Monday, August 14, 2017

Star of the Bluegrass

Quilt of chrome orange and blues
with sashing that may have faded to gray-brown,
late 19th century.

Stars pieced of diamonds seem among the most common of quilts.

But I'm surprised to find this particular arrangement is rather uncommon:
Four diamonds in each star point.
BlockBase #3772

I'm not short of published names.

Patriotic Star from the Kansas City Star in 1936.

But 19th-century examples are rare.

Here's a quilt dated 1842, the earliest example I have
of a star with four diamonds per point.

Thia one from Stella Rubin's shop. It could be about the same time,
about 1840.

The quilt at the top of the page looks to be late-19th century.

Blocks may be about 1900 when grays and blues popular,
set with more colorful sashing later.

Most are 20th century...

From Cindy's Antique Quilts

It seems to be a useful pattern with lots
of shading possibilities.

Most quilts in the design date to later than 1933

When a quilt from Kentucky won national attention at the 
Worlds Fair Quilt Contest sponsored by Sears.

Mountain Mist published the prizewinner
with its fashionable green color scheme and stuffed work quilting. 

They called it "Star of the Bluegrass" for Kentucky. Many seamstresses were inspired to make copies by their pattern (published in 1948). Right after the Fair Sears published a pamphlet about the contest containing an ad for a kit for the Star of the Bluegrass. Times were tough, but people bought the kit.

Found in the Wisconsin project, purchased at an
estate sale.

Elizabeth Nesbett Cooper, Crawfordsville, Indiana
Indiana Project

The family story is that Elizabeth ran out of that green fabric
so substituted black.

Mary (Marija) Soklic Bartol, Cicero, Illinois About 1933.

This one from the Quilt Index also has a story:
"1933 was a difficult year, the worst year of the Great Depression. Work, and therefore income, was irregular, so my family's entertainment was making quilts. And since fabric cost money, most of our quilts were scrap quilts. That year, I visited the Chicago World's Fair with my parents. Because we were quilters, we were especially impressed with the display of prize-winning quilts at the fair. My father took the time to copy the pattern of a quilt that he admired, and later he made cardboard templates that my mother used to piece the quilt. My father even helped with the quilting. To the best of my memory, that quilt was green with very pretty printed fabrics. Our family made many quilts together."

See a PDF from the University of Chicago with the Sears pamphlet featuring an ad for a kit. 
Read more about the contest and the quilt copies here:

Stars with 9 diamonds in the points were far more
common in the 19th century This one is dated 1845.

Dated 1868

Mid-19th century.
There's something for you to ponder.
Why 9 patches instead of 4 patches?
Well, don't ponder it too hard. We don't have an answer.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Ladies' Dream and Chestnut Buds

Ladies' Dream, 1930-1940,
Mary Etta Bach, Philadelphia
 American Museum of Folk Art

Mary Etta Bach followed the pattern sold by Scioto Imhoff Danner
for her Ladies' Dream quilt

Scioto Imhoff Danner stitching on a Ladies' Dream block

This may have been Mrs. Danner's most popular pattern.

Quilters often used her bowknot border and color scheme 

Although Kelly Cline found this top done in pink.

Mrs. Danner noted that the patterns she sold were inspired by antiques. She left no notes or antique version of the Ladies' Dream but there are earlier examples of the pattern with pomegranate or buds rotating around a central shape. She may have been inspired by a similar quilt.

Some similar designs with 8 rotating design units.
Nancy Cabot called it Pumpkin Blossom in the 1930s.

UPDATE: Wilene Smith writes that a pattern like the Ladies Dream #14.843 was published at least three times in Kansas. 1) by Mrs Danner in 1932, 2) by Mary Lee patterns as Pomegranate and Bow Knot Border Design in 1933, 3) by Capper's Weekly April 8, 1933 as Bluebird Nest or Bluebird Home.

I have a few photos of pomegranate shapes in a circle but with 12 units rather than eight. These do not have a number in my Encyclopedia of Applique. I'm writing in #27.9 in my copy, page 100.

Quilt attributed to Grandmother Tarleton in Mecklenberg County
North Carolina. Photo from the North Carolina Project & the Quilt Index.

This North Carolina version has twelve buds or fruits around a central sunburst. The descendant who brought the quilt for documentation did not know much about her mother's family but a little online detective work reveals that quilt was probably made by Rachel Deese Tarleton (1862-1933).

The quilt in the Quilt Index.
Her grave at FindaGrave:

The Benton County, Oregon, Historical Society has another example
with twelve rotating design units. In the center a double ring of hexagons.

Little information was included with the donation, but it looks
to be a late-19th-century quilt by the way the green pomegranates are
fading to a dun color. Note the hexagon ring in the center.

And I'd bet it's Southern---Tennessee???

More hexagons in the center in this
one recently offered on eBay.

 The Quilts of Tennessee project found two similar quilts with hexagonal centers.

This one from the Thomas family, who called it Chestnut Bud.

