Monday, July 25, 2016

Victorian Puzzle for People Who Love Y Seams

This map quilt (1) in the collection of the Museum of American Folk Art
is on exhibit at the Crystal Bridges Museum in Arkansas this summer.

The photo gave me a chance to look at the background pattern,
which is a sophisticated pattern that is not in my pattern indexes.

The Bowers Museum has another example
 they call a Crazy Quilt (2), which it's not.
But it could drive you crazy.

They showed theirs a few years ago laid out on a table.
It's not finished. 

It's two shapes pieced over paper.
One shape is a long hexagon.
The other is a triangle.

 I guess you put this together one triangle and one hexagon at a time with a lot of Y seams and a lot of long hexagons flapping around waiting for the next pieces.

Y puzzle
Y seam

I found a tiny photo in an old quilt scrapbook on line. I can just make it out that it says "Japanese Crazy Patchwork For Pillow" at the top. It's not really crazy. Crazy means no regular pattern. This is one regular pattern.

It's not in my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns or in BlockBase.

If it were it would be in this area of MultiPatch patterns
in the six-sided shapes plus.


I've been trying to figure out how to stitch it without so many Y seams.
But it wouldn't look the same.
It's be an interesting design but not as complex.
Three pieces: two long hexagons and one red triangle.

So I gave up.
Unlike other people

Sabina Schröder, Shadow

For example: Sabina Schröder showed her version at the 2016 European Quilt Championships.

Chris's version.

Chris Lapham wrote me a note in a blog comment here in 2013 and now I realize this pattern from the Bowers is what she was asking about.
"Hello Barbara, Chris here... In my search to find out a quilt pattern name I have been lead to you... I have tried to up loaded a picture of a quilt I have been working on "here and there" LOL! so that you can see the design, but for some reason it will not load... It is 2 shapes 1)an elongated hexagon that forms a "Y" shape and 2)a filler triangle. A quilt appraiser looked in your quilt block reference book and it is not shown. It is very portable due to using an English paper piecing method. I saw the "original" quilt exhibited in a museum about a year and a half ago (origin dates around 1880s). The docent for the exhibit allowed me to trace the two shapes so that I could try my hand at recreating the quilt. What was phenomenal about this quilt was after the top was pieced, the creator then embellished the quilt as you would a crazy quilt. It was utterly stunning. (Have not started that part just yet) Actually the original quilt top was not completed, I think as the top grew, the quilter got bored with piecing and started to embellish as she went along to change up the pace of creating the quilt... at its’ point of “Completion” it was a little larger than lap size... I think she\he was very close to completion. As I said, it was stunning!!!!"
So, Chris, at last a name. Japanese Crazy Patchwork for Pillow....

: BlueMothDoings posted her pattern for a similar version and the best thing is because she added a seam you can organize it into triangular units. In her version the long piece is 5 x the red triangle. Thanks, Neame, for the links:


Has anyone ever seen another vintage version?

From the Minnesota Project. By Kate Wise, Stevens County, Minnesota

And then there's this one. Curves on the triangles and the six-sided shapes.
Y seams galore.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Seven Stars in a Circle

I spent some time looking at the symbolism in the pattern we call Seven Sisters. See three posts here at my Civil War Quilts Blog


I didn't find any real reference to any symbolism or to that name in print until the 1930s---but I certainly found many examples of seven star quilts made before that date. One of the side trips was a file of quilts with seven stars in a circle.

Melinda Hall Kelly from Quilts of Tennessee and the Quilt Index

I am dismayed to find this pattern is not in BlockBase or my Encyclopedia of Pieced Quilt Patterns.

It ought to be in the 3700-3734 numbers but none of these designs with seven stars in a circle are there.

Block made by Maria Snipes in Alabama,
from the Michigan project
and the Quilt Index
A complicated version with a ring of diamonds around the stars.

"An Old-Time 'Seven Star' "

Was Maria's inspiration this February, 1912, picture from the Ladies' Home Journal?

In the article Elizabeth Daingerfield showed some "Kentucky Mountain Quilt" designs, emphasizing their Southern regionalism .
From Joanna Rose's collection
of red and white quilts.

Recently quilted, found on Pinterest.
The design would require a good pattern and skilled piecing.
It's not often seen

Variation with triangles in the ring rather than diamonds.

Even without the outer ring I'm still impressed by
seven stars pieced into a circle. This quilt is from
the Pilgrim Roy collection.

Now in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.

An example from about 1900 shown at the Deep South
Quilt Study group.

From a Spinning Spools publication.
The stars may be appliqued.

Mary Ann Rouse Thomas
from the Cargo Collection at the Birmingham Museum of Art

You do get the feeling that the seven stars in a circle design is a Southern pattern as Daingerfield indicated. The solid color, the fan quilting, the wide sashings look regional.

This is one of the earliest I've seen of the seven stars in a circle
with fabric that look to be mid-19th rather than late-19th century

By Mary Rita Long. Her family called it "Little Star"
A twentieth-century version from the North Carolina
project and the Quilt Index

By Mrs. Thomas J. Hunter, place unknown,
Arizona project, from the Quilt Index

Possibly early twentieth century?

Complex stars.

Same star from Brunk Auctions, perhaps a little older,
probably Southern.

New version by master repro quiltmaker Michelle Yeo.
See more pictures here:

Here are some new numbers to paste in your Encyclopedia, page 449.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Tessellations: Hexagon 7---Repeated Star Shapes

Another variation of BlockBase #160---
repeating stars.
Mid-19th century quilt.
I don't think I've ever seen a name published before 1970 for this shading pattern of stars,

Sometimes alternated with rosettes.

Marina Jones Gregg 1852
Charleston Museum of Art

The museum calls this one Stars and Diamonds.
Elizabeth Docton Perry
Charleston Museum of Art

The pattern seems to be a Carolina regional favorite.  

Deborah Tritt and Laurel Horton examine a pair of South Carolina hexagon stars.
Both by Marina Jones Gregg?
See an article about this pair of twins (the quilts---not the quilt historians)
in the Aiken Standard here:

Hexagon Star by Keturah McElroy from the Kentucky Historical Society
They were fond of hexagons in Kentucky too.

The vivid color in some of these striking antiques is due to the wool and silk combination fabrics that take dyes differently from cotton.

Although the one below is cotton---Turkey red and green.

From Mary Kerr's hexagon collection

By Mrs. Cruse of Hastings, Nebraska
Collection Hastings Museum

A few more cotton examples:

By Hannah Wallis Miller
The D.A.R. Mueum has one that's a variation of Diamond Field.
The red dot focuses your eye on the star shape.

See an all-over shot at the Quilt Index:

It's very much like an unfinished top that Presidential daughter Maria Hester Monroe

By Maria Hester Monroe Gouverneur,
collection of the James Monroe Museum in Fredericksburg, Virginia

but never finished.

Diamonds are Forever
Carol Mahoney, Auckland NZ, 2008

If you shade carefully you get a real 3-D appearance,
a combination of tumbling blocks and diamond field. 
But I couldn't find any antique examples that were successful at that illusion.

Below: Contemporary versions.

 ThreadBenders Quilts

Libby at Plain and Simple Quilts

Mrs. Baldwin's Star
48" x 48"
Joan Leahy Blanchard was inspired by another antique star at the Charleston Museum to do her 2010 AQSG Star Study quilt. Read more here:

The original: