Monday, December 2, 2019

Dresden Plate from McCall's

Neva Sims Baird
Louisiana Project and the Quilt Index

An innovative design in the 1930s. Neva's quilt follows a popular pattern.

Who originated the variation of the Dresden plate with four pointy
spokes among the curved ones? Probably a designer at McCall's magazine
in 1933

Dresden Plate and Fan Design for Quilts
#74 was the Dresden Plate

Here's the McCall's pattern, which many followed quite closely.

The border was part of the plan.

New Quilts, Old Designs by Elisabeth May Blondel
in McCall's

In her 2010 AQSG paper "McCall’s Role in the Early Twentieth-Century Quilt Revival,"Virginia Gunn dates the pattern to 1933 and notes they sold it until 1954.

Their modus operandi was hot iron transfers on tissue
 sold in a packet just like clothing patterns.

Elisabeth May Blondel was the company's needlework editor from 1920 to 1952, responsible for the magazine and needlework periodicals in their various incarnations. 

Blondel was a native New Yorker, born in 1883. She was single while she edited the magazine. Censuses find her living with her family, her mother and then sisters and brother in the city, but she also mentions a home in New Milford, Connecticut. In 1955 at the age of 72 (she might not have owned to being quite that old) she married Edward Hall Gardner, retired Professor of Business Administration at the University of Wisconsin.

I hadn't noticed the McCall's publication when I indexed the pattern as #3629 in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns. I'd guess McCall's was the real source.

See a post on regular Dresden Plates

I notice that EQ calls the green pieces here blades and the print pieces petals
which is probably better than "pointy spokes"

I can't find a pattern to send you to. I'd imagine McCall's still has it in copyright.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Franklin County Star

Oh dear, another pattern without a BlockBase number.
It's a full-size quilt and I'd just leave it be as one individual's vision
but I see I have two examples.

From Pennsylvania eBay dealer GBBest.

Serious fading in the pale gray areas here has altered the pattern.
I bet those large diamonds that are so gray now were once blue or green...

and probably looked a lot more like this when it was newer.

Stella Rubin's shop
From Franklin County, Pennsylvania

And then I found a third....

It's obviously related to these end of the 19th century giant Pennsylvania stars like the one above that collector Phyllis Haders bought from Franklin County, Pennsylvania.
A few years ago I did a post on these whole-top designs often called Carpenter's Star (no BlockBase number there either.)


If you are looking for a little Y-seam practice this might be the pattern for you. There's a pattern for a 72" star in the link above and all you'd have to add is a star for the squares around the central star---the squares finish in the pattern to 10-7/8".

Or maybe you'd rather piece it as a block as in this quilt from Julie Silber's
inventory. No BlockBase number on this one either.

Debby Cooney made a comment in that post about the design source for the large Carpenter's Star:

"Franklin County, Pa., antique dealer Morgan Anderson considers this pattern to be a signature design in that area. He has seen & sold many since the early 1970s. [One you showed] came from the Martin family, Old Order River Brethren members for whom this star was a favorite; they made several. He sold Phyllis Haders the one shown here. "

Monday, November 18, 2019

Whig's Defeat in a Block

Whig's Defeat made in Tennessee, said to be dated 1844-1855 
in the collection of the American Museum in Britain

The Whig's Defeat design is a classic of Southern quilt making. Early examples are often found in Tennessee where the name and the quilts may relate to the 1844 Presidential election. Kentuckian Henry Clay, a Whig, was defeated by Tennessee's James Polk, a Democrat---hence the name Whig's Defeat.

The pattern can be constructed in a variety of ways.

Early versions tend to be a combination of pieced block and appliqued setting strips, but as decades passed many Southern quilters confined the pattern to a single block, both pieced and appliqued.

See another construction here at a recent post:

Amadilla Lyons, Louisiana project & the Quilt Index
This quilt was said to have been made by an aunt for an 1890 wedding.

The current owner called it Grandmother's Engagement Ring, a
less political name used by Mountain Mist for their version of the design.
The piecing was in a square placed on point and the applique went outside the center square.

The BlockBase number is 2529.

They actually wanted you to construct it as pieced fan block with appliqued
sash but they showed it like this.

Texas dealer John Sauls has two similar quilts in his inventory. Number of leaves or fingers and number of spiky points in the fan differ but the basic construction is a square inside a square. Looks to be after 1880 when the pattern isolated into blocks is most popular.

These solid color quilts are so hard to date by the fabrics. Style & square in a square format
is probably the most reliable clue.


Unlike the older versions the square-in-a-square patterns do not interconnect.
As in many Southern quilts of the 1880-1930 years the block dominates. 
Sashing provides strong visual boundaries.

The examples in the photo files are all done in the solid fabrics
typical of Southern quilts of those years, the fabrics produced in
Southern mills.

Emma Wood's block is slightly different as the edges of the center square are not straight lines.
I brightened up the photos to show you the red and ?-color triple strip sashing.

Emma Woods, New Hope Township, North Carolina project
and the Quilt Index. 
The family called this Queen Victoria's Fan.

No sashing here but the seam lines indicate a square-in-a-square construction.

The actual quilts, which all look to date from that 1880-1930 era, vary so much we can doubt the quiltmakers had a published pattern. And we haven't found anything just like the square-in-a-square design till Carrie Hall published her book in 1935.

Here's Carrie Hall's block from the collection of the
Spencer Museum of Art. Interesting that Carrie used solid
colors as if she were trying to copy the Southern chrome orange and oxblood
brown color scheme with what was available in Leavenworth, Kansas
in the 1920s and early '30s.

Since it's in BlockBase I can easily give you a pattern.

It's on two 8-1/2 x 11 sheets. You have
to paste them together.
The pattern is for a 12" block.

The center square with the fans should finish to 8-1/2"---cut 9".
Cut 4 corner triangles by cutting 2 squares 6-7/8" in half
with a diagonal line.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Grandmother's Pride

Here's the perfect example of ca. 1960 style
Any color goes with any color

In a time of new dyes giving us new colors
quilters embraced every shade with enthusiasm.

The pattern:  A variation on Grandmother's Pride from
the syndicated Laura Wheeler column.

A kind of art-deco update to the fan design.

"Laura" (a fictional human being) showed a triangle at the bottom of
the design...

Which the seamstress ignored in the quilt at the
top of the page. She had some rules though.
Plains in the center patches, prints next and the
squares are all variations of geometrical plaids.

BlockBase #3341
Quilters Newsletter named it Empress in 1978.
It does look like a crown.

The Laura Wheeler patchwork patterns began in the 1930s
and were widely syndicated until the 1970s.

This one seems to have been popular.