A Horse Chestnut bud

And this one by Mary Ann Walker Trentham (1857-1920) from Rhea County.
See more about her in Quilts of Tennessee, page 58-9.
Here's some genealogy:

Tim at TimQuilts bought a set of blocks on line
with the same hexagonal ring and star in the center and 12 pomegranates.

Confederate applique quilt made by 
Susan Robb,1861-1862. Chicot County, Arkansas
Collection of the Museum at Texas Tech University

I'm reminded of Susan Robb's Civil War quilt.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Free Pattern for Flying Swallows & the Winner

Two weeks ago I showed some photos of this block
Flying Swallows or Circling Swallows
BlockBase #3758

The Give Away is over and BRIDGET is the winner of an Arnold's Attic jellyroll. She was the last to comment within the official time period.

Thanks to all commenters.

Here's the free pattern for a 12" block.
Rotary Cutting Instructions
A - Cut 4 squares 4".

B - Cut 1 square 6-1/4". Cut diagonally twice to make 4 triangles. You need 4 triangles. 
C - Cut 16 squares 2-3/8". Cut each in half diagonally to make 2 triangles. You need 32 triangles.

D - Cut strips 1-1/2" wide. Cut 45 degree angles to make diamonds which are 2-1/4" on the sides. You need 24.
Here are the rotary cutting instructions from BlockBase.
I modified them to make it easier to cut and find the pieces.

I did these sketches using Metropolitan Fair fabric
plus some background.

A 12" block is rather small for so many pieces, but I chose that size because it would work with JellyRolls. You might want to make it 16" or 20"---it's easy to recalculate in BlockBase.

In the comments someone suggested hand piecing.
Good for EPP, English Paper Piecing too

Monday, July 24, 2017

Carolina Mystery Pattern: Plume Circle

Quilt from eBay.
An unusual pattern.
Classified as 8 identical arms in the design elements.
There aren't a lot of these 8-armed designs as
they don't fill up the square block too well.
The corners are empty.

This design is quite familiar to pattern historians
as a regional Southern design from the last half of the 19th century.
The North Carolina quilt project gave it the generic name
of  Plume Circle Design.

Very similar quilt from Cindy's antiques.
Often done in two colors, solids---prints rare.
Reverse applique slashes in the spokes, usually two curves.
It looks like the pattern might be cut from folded paper like a snowflake.

Mary Caroline Rhyne, NC Project & the Quilt Index.

But it is amazing how close some of these are indicating that
an actual pattern was handed around.

In my Encyclopedia of Applique it's #15.31
My source called it Snowflake but what
that source was I don't know.

This one looks to be mid-19th century. It is one of four
in the collection of the Lexington County Museum in South Carolina.
A little extra: a pinked edge along the outside of the petals.

They showed all four a few years ago.

Instagram post on the "Carolina Mystery Pattern."

A lot of bedcoverings in an auction.
The print border is uncommon.
One slash per petal unusual too.

Skinner's Auction sold this Georgia example.

The fabrics are often prone to fading.

Here's a variation: additional leaves.

And one documented by the North Carolina project
with hearts. It was photographed in black & white.

The same quilt, I bet, in blazing color.

I found this photo at a guild show n tell I think.
Heidi brought it, saying it was from her
husband's family and it had a North Carolina project
label on the reverse.

Some examples have 6 arms rather than 8

The Charleston Museum showed this quilt in 2008.

The Press Release for the exhibit stated:
"Providing an unusual twist on the floral theme is the Sundew quilt made in the mid-19th century. Each square bears an unusual appliqué and reverse appliqué motif based on the Sundew or Drosera plant.
"These pink plants lure, capture and digest insects using tentacles covered with glistening drops of mucilage, resembling drops of morning dew. The plants are found in boggy areas in many parts of the world, but this quilt pattern has only been found on central South Carolina quilts (Lexington area)."
Oh, that must have made them mad in North Carolina. And Tennessee and Georgia. But I digress.

Sundew's a good name but it would be nice to know the source for the name. Did it come with a  quilt?

Larushia Turnbow Holman
The Tennessee Project & the Quilt Index

Another design option is to fill up the square block with additional flowers in the corners as Larushia Holman did. Her quilt was found in Tennessee. The family said:

"The quilter made this quilt to show. 
It won blue ribbons in county fairs. 
The maker, earlier in life, had connections with North Carolina."

Emma Poovey, January 23, 1877
Lincolnton, Lincoln County, North Carolina

A tulip-like design added to one signed & dated and found
in the North Carolina project.

Erma Kirkpatrick and the other North Carolina historians
showed several regional designs in their chapter on applique in
North Carolina Quilts.
This one they called a plume-circle quilt.

"The pattern seems to lack a traditional name."
But one NC quilt owner called it Wonder of the World or World's Wonder.

More corner action

The variation with the corner designs have a different number

Sarah Felker, Chattanooga, Tennessee
Found by the Arizona Project. 

Another digression. Note how that greenish blue dye
is migrating in terrible fashion. I'd guess hot storage
might aggravate that migration.

Very fancy variation.
No number