are very small swatches, others are larger.  Regardless, it takes a talented textile design artist to recreate these and bring them back to life!

AShford Swatch

Above is an example of a very small swatch of fabric taken from the archives to develop into one of our Ashford Collection prints…not much to work with here.  The designer scanned this swatch into the computer and then had to re-draw the rest of the design to put it into repeat.  The image below is the design once it was recreated and put into a repeat. Remember, it started only from that little swatch!

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It is important with fabric design especially, to balance the pattern so you do not see an overall line or cluster in the print.  We call that tracking or spotting.  It’s important to avoid this in fabric design because if you see a large span of the fabric, you don’t want that line or spot to detract from the overall beauty of the design.  Here is the above print- repeated out – as it would be if it were used for a large pillow.

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A very well-balanced design in repeat.

Of course, in quilting, you often use smaller pieces and tracking isn’t necessarily an issue.  When designing for quilters, it is important to offer a well-rounded balance of colors, densities of pattern and values.  Why?  Because a quilter wants to show off the piecing of the quilt pattern in addition to the quilting itself.  Having contrasts in color, open spaced designs vs. packed designs and lights, mediums and darks are all great ways to add extra dimension to your project!!!

Here are the all the designs in the Ashford collection for you to see the various color, densities and values…

We were thrilled when one of our fabric friends, Karen Bialik of the Fabric Addict, asked if she could use our Antiquities fabrics to create a block of the month program.   This pattern is available wholesale through Checker Dist or from Karen herself.  You can head over to her website to find out more!  The results were amazing and perfect for our little lesson here as we discuss designs transitioning from archives to fabric!

Karen designed this “Twist the Night Away” quilt as a block of the month sampler quilt.

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Twist the Night Away shown using Ashford fabric by Antiquities

Karen, as the quilt designer, worked to balance the color and pattern in a way that would make the quilt design more dynamic.  The darker and lighter areas pop, while the different patterns blend or define shapes as Karen intended.  The results are just beautiful!   Here are some detail shots!

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The center of the quilt… those points are on-point!
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One of the blocks – notice the dark moss with the medium paisley and then the mini berry pattern… working together with the light pieces on the outside to define the shapes!
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We love the edge of this quilt with the binding and floral pattern and then the inset stripes of color… a beautiful way to use those bolder colors!

Isn’t that a beautiful quilt?   Karen also used the same quilt pattern to make one out of our Canterbury Fabric line.  Another great Antiquities collection with rich navy, red and warm tans…

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Notice how the quilt has a completely different look when using these fabrics?
The same block with completely different results… that’s why I ❤ fabric & quilting!!!

One more because I have to….

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So beautiful.  Ashford and Canterbury were our inaugural collections for Antiquities. Those are both in stores now!   Since then, we’ve developed Bristol (Shipping July) and  Fairfield (Shipping in August).  You can check them out on our website and be sure to ask your local shop if they have it!  Of course, there are a few more collections in development!!!

In textile design, we learn so much about the history of where we have been and how the development of the  industry has changed over the years.  At QT, our rich history in the textile world is something I am extremely proud of  as an employee-owner.  It makes me feel like we are fulfilling the legacy of our ancestors.  Looking out over the old mill buildings make me proud to be a part of the history.  Who knows, in two hundred years our “Modern/Fashion” fabrics will be the new Antiquities fabric?  As they say, “What is old is new again”  I am so happy for that!!!

A special thank you to Karen Bialik of the Fabric Addict for the beautiful quilt designs and for showing off the Antiquities fabrics.  Contact if you are interested in her block of the month pattern.




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