Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Joan Kiplinger and Indian Head Fabric

Joan Kiplinger was the "go to" lady for Indian Head fabric. She had done a large and extensive research project about that particular fabric. We got to know each other via e-mail (she lived in Ohio and I in Illinois) through her research with Indian Head fabric and my research with Collingbourne Mills, Inc. and LeeWards. In the 1930s Collingbourne Mills, Inc. offered their stamped quilts squares in four different fabrics - one was Indian Head.

I'm not sure who contacted who first, but I do remember we shipped a 1930s Sears catalog back and forth so many times that catalog spent more time on the road than a 1930s traveling salesman. I also sent her scans from some of my vintage quilt catalogs and fabrics. She shared her knowledge of scanners and photographs. Later we talked of more personal things, but fabric brought us together.

I asked her about her Indian Head fabrics and three days later I got two sheets with fabric samples and explanations attached to them. That was the kind of person she was - a good and gracious soul with the heart of a teacher. She was a brilliant lady and when Joan Kiplinger passed, it was like a library had burned to the ground.

A dear quilt friend e-mailed me about Joan a day or two ago -- like me, she thought a lot of Joan too and it reminded me that I had these two pages with information about Indian Head fabrics so I thought I would not keep the information "hidden away" and Joan, since she knew I belonged to a regional study group, gave me permission to share it with anyone who was interested in Indian Head fabric. She also encourage me to keep a fabric study notebook and to collect antique and vintage fabric sample books/catalogs/cards.

Here is what Joan sent me:

Indian Head Pre-1920s
Grey Good, original Indian Head before permanent finish added in 1922
(Joan Kiplinger)

Indian Head 1950-70
All purpose cotton during Textron
Indian Head Mills and Indian Head Inc. Ownership
(Joan Kiplinger)

Indian Head 1953-1966
(Joan Kiplinger)
Special Note: Two and Three shows the difference with permanent finish.
This gives you an idea of print and solid. Dates determined by selvage.
(Joan Kiplinger)

Indian Head 1985
Also called Satinette at the time.
(Joan Kiplinger)


Not the heavy jean of sailor pants and waist coats

Medium Weight 2006
This jean took many rinses to overcome bleeding.
(Joan Kiplinger)

Lighter Jean or Soft Drill 1970s
(Joan Kiplinger)
If you want to learn more about Joan's work with all kinds of fabrics Google Joan Kiplinger - she wrote extensively on the subject in many venues.

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