Monday, June 5, 2017

Rising Suns & Twirly Balls

Red & white quilt sold at an online auction.
BlockBase #3390
A combination of whirling spokes and spiky ring.

The Ladies Art Company catalog published the pattern
about 1890 as Rising Sun.  The red and white quilt
might have been made from their pattern.

Ruby Short McKim published it in her
Designs Worth Doing book and also as a part of a
newspaper series of sampler blocks in the Denver Post in 1931.

Lynn has a collection of the McKim samplers, which was a popular design
in the early 1930s.

The Rising Sun or Circle Saw pattern has been published several times.

McKim pictured the outer spikes in colored pairs.

Names include:
Wagon Wheel from Hearth & Home magazine in the early 20th century.
Other names: Wheel of Life and Circle Saw.

From the Kansas City Star in 1936

H.H. Ver Mehren's pattern company, which pattern
collectors call Home Art,
published it as Wheel of  Life in the 1930s.

But quilters were using the pattern before it was published.

Quilt by  Elizabeth Guest Hall, DeKalb County, Georgia

BlockBase shows three variations differentiated by the number
of whirling spokes in the center. The quilts above all have 12 center spokes.

24 spokes by Eliza Ann Mattingly, Grayson County, Kentucky, about 1870-1900
From the Kentucky project & the Quilt Index

The Florida Project recorded one with 20 spokes dated and signed 1857 by Annie Wilson Hall of 
New York City. She was a professional seamstress. Read more about her here:

The Texas Project recorded one attributed to Mrs Josiah Barrow
and estimated a date of the 1820s, but it was likely made later
by her daughter Harrie E. Barrow Gray who was born in
Alabama but moved to Claiborne Parish, Louisiana.

20 spokes
You can see why these all have a dot in the center.
20 curved seams meeting at one point might not be pretty!

The Louisiana Project found one with 24 spokes by Sadie Wilson,
probably from 1880-1910, made in Claiborne Parish.

I found quite a few in the Quilt Index files by doing a keyword search for 'rising.' Most were from Southern projects, and most were after 1880.

G.G. McMullen or McMillen
in Summer Grove, Caddo Parish, Louisiana
Another Louisiana find---20 spokes
probably 1850-1890. The family called it Dizzy Saw or Rising Sun

16 spokes, found on the internet. Probably Southern,
Clues aside from the pattern: Solid fabrics.

Snapshot of a similar version with 20 spokes
 in the North Carolina Museum of History.

Online auction, 18 spokes.
Looking for a pattern? BlockBase will draw one for you any size
but you might want to buy one of these:

Karen K. Stone calls hers
Mississippi Wheel of Fortune
It's in her our-of-print
Karen K. Stone Quilts Book.
Too bad it's so expensive used.

Sue Garman called hers Twirly Balls & Pinwheels.
Her daughters continue to sell Sue's patterns.

That's all the twirly balls for today.


  1. I've always loved Sue's name for it!

  2. What an incredible block. Incredibly difficult, too, by the looks of it. Sue's quilt is just amazing.