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Runaway Quilt Project

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Deimosa Webber-Bey

on 22 January 2014

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Transcript of Runaway Quilt Project

Growing the Runaway Quilt Project
21st Century Scholarship
A scholar needs to be able to manipulate digital tools for writing, teaching, and doing research.
Librarians can facilitate this and help academics publish their content.
A research blog is created to learn through practice:
Sources for Big Datasets on Quilting
Design and Applied Arts Index
Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns
Google Books
International Quilt Study Center
Quilt Index
WPA Federal Writers Project - Slave Narratives

Spring 2012: Digital Humanities
Digital annotation: a Digress.it site with 155 quotes about quilting in 5 categories -
Geospatial mapping: Leaflet Maps Marker plugin for Wordpress allows the creation of individual maps for each quilt block -
Textual analysis: Google Ngrams analyzing the frequency of quilt-related words and phrases during the 19th & 20th century -
Spring 2013: Information Visualization
Bubble Map: practicing with large datasets and Tableau, this infographic shows incidents of resistance during Middle Passage
Linked Data: 'cleaned up' datasets from the Quilt Index Using Google Refine for visualizations
Ego Network: made with Cytoscape, shows the quilts Gracie was surrounded by in her lifetime
Maps of Quilt Blocks: created small maps of early instances of each quilt block, using Tableau
Heat Map: shows frequency of use for each block pattern from 1840 to 1940, using Tableau
Quilt documentation has exploded with the availability of digital cameras and the rise of the internet.
There is a lot of big (meta)data online to work with in museum and library collections available freely online.
Digital Tools Used:
Digress.it -
Cytoscape -
Google Fusion Tables -
Google Ngram Viewer -
Google Refine -
Google Sheets -
InDesign -
Leaflet Maps Marker -
Springshare Libguides -
Tableau Public -
Timeline JS -
Wordpress -
Youtube -
Archival quilt created as a final project for Digital Humanities
Features graphs, quotes, pictures, and reverse side is a frequency analysis of 22 quilt block designs mentioned in a WPA interview transcript
Presented at Pratt SILS Student Showcase
"Maker Unknown"
Fall 2013
Research for a course on Reference and Information Services leads to the creation of a library guide as part of the project:
Looking at the Data
Whole cloth design is layed out using Adobe InDesign, with data visualizations on one side and the 22 blocks composed with original RQP fabric print designs on the reverse side
Front and back designs are printed onto whole cloth in Brooklyn at Pratt Institute on crepe de chine fabric with the HPZ 6200
"Maker Unknown" and "Maker Known" are submitted to the call for entries for 'In the American Tradition', an exhibit at the International Quilt Festival - "Maker Known" earns an A in class
"Maker Known" is presented at Pratt SILS Student Showcase & "Maker Unknown" is presented at Brooklyn College Core Conference
"Maker Known" is accepted to the International Quilt Festival!
"Maker Known"
"One old fellow name John been a run-awayer for four years and de patterrollers tries all dey tricks, but dey cant cotch him. Dey wants him bad, cause it spire other slaves to run away if he stays a-loose. Dey sots de trap for him. Dey knows he like good eats, so dey ranges for a quiltin and gives chitlins and lye hominey. John comes and am inside when de patterrollers rides up to de door. Everybody gits quiet and John stands near de door, and when dey starts to come in he grabs de shovel full of hot ashes and throws dem into de patterrollers faces. He gits through and runs off, hollerin, Bird in de air!"
Walter Rimm,
interviewed in Texas
This chart shows how frequently each term occurs (in Google Books data) right before Emancipation.
Quilt block patterns were organized into a classification scheme by Barbara Brackman in the Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns, published in 1993.
"Brackman numbers" provide an organizational hierarchy and authoritative names for patterns, like the Dewey Decimal System.
Brackman Numbers
There is a heavily disputed rumor/myth/story circulating that quilts were used as signposts on the Underground Railroad. Some say oral tradition is valid; others say there is no proof.
This quilt project is a chance to be better informed about the quilts made during this time period in American history.
A Quilter Goes To Library School
Spring 2012: LIS 697 Digital Humanities @ Pratt SILS: Professor Sula says to the class, "If you stick to one topic for all of the exercises this semester, then you'll have a good final project".
Being an amateur quilter (who learned from her grandmother), Deimosa decides to mix her African & African-American Studies research interests with information science training and a personal interest in quilting history.
Full transcript